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Today’s picks (Day 6 live from France)

July 29th, 2009 · No Comments

After a day of rest for me but not for the players, I went back to France today to watch two interesting games between Lithuania and Turkey and the decisive one between France and Germany.

  • The game between an unbeaten Lithuanian team and a so far disappointing Turkish one could be considered as the match up between two of the most talented Center players of the tournament: Enes Kanter versus Jonas Valanciunas. And the first half was all Valanciunas as the Lithuanian Center dominated at will in the paint scoring 16pts in just 15 minutes on the court. He beat Kanter by his speed and managed to go for several hooks over the strong Turk. The second half was then more a Kanter game as Valanciunas was more restricted on offense and Kanter tried to force some scoring inside. But Turkey just stayed alive because of the scoring of the left handed Safak Edge who came up with 13 in the second half. In the end, Lithuania dominated the game, even if they had some decision making errors in the last minute but their victory was not in danger anymore and they stay undefeated. Five players in double figures and the better leadership were the reasons for this success. Turkey will now face Spain while Lithuania will have to beat Croatia where Toni Prostran had his comeback in order to qualify for the semi-finals.
  • In the second game of the night, France had to beat Germany if the hosts wanted to stay in the tournament. And they can say thank you to Evan Fournier who had his best game of the tournament so far with 29pts at an unreal 10/13 shooting effort. Nobody on the German team could stop the 1992 born forward who scored from everywhere on the court. He got the necessary defensive support by Fabien Paschal who showed today that he can play defense as he really stopped the German inside force Philipp Neumann who was limited to 9 points only. A German team that was based too much on outside shooting instead of looking for their big guy inside and except the reserve Harald Debelka, nobody could connect at good percentages from outside. For France, the tournament will continue now with a quarter-final matchup against Russia while Germany will play Bulgaria and Latvia will face Slovenia for the place 9 to 12. The last quarterfinal will be Serbia versus Italy.
  • Today, a multitude of NBA Scouts had made the trip to France as we could see personnel representing the New Jersey Nets, the Houston Rockets, the Philadelphia Sixers, the Portland Trailblazers or the Minnesota Timberwolves in the different gyms. Several Italian and Spanish teams were also present as well a member of the University of San Francisco basketball program.

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