Running of the Bulls: Czechs Fall to Spain But Live to Fight Another Day
On early Saturday morning in the U.S., the Czech Republic got man-handled by the Spaniards, losing 60-39 and only scoring two points in the fourth quarter. Spain, ranked second in the world by FIBA heading into EuroBasket (compared to a ranking of 61 for the Czechs), was simply too big and too athletic for the Czech Republic.
The Czechs ended up winning the battle of the boards 46-45, and 13-12 on the offensive end, but much of those tallies were evened-out in garbage time. After the first half, Spain had nine offensive rebounds to just three for the Czech Republic. Jan Vesely pulled down 14 rebounds (six offensive), but that was almost inevitable with the Czechs shooting 24.2 percent from the field and Spain shooting just 32.4 percent. There were rebounds aplenty.
Overall, it was a valiant effort by the Czechs, who were essentially expected to lose all their games at EuroBasket, especially considering that, on Sunday, the Czech Republic took down Georgia in a blowout. Let’s go through screen shots and quick recap words from the Czech Republic-Spain game…
Marc Gasol often has a curiously pained expression on his face, as if he’s trying to compose poetry about love during ‘The Great War’ on a chalkboard in his head using only his feet.
Tomas Satoransky, on the right, below, clearly looked affected by his shoulder/collarbone/”cracked rib” injury from the start. He tried to be aggressive at times, but often forced the issue too much. Most of his troubles were on defense, as he as the victim of quick Spain back-cutting action several times. Satoransky was limited to just 18 minutes and finished with five points, one rebounds, two turnovers, and zero assists.
Jiri Welsch, to the left, is normally counted on to step up; he didn’t. The former Boston Celtic finished with just four points on 2-for-6 shooting with three turnovers and two assists.
Ondrej Balvin, seen in the middle, is the next up-and-coming big man prospect for the Czech Republic. (He was also once nominated by this very website as a potentially #SoWizards draft pick.) I’d thought that Balvin would see more time versus Spain given his size and the Czech’s need for size, but he only saw two minutes of action in garbage time. Perhaps it was for the best, as Balvin clearly has a long way to go before he displays awareness expected of someone who is tasked with holding down the paint.
And of course, Boy Honza… Vesely looked rather fatigued for most of the night against Spain. But if anything, seeing a lot of time at center, both at EuroBasket and in the Vegas Summer League, will continue to build up his toughness and improve his instincts around the rim.
Spanish basketball fans or Spanish meth fans? The great debate continues…
Lemme guess… this guy’s friends glued that hair to his scalp. At least that’s what his eyes are telling me…
It was mostly smiles from the Spanish fans… much of the game was like the Running of the Bulls with the Czechs getting thoroughly trampled.
Oh, hey, this lady…
Spain displayed their athleticism capable of dominating early. Rudy Fernandez, an international star who couldn’t cut it in the NBA, is seen here dunking. He led the Spanish with 14 points on 6-for-13 shooting to go with eight rebounds and four steals.
Vesely once tried to drive on Gasol early in the game, but the 2012-13 NBA Defensive Player of the Year easily poked the ball away. Ves was a tad shy about driving against Gasol for the rest of the game.
The Spanish coach, Juan Orenga, reminded me of the younger brother of “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” except not that interesting and definitely not Mexican. (The real actor is named Jonathan Goldsmith and he’s from New York City, FWIW.)
Vesely did draw a nice charge versus Gasol late as the Czechs tried to stay relevant on the scoreboard to no avail.
It was a legitimate charge and not totally a flop; that said, Vesely did sell his job… slightly.
And later on… the doo-rag/bandana trainer guy gave Vesely a rub-down and some prayer on what appeared to be a stiff quad/left knee.
There wasn’t much that Czech coach Pavel Budinsky could do to get his players’ heads back in the game.
David Jelinek did not have a good outing for the Czechs, once missing an easy dunk at the rim.
Jelinek played with the Dallas Mavericks at the 2012 Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 6.8 minutes and 5.2 points over five games.
Another Spanish foray to the hoop…
This little bearded gentleman, seemingly just released from captivity, made an impression on the game. His name is Sergio Rodriguez and he played ball in the NBA for the Kings, Trailblazers, and Knicks.
The end… / To be continued…
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