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Goran Dragic, Slovenia beat Lithuania 74:72

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While the Dragon was not the decisive factor in the game, his Dragonshake got the crowd going and helped Slovenia edge over the current second-best team in Europe (minus Jonas Valanciunas, but we'll gloss over that)


Starting the game, there was little between the two teams. both defenses were focused and shots on both sides clanged off the rim. But with a few made threes, Slovenia got it's first sizable lead with 16:10 about 8 minutes into the second period. The lead could have been higher since Lithuania was really off in their attempts but so was Slovenia. After the first period the score was 16:13, Goran Dragic was, I am sorry to say a non-factor, guarded closely and not able to make an impact and he only scored two points in the period to complement his two personal fouls.

Second period pretty much resembled the first, Slovenia holding on to a small lead throughout, extending it to 7 points with a little over 3 minutes left to play in the half. A few missed shots aside and a great block by Uroš Slokar on Lithuania's main offensive weapon, Mantas Kalnietis, just served to help them keep the lead at 7 going into the break. It was 42:35: and our Dragon's flame did seem a bit damp (no wonder, the weather here is almost monsoon-like).

Lithuania got going early into the third period, but not before Gogi faked the socks of a Donatas Montiejunas. A Dragonshake to behold, and you can see how rare a move like that is in Europe by the collective gasp of the crowd. Teams were trading buckets, but this was still a defensive effort first and foremost. 8 unanswered points by Lithuania later, Zdovc was forced to call a time-out, which resulted in an immediate made three to stop the bleeding. Slovenia held on to lead 54:53 going into the fourth quarter.

Lithuania scored first in the fourth, but Slovenia rallied and answered with an 7-point run. Time-out called by the Lithuianian coach was followed by a made three by Domen Lorbek to push the score to 64:57. The game was give-and-go form then on, teams trading buckets (two step-backs by Gogi included) and getting quite physical in a few cases, I guess nobody told the player it was supposed to be a friendly match, but it never went past a few heated arguments. Lithuania managed to tie the score at 71 with a little over two minutes left in the game on a series of made threes (what else, it's their primary weapon as Jonas Valanciunas did not play). Both teams fumbled their next attack, but with a minute left Jaka Klobucar hit a dagger three that would seal the victory despite the fact that Lithuania had a shot to tie it with a few seconds left. Final score was 74:72 against the reigning European vice-champions minus Valanciunas, but we'll take it.

Summary of the summary

This was the first game without distinct ups and downs from the Slovenian team, the defense worked much better and offensively, everyone was involved, even if we'd have preferred if the Dragon was a bit more involved.

Speak of the devil, Goran finished the game with 10 points on 5/10 shooting that included 0/4 from behind the arc (as kajkejti has correctly stipulated, he was not far enough behind the arc), 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal and three turnovers in a little over 22 minutes of play which was limited due to early foul trouble.

This was the last home game for Slovenia as today they are scheduled to fly to the Canary Islands for a last warm-up game against team USA. If playing against some of the best the NBA has to offer is not a good last test, I don't know what is. And yeah, we know we don't stand a chance, but how often do the Slovenian fans get to see a match-up like that. I ask you.