01 - 18
September 2022
6 A.j. Slaughter (POL)
Game Report
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Slaughter's world: Poland end Israel's unbeaten run

PRAGUE (Czech Republic) - Things are getting complicated in Group D. Poland handed Israel their first defeat, taking both teams to 2-1, and claiming a win that could be worth double in case of a potential tie at the end of Group Phase in FIBA EuroBasket 2022.

Poland prevailed 85-76 thanks to A.J. Slaughter's big third quarter which blew the game wide open for coach Igor Milicic's team. Israel did their best to attempt a comeback, but could not get closer than five points in the final quarter.


Turning point: It was a clash of styles as Israel have a lot of depth on the point guard position while Poland used scorers to handle those duties. The two teams exchanged blows until the approach of having a scoring point guard paid dividends for Poland.

Slaughter took scoring upon himself, hitting three three-pointers in the third quarter. It got him more attention from the Israeli defense, which opened up the floor for him to dish four assists in the same period.

Just like that, Poland had a 15-point lead, and even when Israel edged closer Aleksander Balcerowski (17 points) and Slaughter found a couple of more three-pointers to seal the deal.

TCL Player of the Game: Anthony Darrell Slaughter made the Polish fans behind the bench sing a few songs replacing the usual "POLSKA" chant with "A.J." thanks to his heroics. The veteran guard had 24 points, knocked down six three-pointers, dished out 5 assists, came up with 2 steals and did not turn the ball over at all over his 32 minutes on the floor. An honorable mention goes out to his partner in crime Mateusz Ponitka who flirted with a triple-double, getting 11 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists.

Stats don't lie: Poland's starting five outscored Israel's starters 73-30.

Bottom line: Poland are back, alive and kicking in this group, earning a 2-1 record ahead of their games with the Netherlands and Serbia. One win there could be enough to send them to the Round of 16.

Israel could not match Poland's physicality, and Deni Avdija struggled in this one after being the best player on the court over the first two games. Avdija had 3 points, getting his only field goal early in the fourth quarter, missing the other five attempts from the field. Yovel Zoosman's 18 and Yam Madar's 17 go to waste for coach Guy Goodes.

They said:

"We turned the energy around from the other game two days ago. We were sprinting back, most of the time we were containing Israel's fast pace, and that was the key to the game. They hit tough shots, but so did we, in crucial time. That gave us a secured lead. Players were executing the game plan perfectly, our captain almost had a triple-double, he had a lot of hockey assists, too, and that cut the wings of Israeli team. We stayed composed as a team, we played mature, tactically, defensively, that's a good sign for future games." - Poland coach Igor Milicic

"We are really happy to win today, against a really good Israeli team. We stuck to the game plan the whole game, I'm proud of this. At one moment Israel made a few tough shots to come back, but we found the answer. This is a sign of a good team. Each game everybody has to be ready to make shots, we know that Mateusz and A.J. will get a lot of pressure from the opponents, so the rest of us need to be ready to shoot. Each game, we will find somebody who will help Poland." - Aaron Cel, Poland

"We were one step behind the whole game. When we tried to come back, they hit a three, we were in a good momentum, and allowed two quick baskets to lose the momentum. We lost a bit of our energy and positivity. They are a good team, the lacked the last step, that was what we were missing today." - Yovel Zoosman, Israel

"We were running after Poland from the beginning. We didn't do a good job on Slaughter, together with Ponitka they scored 35 points, and our goal was to reduce points from both of them. That was the difference at the end of the day, we had same shots, same percentages, but we were short on defense and allowed easy baskets, we need to improve in these subjects." - Israeli coach Guy Goodes