A disastrous start to the second quarter, during which the Serbs, one of the world’s best teams led by the genius Nikola Jokic, went on a 15-0 run and clearly controlled the game. The Czech team could throw a white flag on the board and save on the Dutch (Monday), the Finns (Tuesday) and the Israelis (Thursday). However, it was also about raising morale and self-confidence, and in the end the fighters in white jerseys headed to the dressing room in a much better mood than the day before after the loss to Poland.
An 11-0 run at the end of the third quarter got them into the game, and the players eventually cut the deficit down to single digits. They worked hard, the defense finally worked and 81 points from the EuroBasket favorites is a step forward. As well as winning the second half in a ratio of 43:38. Vít Krejčí shone (13 points), Ondřej Sehnal worked well in the passing game (7 assists). Lavička and, in the end, Ondřej Balvín received a technical foul. But even that is proof that this team is alive and will fight, even though they lost for the sixth time in a row. And that was missing Tomáš Satoranský, who didn’t even change into his jersey and let his injured right ankle rest.
Turning point: The first quarter ended with a decent deficit of 5 points, but at the start of the second, it took almost four minutes for the Czechs to score and move the score. Vojtěch Hruban only stopped the bleeding from the sixth, but the score was 15:35 after a monstrous 15:0 run by the Serbian favorites. Nikola Jokic could comfortably chatter on the bench when he scored 13 points in 11 minutes in the previous session. The entire opponent’s bench played and had fun with basketball, from which 11 players scored points in the first half alone. The Czechs lost the second half 10:23 (in total they lost 25:43 at halftime). In the end, the godliness almost didn’t pay off for the Serbs.
Stats of the match: Zero points after the Serbians’ second chances when they got the ball in attack. Functioning like this on Friday, when the Poles gave 16 points after second chances, could have been much more cheerful. Even so, this is a hopeful signal for the Czech team. He outrebounded the opponent 38:34, he acted much more authoritatively in his own box than the day before.
Player of the match: Nikola Jokic. A number of Czech defenders took turns on him, none of them celebrated a more penetrating success. The Serbian genius is simply somewhere else, he did what he wanted. Although he scored the first basket in the fifth minute, MVP chants immediately began pouring out of the opponent’s cauldron. And the two-time NBA MVP got a taste. He scored nine Serbian points in a row, hit a three-pointer, escaped Martin Peterko after a lightning-quick turn, and managed a perfect overview under the basket between the wall of bodies. His brace gave the Serbs a lead they never lost. Jokič collected 18 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists in 25 minutes.
In his own words: Jan Veselý: “I think this is what we have to do in the next matches. The second half, that was our game. Pugnacity. Don’t drain it until the end. The fighters who replaced Saty did an incredible job. All honor.”
Homemade: Auda, Hruban, Balvín, Peterka, Bohačík, Sehnal, Veselý, Jelínek, Krejčí, Kříž, Kyzlink
Guests: Davidovač, Marinković, Kalinic, Lučić, Ristic, Jokić, Nedović, Jagodic-Kuridza, Mičić, Guduric, Jaramaz, Milutinov
Conde (SPA), Baki (TUR), Calatrava (SPA)
O2 Arena, Prague