01 - 18
September 2022
9 Sasu Salin (FIN)
Game Report
to read

Sizzling hot Salin leads Finland to first win in Prague

PRAGUE (Czech Republic) - Finland played the overtime game on Day 1, but it did not show in Game 2. Instead, they looked like a fresh, energized team as Lassi Tuovi's men defeated Poland with ease, 89-59.

Poland could not match Finland's hot shooting, and coach Igor Milicic will not be happy with the fact they allowed 17 Finnish three-pointers in this one. Sasu Salin had one of his days, when there's not much any team can do about it.

Turning point:
Finland had the upper hand from the beginning of the game, but they managed to protect their early double digit lead in this one, unlike in the game against Israel on Friday. Once the shots started falling in the second half the Finns pulled away decisively and the 30-point win could do wonders for them in case of a potential tie at the end of group play in Czech Republic. The game was so fun for Finland that the team received a five minute standing ovation as it left the court, once again from over 5000 Finnish fans in the stands in Prague.

TCL Player of the Game: Lauri Markkanen did his usual thing with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. But it was Sasu Salin who was the star of the day, with 18 points, done on 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, and the Basketball Champions League winner also had 6 assists in this one. Perhaps the best stat to show Salin's influence on the game - Finland were a +29 team in his 21 minutes on the floor. Alexander Madsen was the closest teammate in the +/- department with +20.

Stats don't lie:
Finland had 17 threes, Poland had 16 field goals. Also, not a good sign when you have more turnovers (18) than made shots (16), which also happened to the Polish squad.

Bottom line: Both teams stand at 1-1 as they head into their day off. Finland must be feeling a bit of regret for their overtime defeat to Israel, but at the same time, performance like this is what could make them a Quarter-Finalist in this FIBA EuroBasket.

Poland had a rude awakening after their fine performance against Czech Republic. Alarms are off, especially because none of their players scored in double figures.

They said:

"You need to live in the moment. We have great five thousand fans here, so it's better to come in with a full spirit, play with heart, and that's what the guys did today, I'm proud of them. (When Sasu Salin starts heating up) the main thing is not to screw it up, to stay away from calling something. Let them play. That's something that's a pleasure to see. Sasu is one of those guys that in moments like those pulls the confidence of others too, I'm very happy we saw it today." - Finland coach Lassi Tuovi

"That was the mentality that we wanted for today. It was a heartbreaking loss in overtime yesterday, tough battle, but you just have to send your thoughts to the next game, and I think we did it. Very happy about the victory." - Sasu Salin, Finland

"We look like we stayed in our hotel. They were better in every aspect of basketball, we couldn't answer anything, that's a huge lesson for us. Right now we have to rest, take everything what was good - not a lot of things - and stay focused on the next game." - Michal Sokolowski, Poland

"Definitely our main players had a bit of heavy legs, but that's why everybody needs to step up with energy. Just by pure stats, Finland had 32 points from transition, and that was our first goal for this game. Sprint back, organize defense, make them play 5v5. We didn't accomplish that. In offense we didn't share the ball, with the pressure of Finnish team, we didn't release it from the guards, we played slow. We have to forget about this, move to the next one." - Poland coach Igor Milicic