This game yesterday was the worst. Well not so much the game, it was the 3 people who are suppose to make the game fair - referees. This was ridiculous.
Goran Dragic gets called for a foul on one of his famous drives. He protests because it really wasn't one and gets a technical before even getting really mad. After he was called for it you could read his anger from his lips - in Slovenian thankfully. Take note, techs count to your personal fouls total in international play. So our main engine has 2 fouls with 2 and a half minutes gone by. And I'm already screaming "Come on!" at the TV. Poor Tv. And then it was just one stupidly called foul after another. At some point I was genuinely wondering if the refs were bribed by Angola so they could as they said "make history with the win". By halftime we had more than double their fouls.
I thought it would get better in the second half, that the refs would watch some tape, realise their mistake(s) and be more fair. Yeah, no. Slovenia got called for 2 more techs: one for coach Zdovc who couldn't believe the refs were ignoring everything he was saying, and the other for our veteran Jure Balažič who was literally walking away from the ref when called for a T. At the end of the third the foul stat read 19:10. Of course Angola caught up end of game situation being what it was. Despite all this Slovenia managed to pull through with the Dragon playing only 17 minutes. Productive as always he went 4/6 on 3s getting all his 14 points in the 3rd. I can truly say we earned this win with the final score reading 93:87.
In those final minutes, when the game was still tied and most of Slovenia was probably yelling at Zdovc to "put Gogi back in (for God's sake)", he stuck with the decision to rest the Dragić brothers. Since we got the win this proved to be a brilliant maneuver. The Dragon (and Zoki) is fresh for today's even more important game and our backup PG Klobučar got some rhythm back, since he was clearly a little off in the last 2 games.
Goran Dragić statements after the game:
Tomorrow will be interesting. We'll see who has what it takes. We could calculate but we didn't. We went for the win (against Angola). We'll se what Australia and Lithuania do. We're gonna give our max and go for the win. We're going for that first place, I didn't even look at the calculations. I know they are there, but I didn't go into them. I was focused on the game, so it doesn't come to any injuries. The important thing is we won and we're healthy.
(Asked weather he was taking his anger out at the refs by making buckets.)
"I had to a bit" he said jokingly. "The refs were a little weird. It was getting a little funny. I won't say anything, so it won't get worse."
Far from Angola being a bad team. You can see they play basketball a bit differently. Maybe they have a few more systems than Korea, but it's still a different type of play. That bothered us somewhat. Offense was good, but defense wasn't right. You could see they had the right energy, and we just weren't ourselves. We struggled the whole game and couldn't crack them. now the game is behind us and the most important thing is we won. Have to move on, an even more important game is up next. We're going for the win, so we can leave for Barcelona in first place.
Group places will be decided today
Slovenia plays their final group game today against Lithuania. Everything depends on the outcome of this game. Which is kinda of unfair since we've been rocking it so hard the last 4 games. The most desirable places are 1st and oddly enough, 3rd. This is because everyone is trying to avoid Team USA for as long as possible. Securing either 1st or 3rd place guarantees you won't meet them until the semifinals, thus still giving teams a chance to go for the bronze.
Slovenia will take first place if they a) win the game or b) lose the game by a max 8 point difference. In the event it loses by 9-13 point, they will take second place. Anything more than that we fall into third. Provided Australia who is more of a favourite wins against Angola today. Theoretically Australia could lose this game purposefully, since that would insure they get third place. As I'm posting they lead by 13 at halftime.
Slovenia vs. Lithuania begins at an American friendly 12.30 Phoenix time.