01 - 18
September 2022
11 Vladimir Lucic (SRB)
Game Report
to read

Impressive Serbia hit triple digits again, breeze past Finland to reach Berlin

PRAGUE (Czech Republic) - Backed by their 5,000 traveling fans and led by their NBA star, Lauri Markkanen, Finland hoped they could make life difficult for Serbia on Monday.

The 2017 runners-up however responded with a statement win, 100-70, which lifts them to 3-0 in Group D and earns them a spot in the Round of 16.

Svetislav Pesic still did not have a full-strength roster, even with the arrival of Nikola Milutinov. The center is back to full fitness and was in the lineup but there was no need for him to enter the court. Vanja Marinkovic was absent from the team with stomach issues.

Turning point:
 The tip-off. Serbia missed only two shots in the first six and a half minutes, dished out 8 assists on 11 field goals and scored 26 points by that point already. Finland made a run to reduce the deficit to 33-22 at the end of the first quarter, but a merciless 11-0 Serbian run made it clear that there will be no upset in Prague. Serbia had 62 at the half, Finland passed that mark only at the 2:07 mark in the fourth quarter. Meaning, Serbia scored more in 20 minutes than Finland in 38.

TCL Player of the Game:
Coach Svetislav Pesic. Well, technically, we cannot pick a coach here, but it was a masterful display of out-pacing Finland, matching their intensity by going even harder after them, and balancing out the minutes and roles for all his  players. The one who shined the brightest was once again Nikola Jokic, with 13 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists. Also in double digits: Vasilije Micic (14 points, 7 assists), Nemanja Nedovic (14 points), Nikola Kalinic (13 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds), Vladimir Lucic (12 points) and Marko Guduric (11 points).

Stats don't lie: Hard to pick just one thing, but Serbia's high percentages were due to their good looks all game long. They got 44 points in the paint, exactly the double of Finland's tally in the key.

Bottom line: Serbia remain unbeaten, joining Germany, Greece and Ukraine as the only other unbeaten teams in FIBA EuroBasket 2022. The scariest part is that we are yet to see Serbia at their best, when they have both Milutinov and Marinkovic back in their lineup. Finland dropped to 1-2 and have a tough assignment in less than 24 hours, facing the hosts Czech Republic, also at 1-2. Lauri Markkanen was impressive even in a defeat like this, getting 18 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

They said:

"I want to congratulate all the players, not just for the win, but especially for the attitude from the beginning of the game. Finland team is definitely the best transition team here, and this is the reason that I want to insist one more time, to give all the best to my players for their serious attitude and concentration in transition defense. They had 21 transition points against Israel, 31 against Poland, and only 13 against us. If you control the transition, fast break game of Finland, then you control their three-point shot automatically. They had only 9 today, 17 against Poland. We analyzed it, we talked about it." - Serbia coach Svetislav Pesic

"We are feeling good, we played great, we scored open shots. We ran a lot, played good defense, got clean rebounds, pretty good game today. But all of this is just preparation for Berlin and for the most important games." - Nikola Kalinic, Serbia

"We didn't play our game, and it's hard to win games when the opponent scores 100 points. Serbia was pretty good today, we allowed them to do whatever they wanted. We're gonna look at video and see what we can change for the next game." - Edon Maxhuni, Finland

"They gave us a clinic. Basketball of the highest level in this tournament. For sure, we were not ready to play this level, they out-ran us after that good start. What we can do is reset, analyze, forget and move on because it's a short time before the next game." - Finland coach Lassi Tuovi