The favorite will be in the European Basketball Championship quarter-finals on Wednesday Slovenia Defending Gold, with Luka Doncic’s Premium Coin. The Poles have already achieved a lot – promotion to the top eight is their best European Championship achievement in 25 years. A win for White and Red would be a sensation – also because we lost to Slovenia recently.
In 2017, in the first EuroBasket match in Helsinki, we lost the Slovenes 81:90. A year ago, in qualifying for the Olympics, we defeated in Kaunas 77: 112. In both matches, the coach of the Polish national team was Mike Taylor, who is currently at FIBA as an expert during transition.
A year ago, Luca Donicci didn’t have to make an effort with Poland
And, as in most cases before the match against Slovenia, the conversation begins with him with Luka Doncic, who a year ago threw in Kaunas 18 points, scored six rebounds and 10 assists. At first glance, it may not be much, but the star played for only 21 minutes. He left the field at the end of the third quarter with a score of 80:55, and he didn’t have to make any effort.
Before the match in Kaunas, we put a lot of effort into preparing the match plan, and we were ready to play against Doncic. We played with them evenly in the first quarter, but unfortunately we couldn’t take any more – Taylor recalls. We lacked physique, lacked sufficient strength to make assumptions about seizing competitors from the curtains, to carry out the plan. We tried but we couldn’t. The Slovenes were massively mobilized in Kaunas, and they were in great shape.
During the ongoing EuroBasket, Donich shines. In the last three games he threw 36, 47 and 35 points. Sometimes it seems like an unstoppable player – the Germans tried, the French tried, the Belgians tried. He fell. – He reads brilliantly what is happening on the field and answers it with the best solutions. Do you cut my friends want me to throw? Then I’ll throw you 47 points. “Don’t I get my three-pointers? I’ll play with my back to the basket or throw it out the doorway,” Taylor notes.
– This is a complete player, he always makes the best decisions. And you can have the best game plan against him – you can point him to his left hand and wait for his three to appear step by step, you can direct him to the right to play curtain and pass, in theory you can do anything. But in the end the question becomes – do you have any players who can keep him in a singles match? So far, no one has found them. Which is why Slovenia is a favorite for gold, Taylor says.
In 2017, the Polish executioner was Goran Dragic
– Sure, they also have bad times. Mike Toby missed one game with an ankle injury, now Zoran Dragic is injured, these things are having an effect on the team. And so far, Luca finds the best solutions to overcome these small problems – adds the American.
Slovenia, however, isn’t just Doncic – Mike Tobi, Vlatko Kancar, Klimen Pripelic and Edo Muric do very well around Luka. And most of all – Goran Dragic, a 36-year-old left-handed veteran with tremendous experience in NBA. He became the best player in EuroBasket 2017, and in the first match of that event threw us up to 30 points.
– In 2017, the roles in the Slovenian team were reversed – the captain, the main player, was Dragić, who scored 30 points. Dunno hit the Big Three, but scored 11 points in total, and was “the last.” Taylor remembers that we had a bigger problem with Dragic, he made a difference.
– I’m watching him at EuroBasket and I can see something unclear – a great sense of defence. Works perfectly with his hands, has a hunch, lifts, hits balls, sometimes Individual touches cause losses to competitors. Uses experience and intelligence. In attack, he often plays with his back to the basket, finishing well in entries in three seconds. He impresses me with his jam-packed game – he can be a good guard, he may not, and still find a throwing position – describes Taylor Dragasia, who scored in the EuroBasket average 14.5 points, coming in at 37%. Threes.
If, if, if…Play like USA
How to play against the stars? I expect the Poles to play with ambition but with comfort. It’s a bit like we played the United States in the seventh-place play-off at the World Cup. No pressure on the team, no high expectations, the team has already achieved something great for Polish basketball – says Taylor, whose team finished eighth in 2019. In the last game, the Poles lost 74:87, but after three quarters they were behind With only eight points.
– if Matthews Bonnetka And AJ Slaughter will play at the best level, if Olek Balcerowski confirms their good behavior, if Aaron Cel and Michał Sokołowski use experience, and the substitutes bring something positive – you will have a chance. I would like to see the match tight until the last minutes. Belgium did a great team job against Slovenia. The Slovenes were not at their best in this match, but in the tournament it is difficult to keep them in every match. Taylor wonders: It’s possible that the Belgians have been a bit sloppy, it could be the same with Poland. In the final 1/8, Slovenia defeated Belgium 88:72, although it was 62:62 in the 32nd minute. Then the Slovenian stars switched to a higher speed.
“The situation should be clear: Let’s take care of the fundamentals,” Taylor emphasizes. – One-on-one defense, rally, return to defense, stop easy actions, limit players around Doncic, let Luka work on his points. But maybe you will also have to choose between focusing on Doncic, trying to limit him at the expense of more freedom for the rest of the players, or vice versa, focusing on others and accepting that Luka will score a lot of points.
– Klemen Prepelić is a great distance shooter, Goran Dragić likes to play with his back to the basket, Mike Tobey rolls in the basket or goes out on the ocean past the curtains, Vlatko Cancar and Edo Murić can hit for three – all this is a must-know and know points The strength of your competitors, you have to choose what you consider the key to limit the whole team.
But that’s all Igor Milich and his basketball players know. There is only one question: Can theory be turned into practice? The match between Slovenia and Poland is on Wednesday at 20.30. Broadcast on TVP Sport, live broadcast on Sport.pl.
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