For the first time ever, Slovenia has won the EuroBasket! With Goran Dragic’s composing an “opus” on the floor and Klemen Prepelic emerging as a hero down the stretch, Slovenia made history.
Slovenia has done it. They are the 2017 EuroBasket champions. Goran Dragic’s leadership (35 points) pushed Slovenia to a 93-85 win over Serbia and the 2017 continental crown! Since early on, Slovenia showed how motivated they were to achieve this goal, to achieve an unprecedented success, and gave everything they got on the court. As coach Igor Kokoskov, Goran Dragic and Luka Doncic have all mentioned the key to success is the ‘team chemistry’ and the ‘mutual help’ which is exactly what they showcased tonight since the tip-off.
The first period started off tight as both teams wanted to show their capabilities and their intentions. It ended 20-22 in favor of Serbia. Moreover, all the players showed why they deserved to be in the final and gave the fans in ‘Sinan Erdem Dome’ a quality spectacle. In the second quarter, Slovenia increased their lead to a double-digit lead (38-28) thanks to an 11-0 run, which was really crucial for them. Dragic’s heroics (20 points in the second quarter) led Slovenia to a 56-47 advantage for his team in the first half. After the break, Luka Doncic’s ankle-injury changed Slovenia’s momentum of the game and Serbia managed to cut the deficit to two (63-61). Slovenia showed character, even while being exhausted and tired. With Dragic on the bench, Prepelic and Randolph late in the fourth quarter made some tough clutch shots and led Slovenia over Serbia.
The star: Goran Dragic was simply incredible for Slovenia. He finished with 35 points (NT – career high) in what will probably be his last international game. A glorious once, of course.
He used his speed and unique skills offensively, by attacking the basket and finishing with contact, knocking down three-point shots, but also tough mid-range shots. More importantly, he acted as a true leader inspiring and trusting his teammates. Klemen Prepelic had perhaps the best game of his career and especially in the fourth quarter was phenomenal. He finished with 21 points. Anthony Randolph added 11 points and some huge shots down the stretch.
The key: The unreal second quarter from Goran Dragic (20 points – record!), and Slovenia’s run in the second quarter, which increased their lead to double-digits, gave Slovenia motivation and a lead to build on for the rest of the game. The way they handled Doncic’s injury was also crucial for Slovenia.
Not enough: Bogdan Bogdanovic for Serbia was really good with 22 points and 5 assists, but he needed some help from his teammates in order to complete a comeback in the second half, especially with Dragic being tired and Doncic unable to play. Milan Macvan added 18 points.