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Dragic, Slovenia lose to Brazil in overtime, 84:88

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Dragic and the sharp-shooting Prepelic were not enough to beat the hard-hitting center line-up of Nene, Splitter and Varejao.


Slovenia looked great early on, shutting down on D and using good ball movement to find the open man for a quick lead 10:5. After a time-out, the ball just seemed to stop finding the hole, but luckily the defense was still doing it's job so the score was 15:15 going into the second period. Goran Dragic had a really average (being nice) first period, struggling to run the team and missing a few open shots.

The second period was basically a butt-whopping for Slovenia after a great initial Dragic-to-Dragic  combo to make it 27:28. Brazil used great defensive pressure on the guards (especially Dragic, it's obviuous he's the only real threat on the team and he is treated as such) to disrupt the flow of our offense, stealing balls and forcing bad shots. On the other end, they put on a show of great passing to find the open man and most importantly, getting the ball down low as Slovenia is weakest there, even more so with the news that Erazem Lorbek will not play due to his knee injury. Varejano-Splitter were wreaking havoc and Nene had some thunderous dunks, at one point stripping Zupan of the ball on D and running the court to dunk it on the other end. To put it in short, Brazil won the period 15:29 and around 8 thousand home fans (myself included) were thoroughly unimpressed. Slovenia: Brazil half-time score was 28:43.

After the break (and I imagine a good talking-to by coach Zdovc) things went much better for Slovenia. The D locked down, forcing a ton of bad shots and scoring in transition on the other end. Goran was leading the charge, since we know this is where he shines. He was sprinting the court, going hard to the rim or kicking it out to an open man (all of them eventually managed to hit more than miss). Plus, I am happy to report, his patented step-back is back!

He hit a few of them from the elbow, and two back-to-back three pointers from well behind the arch, so I guess the results of kajkejti's poll have come to life, he's just taking the NBA three and it's working again.

Third period ended with Brazil leading 40:42, but they were outscored 9:29 in the period, thanks mostly to Goran and Klemen Prepelic who hit a few over-the-arm, in-your-face threes, some of them beyond the NBA 3-pt line. He was 6/8 in threes in the game.

In the fourth, Slovenia continued the charge, eventually taking the lead and extending it to 7 with a little over 2 minutes left in the game. But Brasil fought back, Slovenia was not focused, two of our bigs fouled out and Brazil tied it with a little more than a second left in the fourth on a rebound from a missed free throw.

In overtime, Brazil used it's size and focus to get the lead to 6 early on, and that was (a few desperate individual attempts from the SLO team aside) basically it.

Slovenia:Brazil final score 84:88.

Goran had a decent game in the end, putting up 18 points and 7 assists (5/11 for two, 2/6 for three, 2/4 FT) 4 rebounds and three turnovers in a little over 32 minutes of play. But once again it's obvious he'll have a hard time carrying the team by himself as he's being guarded better than the JFK plot.

And no, I did not forget about Leandro Barbosa, who I was looking forward to seeing in actions liveve, but he was resting and didn't get to see any action.

The last home friendly is today against Lithuania (who beat Slovenia a few days ago in Kaunas) and I'll again be there, hoping to see at least one victory live before heading to the WC.