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Catharsis in Ljubljana: Phoenix Suns Goran Dragic leads Slovenia over Greece, on doorstep of Eurobasket 2013 Quarterfinals

USA TODAY Sports

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Slovenia won in dramatic ending over Greece. Dragic's best game so far on tournament!

It was perfect beginning for Goran Dragic. He made two shots for three and first eleven Slovenian points were his. Slovenia took the lead and never looked back.

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In third minute of third quarter the gap was already 26 points … but the ending was drama.

At the half Goran had 18 PTS, 50% for 2, 75% for 3 and 100% FT; 3 RBD, 1 AST, 1 TOR. At the end the statistics was: 28 PTS, 46,2% for 2, 60% for 3, 5 RBD, 4 AST, 2 TOR. He played 26 minutes.

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The Greeks are strange team this season. Everybody saw them as medal contenders. But they loose to lesser teams and also won against Spain two days ago, the only team besides Slovenian. Probably they can win any opponent in the ending if they stay close – which they didn't this time. They got to trailing just 6 points from max 26 points difference. The crucial was fight for the rhythm of the game: Greek were trying to slow down the game, but they didn't succeed this time.

But the teams have also similarities. They both depend on their best players, Goran and Spanoulis. When Goran went out at the end of third and beginning of fourth, Slovenians just couldn’t make the shot. It was like standing on the sinking ship and you couldn’t do anything. When Goran came back, body language showed, that he is tired, exhausted. He didn’t stay in game until the end, it was impossible.

This is a bit strange for me, because Goran played more at Suns this season. He played more than 30 min., here around 25 min. on one game. The only logical reason is that here Goran plays more vigorously. The crowd is ecstatic, all the players are motivated, and probably they know, that they can win only if they are 100% focused and engaged. I'm repeating myself, but if Hornacek really want fast play, he sure need a bit more bodies who will run, create and attack.

After the game Goran gave some impressions to the media, honest and emotional as we are used from him. He said: "... its good to play in team where everybody plays defense, where everybody is focused all the time, so motivated. It feels like we are one family."

*all pictures courtesy of fibaeurope.org and eurobasket2013.org

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