Ross McMains: Držim pesti za polfinale Slovenija – Nova Zelandija!

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Gogijev osebni trener, Ross McMains se nam je oglasil iz Nove Zelandije ter nam opisal svoje videnje dosedanjega poteka prvenstva, ter podal nekaj koristnih nasvetov, kako se zoperstaviti Dominikanski Republiki.

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Nisem si mislil, da lahko med 12 urnim letom zamudim toliko akcije! Na Novo Zelandijo sem prispel ob 5:30 uri zjutraj, ravno pravšnji čas, da sem ujel zaključek tekme med Slovenijo in Litvo, vendar več o tej tekmi v nadaljevanju…
Ena prvih novic, ki sem jih zasledil je bila ta, da je Goran na svojem Twitter profilu provokativno izpostavil Avstralijo! To mi je zelo všeč! Kot Novozelandec namreč podpiram vse kritike uperjene proti Avstralcem. Zdi se mi prav, da je Goran spregovoril o košarkarski čistosti…no, na koncu sem uspel videti še posnetek novo zelandske zmage na Finsko, s katero so se uvrstili med 16 najboljših! Slovenija in Kiviji v izločilnih bojih, to je super novica.

Začetek turnirja zelo vznemirljiv, saj sta Gogi in Zoki oba pokazala nekaj odličnih predstav. Zares upam, da bo Zoki s svojimi predstavami na turnirju pritegnil pozornost ekip iz lige NBA. Njegova tako rekoč popolna igra proti Mehiki je bila ena najboljših individualnih predstav v dosedanjem poteku turnirja. Na koš meče s samozavestjo, ki je rezultat njegove izvrstne forme. Kot vedno je blestel tudi v tranziciji, vsakič ko si je Slovenija pridobila posest nad žogo je hitro potegnil po krilih in zaključeval na obroču.

Prav tako je bilo zabavno gledati tudi Goranove čarovnije na igrišču. Proti ekipam, ki igrajo pressing obrambo, kot na primer Avstralija, je Goran prebijal obrambo, preigraval in žogo servriral soigralcem. Pri njegovi pick and roll igri ga je veliko ekip poizkušalo držati na njegovi desni, tako kot to poskušajo ekipe v NBA…vendar pa je Gogiju uspevalo vsiliti svojo igro in se izogniti obrambi. S tem mislim, da mu je velikokrat uspelo odigrati na levo stran, čeprav so ga silili v desno…ali pa se je uspel prebiti pred igralca in si tako omogočil prodor po obeh straneh. Je na dobri poti, da že pri 28 letih postane najboljši strelec v zgodovini slovenske košarke! To niti ne bi bilo presenetljivo, saj na turnirju iz igre meče s 60,7 % uspešnostjo…kar kaže na to, da igra zelo učinkovito košarko.

Zelo mi je bila všeč tudi igra, ki jo je prikazal Alen Omić, vse do nekaterih prelahko zgrešenih zaključkov proti Litvi. Menim, da je prikazal dobro igro v obrambi. Medtem, ko je bila večina ekipe dokaj agresivna v pick and roll obrambi, je Omić uspel igrati bolj tradicionalno NBA pokrivanje, se potegnil nekoliko nazaj in preprečeval prodore. Večino časa je svoje delo opravljal zelo dobro, umirjal je napad, se vračal v obrambo in tako preprečeval lahke proti napade in si pridobival ugoden položaj za skok. V napadu je pokazal nekaj pozitivnih prebliskov kjer je dobro zaključeval iz rolingov.

Torej še kratka analiza tekme z Litvo, nato pa nekaj besed o izločilnih krogih. Tekma z Litvo je bila definitivno najbolj neprimeren trenutek za mrk pri metu za tri točke. Po tem, ko je bila njihova učinkovitosti meta za tri točke nad 40% , so proti Litvi z metom 6/25 padli na le 24%. V četrti četrtini so z kar nekaj zgrešenimi čistimi meti za tri točke zapravili priložnost, da bi svoje vodstvo še povišali. Zagotovo je neprijetno tekmo izgubiti z le dvema doseženima točkama v zadnji četrtini, še posebej če večino časa kontroliral tekmo. Slovenija je naletela na strelski post, Litva pa je to znala izkoristiti in je žogo držala v svoji posesti ter tako slovenskim košarkarjem v zaključku tekme preprečila doseganje lahkih zadetkov iz proti napadov.

Sedaj pa še nekaj besed o jutrišnji tekmi proti Dominikanski Republiki. Slovenija se bo soočila s Franciscom Garcio, ki sem ga nekoč treniral pri Sacramento Kingsih. Francisco je odličen strelec, kar je na tem turnirju že dokazal. Za Slovenijo bo zelo pomembno, da mu preprečijo mete za tri točke in so nanj pozorni pri vsaki akciji. Če ima Cisco svoj dan, lahko zadane praktično vse in kadar je vroč, ga je zelo težko pokrivati. Pričakujem, da ga bo Goran dobro pokrival in bo s svojo fizično močjo predstavljal obrambo, kakršne na tem turnirju še ni bil deležen. Dominikanska Republika na tem turnirju v povprečju izgubi kar 18,4 žoge na tekmo, igralci od časa do časa postanejo nepazljivi, njihovi branilci pa imajo veliko težav z agresivnim pokrivanjem. To mora Slovenija izkoristiti, saj si bo tako priigrala kar nekaj priložnosti za hitre protinapade. Edgar Sosa, njihovo prvi organizator igre je nekoliko manjši košarkar a zelo hiter. Goran bo imel v dvoboju z njim veliko prednost, ki jo mora izkoristiti za lahke prodore na obroč. Eloy Vargas je svojo najboljšo tekmo odigral proti Finski, zelo pomembno pa bo, da ga Slovenci v obrambi držijo stran od obroča in omejijo njegovo učinkovitost v raketi. Dominikanci nimajo organizatorjev igre kot jih ima Slovenija, prav tako jih ne obkrožajo tako dobri strelci. Če bo Slovenija dobro unovčila Dominikanske izgubljene žoge in onemogočila lahke koše Cisca, pričakujem da bodo nadaljevali v naslednji krog. In kod kaže, jih tam čaka povratna tekma z ZDA…počakajmo in videli bomo kako se bo izšlo. Držim pesti za polfinale Slovenija – Nova Zelandija!

Izvorna vsebina

I never thought I could have missed so much action while I was flying in the air for 12 hours!

I arrived to New Zealand at 5:30am this morning to be hit with all sorts of news. I got to see the tail end of the Slovenia Lithuania game, more on that later… then the news that Goran called out Australia on twitter! I love it! As a New Zealander I’m all for any shots slung the aussies way! Good on Goran for speaking towards basketball purity… and then I got to watch the replay of New Zealand taking down Finland to qualify for the round of 16! So Slovenia and the Kiwis onto the elimination round, it was great news.

It was a very exciting start to the tournament seeing Gogi and Zoki both have some great performances. I really hope what Zoki has shown in this tournament will get the attention of teams in the NBA. His perfect performance vs Mexico was one of the best individual games of the tournament so far. He is shooting the ball with confidence, on balance with great form. As always he has been a blur in transition, off to the races every time Slovenia gains possession of the ball, streaking down the wings for quick finishes around the rim.

It has also been fun to see Goran working his magic on the court. Vs the pressure defenses of teams like Australia he has been a one man press breaker at times, weaving through double teams to advance the ball up the floor and get the offense started. In the pick and roll a lot of teams have tried to keep him going to his right as defenses try to do in the nba… but he has done a great job of forcing his action, and getting out of the coverage. By this I mean, often he will still get to his left when they push him right… or he has been able to cut back in front of his defender to have either direction available as he attacks the basket. And what a great milestone for him to move up to being the best scorer in Slovenian National Team history, and he is only 28 years old! I guess it should not be a surprise when he is shooting 60.7% from the field for the tournament… suffice to say he is playing very efficient basketball right now.

I have also really liked what I have seen from Alen Omic until some easy missed finishes in the Lithuania game. I think he has been a good presence defensively. While the rest of the team has been pretty aggressive in their pick and roll defense approach, Omic has been able to play a more traditional NBA coverage dropping back and containing penetration. For the most part he has done a very good job of this, slowing down the ball handlers progress towards the rim and recovering back to the roll man in time to disrupt an easy finish or gain rebounding position. Offensively he has show some nice flashes in the post and finished well off the roll.

So a short analysis of the Lithuania game, and then onto sunnier pastures in the elimination round. Not a good time to go cold from the three point line Slovenia! After shooting above 40% for the tournament from three, they went 6/25 on the night at 24%. In the fourth quarter they missed several opportunities to extend the lead by missing open three point attempts. To only score 2 points in the fourth quarter is a tough way to lose, especially in a game that they had full control of. Slovenia hit a cold shooting streak, and Lithuania did a better job than other teams of protecting the ball so Slovenia was limited in their easy scoring opportunities late in the game.

Now onto the Dominican Republic game tomorrow. Slovenia will be up against Francisco Garcia, a player I used to coach when I worked with the Sacramento Kings. Francisco has scored the ball well in this tournament, he is a great shooter. It is very important that Slovenia takes away Francisco’s spot up three point attempts and stay connected to him on any screening action. If Cisco has daylight, he is liable to shoot anything, and if he gets hot he is a tough player to guard. I expect Zoran to be matched up with him and bring a level of physicality to guarding Cisco that he has not seen in this tournament. The Dominican Republic as a team has averaged 18.4 turnovers a game in the tournament. They get careless with the ball at times and their guards have trouble with ball pressure. Slovenia can take advantage of this and will have plenty of opportunities to ignite their fast break. Edgar Sosa their starting point is a smaller player but very quick. Goran has a huge advantage in this match up and should have an easy time using his body to carve out angles to finish at the rim. Eloy Vargas had his biggest games in one of their two wins in group play vs Finland. It will be important to keep him off the offensive glass, and limit his effectiveness around the basket. The Dominican does not have the type of playmakers that Slovenia has nor the great shooting to surround them. If Slovenia can capitalize on DR’s turnovers, and take away the easy looks of Cisco to stop him from getting hot I expect them to get back to their winning ways and advance to the second round. And then it looks like a rematch with the USA is in the cards… we will just have to wait and see! I’m crossing my fingers for a Slovenia vs New Zealand semifinal!