Eurobasket 2013 Day 1 Recap: Gortat's Poland flops, host Slovenia edges Czechs, Kravtsov's Ukraine triumphant

US PRESSWIRE

Three Phoenix Suns participated in Eurobasket 2013 today, going 2-1 overall on opening day of pool play. Each team plays 5 games of pool play to determine who makes the second round.

Per Paul Coro, some of the Suns brass is in Slovenia this week to watch the festivities, including GM Ryan McDonough and Coach Jeff Hornacek. Good living, I'd say, with a great host in Goran Dragic.

Poland

Suns fans know how much bravado Marcin Gortat can dish, no matter the situation. The more pressure he feels, the more bravado he dishes.

He did not let up in Slovenia, just before Poland kicked off their Eurobasket run, despite only recently returning to competitive basketball while healing from his lisfranc injury.

"I want to leave this country [Slovenia] with a medal," the Phoenix Suns big man told fibaeurope.com.

Then he chuckled as he went off the deep end, saying "If we get it, I can tell you right now, I am going be missing training camp in the NBA. I am going to be partying for three weeks right after the tournament!"

"It's a dream, it's a freaking dream to leave here with a medal, it's going to be huge."

Unfortunately, Gortat's team lost by 17 in their opener against Georgia. In 28 minutes, Gortat scored 12 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and dished 4 assists. He was 6/13 from the field, 0/3 on free throws and a -17 for the game. The Polish team made only 3 of 16 three-pointers, while Georgia made 61% of their shots for the game.

Slovenia

The hosts kicked off their tournament run against a tough Czech team. Slovenia last played the Czech Republic in Eurobasket 2004, before Goran Dragic was a member of the team.

Neither team played well, nor shot well, but the Slovenian team came out on top 62-60. Goran Dragic had 8 points (on only 3/15 shooting), with 9 assists and 2 steals.

"We had a couple of opportunities to make [an early 45-36 lead] a bigger lead but we didn't take advantage of them and the Czech Republic kept fighting and coming back," Bostjan Nachbar said in summary after the thrilling finale.
"So we had to fight hard all the way to the last seconds to get the win. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't the best game we've ever played, but we got the win and that's the important thing."

Ukraine

The Ukrainian team boasts newest Sun Slava Kravtsov, who scored only 2 points but grabbed 5 rebounds and had four blocks in 22 minutes. Ukraine won by a point, 58-57, over Belgium.

Beghin put his team up 57-55 with 1:41 remaining but that was to be their last score. Vlacheslav Kravtsov delivered a perfect block on Sam van Rossom that halted one last drive to land a decisive blow.

Here's the highlights:

Day TWO preview

Kravtsov's Ukraine plays Israel

Gortat's Poland plays Czech Republic, who just lost to Slovenia

Dragic's Slovenia plays the heavily favored Spain, who boast a plethora of NBA stars

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