The cards were dealt clearly. The Czech basketball players knew that a victory over the Finns would ensure their participation among the four advancing from Group D, even a possible point match in the final table would put the home team higher thanks to a better match against each other, and the Netherlands would no longer be able to catch up with coach Ginzburg’s team.
With the extraordinary importance of the match, quarterback Satoranský also went into battle again after four days of treatment for his ankle, but it was obvious that he was not completely in his own skin. Only one of his seven shots went through the hoop, but he handed out nine assists in twenty-six minutes on the board.
On the contrary, the Finns were drawn by their star from the NBA from the beginning. Markkanen has averaged 22.7 points per game so far and improved it by a lot on Tuesday night at the O2 Arena. The Czech pivots collected fouls on him while defending, and the 25-year-old Utah player reigned under both baskets not only in terms of shooting, but also in collecting balls. Mainly because of him, the representatives lost 5:14 after three minutes.
The time out and the substitution of the Czech lineup slowed down the opponent a bit, but Salina’s three-pointers helped the Finns to catch their breath again and the Czech defense could not keep up under the basket or from the perimeter. The opponent practically did not make any mistakes, so the national team could not even use a quick counterattack and lost overwhelmingly on the rebound.
Finland, which is already a certain participant in the World Cup next year, led 43:28 after a quarter of an hour, and Markkanen already had fourteen points and seven rebounds. The representatives simply did not know how to stop him, and they could not even rely on their shooting, the success rate of which was forty percent.
Over ten thousand spectators in the auditorium, where an estimated three thousand very loud Finns were sitting, nevertheless encouraged the Czech players at the end of the second quarter to a twelve-point lead and a reduction to six points.
Veselý took on the role of the scoring leader, but he remained alone. Peterko completely missed the fly that the Dutchman crushed the day before, and the Finns quickly regained a double-digit lead in the third quarter.
Twelve minutes before the end, the Czechs were losing 52:70 and their situation was already critical. Substitute Aud tried to blow out a glimmer of hope, who led by example to a more aggressive game. In addition, Veselý was able to derail the sovereign Markkanen, who had a success rate of 93 percent with a total of fourteen free throws, at least for a while with his inconspicuous toughness in defense.
In the last quarter, the Finns faced the Czech press all over the pitch, the representatives toiled to exhaustion. There were five minutes left when Bohačík cut the score to 73:80 with a three-pointer, but the Czechs did not get any closer in the score. Their defeat was actually decided by two excellent Finns. Markkanen, unobservable under the basket, who scored a double double for 34 points and ten rebounds, and Salin, the author of five triples.
|EC basketball players – group D (Prague)|
|Czechia – Finland 88:98 (18:29, 45:51, 59:72)|
|Lineup and points of the Czech Republic: Hruban 22, Veselý 15, Kyzlink 8, Satoranský 2, Kříž – Auda 13, J. Bohačík 13, Balvín 7, Jelínek 3, Peterka 3, Krejčí 2, Sehnal.|
|Most Finland points: Markkanen 34, Salin 23, Koponen 14.|
|Fouls: 27:29. Free throws: 24/20 – 32/15. Triples: 8:15. Rebounds: 34:33. Spectators: 10,381.|
|You can find the results of other EC matches here >>>|