Today Slovenia played second friendly game with Turkey in Belgrade tournament, Serbia – this time without any incident. Goran played very efficiently, in the last quarter probably outstanding. He assisted in penultimate attack and scored in the last for one point win.
It was preparation game, so comparing with real game, there were different distribution of personal playing time. Nobody was more than 23:30 minutes on the court (obviously, it was Goran in Slovenian team), to avoid injuries and to engage everybody. But general feeling was very real, players were motivated and focused. After all, now it's last time to build confidence. This year Euro championship doesn’t have unquestionable favorite, who could calculate in preparations and qualifications like Spain in some previous tournaments.
Turkey was almost complete, only Turkoglu missing. Asik and Ilyasova played also. Slovenian team played first time with back-up play, Jaka Lakovic, who was injured before. He played almost 17 minutes without made shot, but intention was obvious – he must come in form before championship.
Turks started to play quite offensively in defense, but latter retreat more in the paint. Goran stepped in later, in 8th minute. In first quarter he made 2 points in transition, 2 from half distance, one from free throws. He failed 2 shots, one for three.
2nd quarter, Goran played approximately half of available minutes. He scored two times. He was very efficient, without turnover. Turkey at the end led for one point, 28-29.
Statistics for Goran at halftime: 10 pts, FT 2:2, 2PT 4:5, 3PT 0:1, 1 AST.
3rd quarter was similar like others this season :) and Slovenians somehow couldn't score - It seems, Dragic brought curse from Phoenix with him. But bad moment was not his blame, Slovenia had poor percentage for three (2:19 at the end), almost all shooters from distance had bad day this time. Dragic played a few minutes and then left to the bench. Turkey first got more substantial lead, around 7 and 9 points, and latter a few points, until Goran came back in the middle of the 4th quarter.
Goran played outstandingly in last quarter, no matter that he also lost two balls. He scored first from one transition, which was for highlight (I hope I will find some clip), and latter also two free throws. Then, 30 seconds until end, it was 50:54 for Turkey, Slovenia had the ball. They went small and agreed, that Goran will penetrate and then dish out for three to open teammate – done. Turks were a bit confused and lost ball right away after first pass, so it was still 22 seconds for Slovenian attack to try to win. They went with the same combination, only that this time Turks adapt to small lineup and Dragic had more space to shoot near the rim - and he used it, made the final result 3 seconds until the end of the game.
Goran's end statistic: 16 pts, FT 4:4, 2PT 6:8, 3PT 0:2, RB 1, TOV 2, 3 AST, 23:30 min.
Tomorrow Slovenia will probably play with Serbia (they are favorite against Ukraine) for first place.
(And also video game recap, highlights. At 1:05 Dragic's beautiful transition.)