Macedonia Does It Again At EuroBasket

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Macedonia’s magical run in Lithuania continued during Day 2 of the second round at EuroBasket 2011, one of three games on the schedule in Group F action.

We’ve been talking up Bo McCalebb and his boys for a while now and they’re making it hard to stop talking about them …

Macedonia 65, Georgia 63 (Box Score)

While he is far from a one-man show, McCalebb did everything humanly possible to secure victory for Macedonia in this matchup. The final two of his game-high 27 points came with :00.2 to play in a nail-biter. McCalebb has become every bit the force for his team that Tony Parker has been for France in this competition, proving virtually unstoppable at times throughout the past nine days. McCalebb, the only player on the Macedonia roster to score more than eight points in this game, also finished with four assists and four steals.

Without Zaza Pachulia¬†(calf injury) in uniform to man the middle, Georgia seemed completely out of sync for most of this game. Nikoloz Tskitishvili picked up the slack, finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Viktor Sanikidze added 15 points and seven rebounds but also committed seven of Georgia’s whopping 20 turnovers.

They haven’t officially sealed the deal yet, but the quarterfinals look like a very realistic expectation for Macedonia at this point. Staying completely in the moment and handling the opponent at hand while not thinking about trying to make history has worked for Macedonia to this point, so there is no reason for them to look beyond Saturday’s game against Slovenia.

Russia 79, Finland 60 (Box Score)

Not every game in this competition is going to be a fair fight. And this certainly was one of those games that appeared unfair from very early on. Russia was simply better than Finland in virtually every aspect. The two-headed monster of Andrei Kirilenko (14 points, four rebounds and four steals) and Viktor Kryhapa (11 assists) led the way for powerful Russia.

Russia’s dominance inside was evident early on and executed by the likes of Timofey Mozgov, who finished with 11 points, four rebounds and two blocks. Russia outscored Finland a staggering 52-18 in the paint. Russia’s lead reached 20 points after halftime and they cruised down the stretch.

If you need an illustration of just how powerful this Russia team can be, they won going away while making just one of their 10 three-pointers. They were also careless with the ball (19 turnovers), yet they still managed 22 assists to Finland’s nine.

Greece 69, Slovenia 60 (Box Score)

Greece showed some serious finishing kick, outscoring Slovenia 25-14 in the fourth quarter to seal this extremely important win and move a step closer to making their way to the quarterfinals. Nikolaos Zisis had the big game for Greece, draining two huge 3-pointers down the stretch to help the winners finish this one off. Zisis scored a game-high 19 points and was the only player from Greece to finish in double figures. But he received plenty of help from a deep bench, including seven points and a team-high nine rebounds from Kostas Koufos.

This game wasn’t the prettiest one played in this competition, particularly for Slovenia. They never did find the right shooting touch. they made just 38 percent of their shots from the floor, and that includes a dismal 24 percent (6-for-25) effort from beyond the 3-point line. Erazem Lorbek and Goran Dragic were a combined 6-for-17 from the floor and just 1-for-8 from distance.

Long-distance shooting is essentially what won this game for Greece. They made nine of their 17 shots from long-range and nailed them down the stretch, those two from Zisis and another dagger from Antonios Fotsis to put the game away late. The very best teams in this competition have shown an ability to win games when they are clicking from deep and by going inside if they are not. Greece has the ability to do both.

*** Friday’s slate of games in Group E should be as explosive as any we’ve seen so far in this competition.¬†Spain and Serbia, Germany and Turkey, and Lithuania and France get after each other to finish the work week. ***

14 Comments

  1. nedelko says:

    NIck, boby… if you dont know where macedonia is then ure stupid and ignorant try read history u stupid fat american .have a nice day

  2. Cvetan says:

    Great work guys!!

    Win or Lose we feel as if we are WINNERS already!! The rest is Bonus!!!

    Macedonia is gaining the right sort of attention… enough about politics… enough about the naming dispute… we are proud human beings, for god’s sake it is a Basketball field and not a political playing field… for once lets just play some ball and not worry about all the other crap~>…. we are proud to call ourselves whatever we want… Stop us!!…. That is if u can :pp

    Go Macedonia!! WooHoo!!!

    Don’t get me wrong Bo’s a great player, but without the other guys, Macedonia wouldn’t be the team it is and it definitely wouldn’t be where it is right now!

    There’s one thing that everyone should know – There’s a party going on… and its in the Republic of Macedonia…. Whoever wants to join the fun come to Skopje.. we’ve just upgraded our airport!! YiHaAaAaAaaa….

  3. Nick says:

    Macedonia…?? where’s that? oh…you mean FYROM…Got ya

  4. Hitch says:

    WE LOVE YOU BO!

    We are so proud of our boys! Great present for Independence day.

  5. Maya says:

    It is a beautiful feeling, when you can see a team of a country almost nobody knows where it is, is wining, again and again and again! It is a beautiful feeling when you have a team of almost un-known players who can beat a team as Greece or Croatia!
    The most beautiful feeling is when players are playing with their hart, for their country! And when 2 million people at home are living for those winnings! And sorry USA, we are adapting Bo (our Borce the Makedonian), as one of us, as one of the biggest Macedonian in the history!
    We love you, guys! From the bottom of our harts, we love you! Thank you for all the joy you gave us! Thank you for this wonderful feeling of being Macedonian!
    Whatever you do in the future… You are the winners for us! You are the champions of our harts!!!

  6. Kostas says:

    Congratulation on the Greek team. They did a good job considering that it is a new team. Lets see how we will perform against Russia tomorrow.It will not be easy but i hope we can do it, Congratulations on Macedonia as well. They are doing a very good effort even though they are new in the competition. We more or less started in the same way back in 1987 with Nikos Gallis who was the main scorer for our team.

  7. Bobby says:

    First of all, it’s my personal opinion, but I hate national teams that recruit american basketball players to play for them. MaCalebb is indeed the engine of this team, too bad he’s not a Macedonian or whatever. Macedonian basketball players are just not good enough to play at this level. Oh, and why do we use the term “Macedonian”? They are not even representing Macedonia national team, it’s FYROM national team. Am I wrong? http://www.eurobasket2011.com/en/cid_4,w7QjPeH-M,ty138LH2l3.teamID_2604.compID_qMRZdYCZI6EoANOrUf9le2.season_2011.roundID_7526.html
    Have a nice day,

  8. Marjan says:

    Even if the Macedonian team doesn’t win any more games in this tournaments, it doesn’t matter. They’ve already became heroes in Macedonia.

  9. Vladimir says:

    Indeed, McCalebb is the engine of the Macedonian team. The FG% is worrisome, except Bo’s, but he is almost always driving to the basket, rarely making open shots. Macedonia has always played offense-driven basketball, but at this championship we are playing solid defense: 4th in allowed FG, 5th in total RB, 1st in steals. Anyway, the match against Slovenia on Saturday is going to be the real challenge for Macedonia and a true gem for watching.

  10. Kliment says:

    Special thanks to Mr. Smith for his professional work.

  11. Kliment says:

    Thank you NBA.COM for all your reports on Macedonia. To us Macedonians, it means so much! For Macedonia, it is history in the making.