It was supposed to be a test to understand how far the blue ambitions could go.Eurobasket and theItaly seems to have it passed. At the Forum ends 85-81 for Greece of Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the national team of coach Gianmarco Pozzecco comes out at head held high to the applause of the twelve thousand fans present. For 35 minutes the Azzurri suffered from the physicality and intensity of the Greeks who also reached +15 in the last quarter. But Italy does not succumb and thanks to the baskets of Tonut And Fontecchio he manages to bring himself back to only one possession away. Twice the Azzurri have the equalizer in their hands but the dream of extra time is shattered on the iron. “If we play for the whole game with the intensity of the last five minutes we can play it with everyone” comments the blue number 13 who closes with 26 points, acclaimed by the audience who dedicates the chorus to him “Mvp, mvp” and applauded by Gregg Popovich. , sitting in the stands together with Ettore Messina and Marco Belinelli.
The level of physicality of the Greeks it is not the one seen in the first match against the Estonians. Coach Dimitris Itoudis can count on an athleticism that the Azzurri do not have and that they try to contain as they can, as a team. Italy keeps rebounding (42-38) thanks also to Achille Polonara’s second double in a row (14 points and 11 rebounds). But it is in the offensive half that the Azzurri struggle. In the first twenty minutes the Greek defense denies easy receptions to the shooters and comes out aggressive on close outs. The Greeks seem to almost apologize to their coach when their opponents manage to take shots from outside. Fontecchio struggles to find the way to the basket and then creates advantages for his teammates and makes himself useful in defense with two blocks. But the shooting percentages of the Azzurri remain below 30 percent. Italy depends a lot on this factor. This is demonstrated by the comeback attempts in the third and fourth periods built on the shooters’ triples. But Greece can count on many options in attack and resist recovery attempts thanks to its talents.
“Be careful because if the problem were only Giannis it would be a little easier” had announced coach Pozzecco on the eve of the match. And so it was. There Nba star he scores 25 points with 11 rebounds including a couple of dunks that thrill the fans, including Italians, who came to the forum with his shirt on. But the decisive baskets come from the naturalized Greek play Dorsey who scores 23 points with 6/10 from three. The veteran takes care of the rest Kostas Sloukas with his baskets on the 24 and Agravanis, “mister utility” with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks.
“Tonight’s was a great show. We must be proud of what we did because we never gave up ”comments coach Pozzecco at the press conference. Sitting next to him is another protagonist of the Italian comeback Stefano Tonut, 13 points at the end for him. “We played a solid game, with the right attitude but against a strong team like Greece it was not enough – concludes the Italian guard – we keep the many positive things we have done and look ahead, theEuropean has just begun and we must continue to face it with the spirit put on the field tonight ”. Today, Sunday 4 September, Italy will be able to count on a rest day to recover physical and mental energies but tomorrow at 9 pm it will return to the field against Ukraine which, thanks to the two victories against Great Britain and Estonia, is ahead of the Azzurri in the group.
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