Posts Tagged ‘Semih Erden’

About Last Night: Perk’s Return

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – When the list of the NBA’s most valuable players is discussed, you will never hear the name Kendrick Perkins involved.

But if you watched the 2010 NBA Finals, from start to finish, you know that Perkins not being able to play in Game 7 was as big a factor in the Lakers’ defeating the Celtics as anything. Perkins went down in Game 6 with a right knee injury that required “reconstructive” surgery. Without him, the Celtics’ lacked that interior toughness to grind out Game 7 at the Staples Center.

So now you know what all the fanfare was about in Boston last night, when the Celtics’ rugged center made his return after a seven month layoff to recover from his surgery. The Celtics found out just how crucial Perkins was to their mix when they lost him. And now that they have him back, the optimism in Boston is wicked thick, and rightfully so.

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Notes from TUR 95, SLO 68

ISTANBUL – Backed by a home crowd that just won’t stop singing, Turkey continues to roll through this tournament. And at this point, there’s no doubt that they have an excellent chance to win gold on their home floor come Sunday.

To get that chance, they’ll have to beat Serbia on Saturday night. But they should be strong favorites to do so after crushing Slovenia in the quarters, 95-68.

This looked like another one of those all-offense games early on, with each team getting off to a hot start. But Turkey stayed hot while holding Slovenia scoreless on its last seven possessions of the first quarter. The resulting 10-0 run gave them a 13-point lead heading into the second, and they had yet to use their vaunted 2-1-2 zone defense.

They finally went to the zone midway through the second quarter, with a big frontline of Kerem Gonlum (6-foot-10), Oguz Savas (6-foot-10) and Semih Erden (6-foot-11).

And that was nothing, because a couple of possessions later, they brought in Hedo Turkoglu to play shooting guard. So, with Ender Arslan at the point, they had a lineup that looked like this: 6-3, 6-10, 6-10, 6-10, 6-11.

That is HUGE. And all of those guys, with the exception of Savas, move well. The big Turkey zone was not used all that much on Wednesday, but it can be a dangerous defensive weapon in the final rounds of this tournament.

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Notes from Turkey 95, France 77

Hedo appreciates the love from the home crowd. (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)

ISTANBUL – This one went pretty much as expected. France kept it close for most of the first quarter, but Turkey pulled away in the second and cruised to 95-77 victory that puts them in the quarterfinals against Slovenia on Wednesday.

Turkey was the No. 1 defense in pool play (allowing just 81.1 points per 100 possessions), but it was their offense that was far more dominant on Sunday. France had one of the better defenses in pool play as well (eighth, 97.4 per 100), and they just couldn’t stop Turkey in this game.

The Turkish offense really hit its stride in the second quarter, and at one point in the third, Turkey had scored on 13 of its last 14 possessions. That was a 30-10 run that made this one a laugher.

Hedo Turkoglu shot the ball well (prompting a “Hedo is on FIRE!” call from the PA announcer after back-to-back threes to start the third) and led Turkey with 20 points. Sinan Guler came off the bench and blew by the French defense to the tune of 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting.

Turkey had a +29.8 point differential per 100 possessions in pool play, which put them just slightly behind the U.S. (+30.9) as the most dominant team in the tournament. They’ve got their (very loud) home crowd behind them for every game and it is no stretch to believe they can win gold. If they beat Slovenia on Wednesday, they would face the Serbia-Spain winner in the semifinals on Saturday.

Here are a few more notes from this one…

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