The Czech basketball players lost at the European Championship in Prague with point guard Tomáš Satoranský in the team against Finland 88:98 and missed the first opportunity to secure participation in the round of 16 in Berlin.
After a third defeat in four games, coach Ronen Ginzburg’s men will fight for promotion on Thursday from 17:30 in their final Group D appearance with Israel, who lost to Serbia 78-89 earlier today and also missed out on a play-off spot.
“Finland deserved to win, they played well. And not only today. They use a unique style with almost no long players and cause problems for their opponents. We didn’t start well, we kept chasing them, and when we got closer, they made the key shots. That but that’s life. I believe that next time we will win and advance to Berlin,” said Ginzburg.
Finland’s win was led by star center Lauri Markkanen, who recorded a double-double. Utah’s freshman from Cleveland scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Vojtěch Hruban’s 22 points did not prevent the defeat of the Czech team.
Satoranský, who started Friday’s opener against Poland two weeks after injuring an ankle on his right foot, but only sat on the bench against Serbia on Saturday and against the Netherlands on Monday, spent almost 26 minutes on the pitch. Out of his teammates, only Hruban played more. Satoranský recorded the first two points of the tournament, along with ten assists and four rebounds.
“I think he felt better already. We’ll see how he is after the game. From my point of view, we can only benefit from this game in terms of his involvement. I think he will be even more prepared next time,” Ginzburg said.
Although the Czechs responded to Markkanen’s opening two successful sixes with Tomáš Kyzlink’s three-pointer, only captain Hruban scored in three and a half minutes, while the Finns escaped to a 14:5 lead. Then the home team started with the cooperation of Satoranský and Jan Veselý, and Jaromír Bohačík added a triple.
At the turn of the first and second quarter, the Finns escaped with an 11-0 run to a sixteen-point difference. Markkanen and Sasu Salino led them in terms of shooting. They reduced Hruban and crushed Veselý, but the visitors were able to react. Similarly, three-pointers by David Jelínek and Hruban and Salin sent them ahead 43:28.
The opponent once again led by 15 points, but Ginzburg’s team converted a 12-point streak and Veselý, the author of 15 points, shined in shooting, just like with the Netherlands. A three-pointer by Salina, who scored 18 points in halftime, gave the Finns a 51:45 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, only Hruban scored from the Czech side in almost six minutes, and although the Finns also scored only twice in a long time, they then escaped with a 7-0 run to take a 61:47 lead. Bohačík broke the Czech shooting deficit at 26:46 with a three-pointer. A moment later, however, after Henri Kantonen’s accurate cross, the Finns already led by 18 points.
At the turn of the third and last quarter of a nervous match full of fights and emotions, thanks to Patrik Auda, Hruban’s three-pointer and Bohačík’s basket, the Czechs reduced the lead to 64:72. In the 35th minute, Bohačík reduced the deficit to seven points with a three-pointer, and Hruban again. But the Finns continued to hit from a distance, improved their balance with three more three-pointers to a total of 15 three-point baskets and secured the win.
“We played against a good team that has been together for a long time since the youth. And they still play in the same system. We knew the strengths of the Finns, which is a quick transition to attack and offensive rebounding, but we did not stop it in the first phase of the game. improved, but our main problem was again in defense. If we could stop the opponent more times, we could start counter-attacks more. Defense is the basis of everything,” said the Israeli coach, who also obtained Czech citizenship two years ago.
Now he faces a fight with Israel. “It will be a key match and it will be against my country. But now I live here and I love the Czechia, so there will be a little more emotion. Sure, I was born in Israel, but in the end it’s all about basketball and we have to win. For sure there will be a little more emotion, but once the match starts, that has to be put aside,” added Ginzburg.
European Basketball Championship:
Group A (Tbilisi):
Turkey – Belgium 78:63 (20:6, 37:30, 59:47), Spain – Montenegro 82:65 (27:17, 53:31, 67:48), Georgia – Bulgaria 80:92 (18: 14, 38:39, 57:66).
Group B (Cologne):
France – Bosnia and Herzegovina 81:68 (19:19, 44:34, 52:50), Lithuania – Hungary 87:64 (22:18, 48:33, 75:52), Germany – Slovenia 80:88 (14 :21, 36:44, 55:61).
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Group C (Milan):
Estonia – Great Britain 94:62 (24:18, 49:36, 78:53), Greece – Ukraine 99:79 (23:20, 39:46, 71:57), Italy – Croatia 81:76 (22: 17, 42:34, 55:59).
Group D (Prague):
Poland – Netherlands 75:69 (19:20, 31:40, 48:55), Serbia – Israel 89:78 (24:18, 50:38, 65:58)
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.