Eurobasket 2005        ME v basketbale mužů 2005 

Additional Qualification SCHEDULE    incl. Novi Sad 11.-13.9.2005


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NBA stars to highlight Euro games
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Dror Hagag, right, of Israel, challenges for the ball with Czech Republic’s Pavel Milos during their additional qualifying tournament for the European Basketball Championship on Monday. (AP PHOTO)

September 16, 2005

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) — The NBA will be well represented at the European Basketball Championship, led by the host nation with five players.

More than 20 NBA players will be part of the 16-nation, 10-day tournament that opens today in four cities.

Serbia-Montenegro is loaded with talent even though its best player, Sacramento Kings All-Star Peja Stojakovic, decided not to play. Coach Zeljko Obradovic even cut Sasa Pavlovic of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Still, the reigning world champion boasts Marko Jaric of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Nenad Krstic of the New Jersey Nets, Zeljko Rebraca of the Los Angeles Clippers, Vladimir Radmanovic of the Seattle SuperSonics and Darko Milicic of the Detroit Pistons.

The hosts, who finished 11th at the Athens Olympics, have a tough opening game against Spain in Novi Sad. Spain has won its last five games against the Serbs, but will be without Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies.

“Everyone says it’s bad news to play them first, and it probably is,” said Spain’s big man, Jorge Garbajosa. “But if we are ambitious — and we are — we have to get over it and think that the next time we play them it will be in the final.”

Serbia-Montenegro and Spain appear the favorites in Group D, which includes Latvia and Israel, a late qualifier.

“There are 10 teams that can win the title this time,” Obradovic said. “But the gold medal is the only one that interests me. I don’t think our fans would be pleased with anything else. The game against Spain is the most important one, and if we beat them I don’t think we’ll have a lot of problems.”

In Group A, Dallas Mavericks All-Star Dirk Nowitzki will try to lead Germany past Italy and Russia, which is paced by Utah Jazz All-Star Andrei Kirilineko.

“You should always set high goals, so we are seeking a medal,” Nowitzki said.

Italy was third at the previous championship in Sweden two years ago and took the silver medal at the Olympics last year, although it has no NBA players.

“We are quite tired,” said Italy coach Carlo Recalcati. “We are probably the oldest team going into the EuroBasket tournament, and we haven’t quite adapted to this situation.”

Russia also has young Portland forwards Viktor Khryapa and Sergei Monya, plus a trio of players from CSKA Moscow, one of the top clubs in Europe.

In Group B in Podgorica, defending champion Lithuania is without an NBA player. Missing for various reasons are Sarunas Jasikevicius, who has signed with the Indiana Pacers, free agent Darius Songalia, Arvydas Macijauskas of New Orleans, and the retired Salius Stombergas and Eurelijus Zukauskas.

“The most dangerous teams for us all have players from the NBA,” forward Mindaugus Zukauskas said.

Also in Group B are Croatia, Bulgaria and Turkey, which has four players with NBA experience — Hedo Turkoglu, Mehmet Okur, Ibrahim Kutlay and Mirsad Turkcan.

In Group C in Belgrade, Tony Parker of the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs leads France, which also has Golden State guard Mickael Pietrus.

Slovenia is without Parker’s teammate, Beno Udrih, who is injured. Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece, which went 8-0 in warmup games, complete the group

Czech Republic EuroBasket Hopes Over  12.09.2005  FIBA EUROPE

Czech Republic suffered their second consecutive defeat of the EuroBasket 2005 Additional Qualifying Tournament in Novi Sad. After dropping their opening game to Hungary, they lost another tight contest on Monday night to Israel. The loss means that Czech Republic can no longer qualify for EuroBasket, while Hungary and Israel will play for the last spot on Tuesday night.

Czech Republic certainly had their chances and were the best side for most of the first half. They led 26-21 after 10 minutes and managed to turn that lead into a 40-25 advantage after five minutes of the second quarter. But Israel rallied, closing the half with an 18-5 run which saw the come back to within 3 points, 45-42 at halftime. Czech Republic suffered a blow just before the break when Lubos Barton picked up an injury which forced him to remain on the bench for the rest of the game. Despite the loss of Barton, Czech Republic kept their noses in front, that is until the final 3 minutes.

Dror Hagag proved to be the key finisher for Israel down the stretch. The diminuitive guard scored 9 of his 15 points in the 4th period and it was his 3-point shot with just over 3 minutes to go which saw Israel trail by just one point, 73-72. Israel then scored 9 unanswered points to take a commanding 73-81 lead and with 23 seconds left on the clock, Czech Republic were out of time. Tal Burstein led 5 Israel players in double figures with 16 points.

40 Minutes Away    Uri Savir ,09/12/2005
Israel overcame an early 17-point deficit despite a terrible free throw shooting night and with 9 late points by Hajaj defeated the Czech Republic 83-78. Tonight against Hungary, it's all or nothing. It didn't go easy at all. Tapiro has had another poor evening, Burstein looked like Shaque from the line (6 for 14!) and the Czech ran to an early 17-point lead. But Israel under coach Sherf have a great spirit, which helped them to win and get within 40 minutes from the European Championships.  Burton was in a great zone, scoring 13 first quarter points, as only Green answers with 10 of his own. The Czech led 26-21 after one quarter, but Starosta was unstoppable in the paint, and 8 unanswerred points made it a 34-21 lead, when Welsch picked up hsi 3rd personal foul. Israel finished 5 minutes with only one field goal, and the margin was as high as 43-26, when Burstein started the run with a three-pointer and an assist to Shason's 3-point play, quickly followed by another trey. Markovich and Kozikaro locked the hoop and threw away the key, Shason converted and Burstein closed the 16-0 run just like it started with as he connected from outside.

The Czech finished the half with a basket and a 45-42 lead, but Israel didn't stop and scored another 7 straight points to complete a 23-2 amazing run to put them 4 points ahead. Welsch picked up another foul, but Burstein made only 3 of 10 foul shots, and Israel was still trailing after 30 minutes, 58-60. Welsch, with 6 clutch points, made it a 4-point game, but Hajaj took the call. It started with a huge three-pointer, continued with a great assist to Green and another bank shot made it 76-73. Welsch couldn't excute and Israel scored 7 of 8 foul shots down the stretch, including 4 by the MVP Hajaj, to ice the win, 83-78.

Burstein had 16 (7 rebs, 4 as), Hajaj 15 (6-6 FT, 4 st), Green 14, Shason 11, Tapiro 8, Kozikaro 5, Markovich 2 and Watson 1. Milos tallied 15 in a losing cause, Burton added 13 (all in the first quarter), Welsch and Benda 10 each and Whitfield 9.

Hungary Hold Off Czech Republic    
FIBA Europe  11 September 2005

Hungary opened the EuroBasket 2005 additional qualifying tournament with a win over Czech Republic on Sunday night in Novi Sad.
Both sides last qualified for EuroBasket in 1999, but it is Hungary who are in pole position for 2005 thanks to their 84-79 win.

Hungary in fact dominated the game, and after Kornel David hit a jump shot to give them a 2-0 lead, they did not trail for the rest of the contest. However, although the Hungarians kept their noses in front, Czech Republic remained withing striking distance and made several serious runs down the stretch which nearly saw them steal the game. Hungary led by as many as 11 points in the first half, only for Czech Republic to close to within one point (31-30) midway through the second period. But as soon as Czech Republic threatened, Hungary found a way to re-establish the lead. The pattern repeated itself in the third quarter, but Hungary looked to have the game safe early in the fourth, when they led 70-58. But Czech Republic refused to go down without a fight and when Jiri Welsch hit a 3-pointer with 90 seconds to go, they trailed 78-75.

The game was poised for a furious finish but when Marton Bader intercepted a Maurice Whitfield pass with 36 seconds on the clock and his side leading 81-77, the game looked to be over. But Czech Republic had a couple of big plays left in them, and when Petr Benda blocked Bader's shot, Czech star Jiri Welsch nailed a jump shot to bring his side to within 2 (81-79). 6 seconds remained on the game clock after Welsch's shot, and it proved to be too little time for Czech Republic. They fouled Istvan Nemeth who made a pair from the line and when Whitfield missed a three and Lubos Barton the follow, they were forced to foul again and Czech Republic closed the game from the free throw line. Bader, a 25 year center, had a strong game off the bench for Hungary as he talled 21 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. Welsch led Czech Republic with 16, who will face Israel on Monday night.

Babkov Announces Final Roster     09 September 2005 FIBA Europe
Russia coach Sergey Babkov has named his 12-man roster for the EuroBasket which gets underway in Serbia & Montenegro next week. Having used a total of 13 players during recent friendly matches, including the Federation Cup against reigning EuroBasket champions Lithuania, Babkov decided to drop CSKA Moscow forward Vladimir Dyachok from his final list. "We have a strong rivalry for the position of number three but Dyachok can't play as number four," Babkov explained. "To build confidence he should start training with CSKA as soon as possible."

Russia finished eighth at the last EuroBasket in Sweden two years ago, and Babkov admits he can not expect miracles from his inexperienced squad this time either. He added: "The youth of our team will be a strong plus for the national team of Russia. "But these players have gathered for the first time together. It's difficult to count on mutual understanding of players in every situation at the moment." Russia will open their campaign against Ukraine in Vrsac next Friday.

The squad is: Andrey Ivanov (Dynamo Sankt-Petersburg), Zakhar Pashutin (CSKA Moscow), Anton Ponkrashov (Spartak Sankt-Petersburg), Petr Samoylenko (UNICS Kazan), Jon-Robert Holden (CSKA Moscow), Vitaly Fridzon (BC Khimki Moscow Region), Andrey Kirilenko (Utah Jazz), Nikita Morgunov (Dynamo Moscow Region), Victor Khryapa, Sergey Monya (both Portland Trail Blazers), Fedor Likholitov (Dynamo Moscow), Aleksey Savrasenko (CSKA Moscow).

Still Perfect
            Shlomi Peri   01/09/2005
In a meaningless game in Groningen, Israel defeated Holland 82-78 and kept their perfect record before the tournament in Novisad. Israel finish the first additional qualifying tournament atop of group B with 100% record, after winning tonight in Groningen, 82-78. The draw for the games in Novisad, on Septmber 11-13, will take place on Monday in Izmir, Turkey.

Without any pressure, Israel led almost all game long, as Holland fall to a hole and then slowly climb there way to a tie, over and again. After 15-14 in the first quarter, Israel ran 8-2 behind Afik Nissim's good first half (10 points). The local side came back, but 8 straight points gave Israel the intermission lead, 40-37.  Like the game against Belgium, Israel's best period was the third. Tal Burstein, who had just 3 points before the half (Exactly like in Leuven), exploded after the break and led a big run which set the margin at its highest with 15 points. By the end of the quarter, the Blue-White squad led 65-52.  That was also the moment when Israel stopped playing. The Dutch ran 25-11 to take a 77-76 lead with a minute to go, but Shelef, Nissim and Hajaj each went to the line and calmly iced the win with 2 good foul shots, 82-78 in the end.

Tal Burstein led with 18 points (15 in the second half), Shelef and Nissim added 12 each, Hajaj 10, Green 8, Tapiro and Mizrachi 5 each, Watson and Shason 4 each, Peleg and Kozikaro 2 each, Markovich didn't score. Akerboom jr. had 16 in a losing cause, Elson added 13, but just 2 of them after the break.

In other games, the Czech Republic also secured a perfect record with a 69-64 win in Poland. Hungary lost to Sweden, 73-67 and finished with a 3-1 record.

Czech Team Moves Step Closer To EuroBasket
 FIBA Europe 02 September 2005

The Czech Republic advanced to the final stage of additional qualifying for the EuroBasket 2005 following Thursday's win against Poland. The Czechs already had a 3-0 record in Group A and sealed their passage to the additional qualifying tournament in Serbia & Montenegro, from September 11-13, with a 69-64 defeat of the hosts in Wloclawek.

Lubos Barton was the catalyst of their victory, pouring in a game-high 21 points and snatching seven rebounds, while Michal Ignerski kept Poland in the fight for much of the game with an 18-point haul. Barton, the 25-year-old shooting guard who will be playing in the EuroCup this season with new club DKV Joventut, scored 16 points during the opening period, and although his team were two points ahead by the end of the quarter, Poland managed to draw level at 42-42 by half-time.

The lead changed hands a number of times in the third quarter, which Czech coach Michal Jezdik saw as a critical period in the game, before the Czechs pulled clear in the final period. "We probably decided about our win at the beginning of the second half," said Jezdik.
"We took an advantage of a couple of points and we controlled the game from that moment until the end. "I think that we won deservedly when we were better in this part of the game. "We were mentally stronger than our opponents and that was the most important thing," Jezdik added. "We could have lost by fewer than eight points but we wanted to win. We simply came to Poland to win. "We stopped an attack by the home team in the opening minutes when mostly Barton scored some very important baskets. There were around 5,000 fans in the hall so the atmosphere was great."

Jezdik refreshed his side after the 96-86 victory over Estonia on Monday and was more than happy with the men he brought in. "I made two changes in our starting line-up for this game. We started with Maurice Whitfield and Ladislav Sokolovsky instead of Petr Cudek and Pavel Milos," said Jezdik. "Sokolovsky had to stop Ignerski right from the beginning and he did it nicely. "Our centers played well when Ondrej Starosta stopped big Rafal Bigus, who scored only one basket (except from free throws)."

Drop Looms For Estonia    FIBA Europe 31 August 2005

Estonia are in danger of slipping out of Division A of the European Championship after being beaten 96-86 by the Czech Republic. Estonia, who are taking part in the additional qualification round for EuroBasket 2005, have now lost all three games. They must win Sunday's home game against Poland by more than seven points to ensure they are not among the three teams who travel to Novi Sad for the relegation tournament on 11-13 September. The winner of that tournament will stay in Division A, while the other 2 teams will be relegated.

Despite a 21-point haul by forward Martin Muursepp and a totemic performance by Kristjan Makke, Tiit Sokk's side could not live with the power and precision shooting of the Czechs, who pulled further clear at the summit of the table and kept alive their hopes of playing at EuroBasket 2005. Sokk, who had been heavily critical of his players following their 75-57 defeat to the Czech Republic last week, preferred to pour lavish praise on his opponents this time round. "The Czechs had so much confidence," he told Eesti Päevaleht. "They came to win."

Czech Republic: Welsch Relieved After Hard Fought Win    FIBA EUROPE 25 August 2005

Czech Republic forward Jiri Welsch conceded his side had been given a tough game in their 73-64 defeat of Poland which kept them on course for a place in the EuroBasket finals. Welsch did not have the best of night for the Czechs - he was 0-5 from behind the arc - but he attributed that to the Poles' determination. "Well we expected a tough game and it was. Poland proved to be a good team with big guys," he said. "They played very physical basketball and we had problems with it throughout the whole game. "We missed some good scoring opportunities and on defence we let them to score too many easy baskets from fast breaks."

Michal Ignerski downed a three-pointer to put Poland ahead in the opening minute, but the Czechs soon overhauled that to fly into a nine-point lead. They ended the first quarter 19-17 to the good after Poland rallied. The visitors then briefly got their noses ahead again by scoring the first five points of the second period, only to provoke a second Czech onslaught of nine points without answer. Despite suffering from poor shooting from three-point range the Czechs led 38-34 at the half-time interval.

Game MVP Lubos Barton led the second-half charge with the opening four points, and Welsch then sunk a 27th-minute three-pointer to put the hosts 50-43 up. Poland rallied once more, and the game was in the balance when they got it to 55-52 with eight minutes remaining, but the Czechs moved through the gears once again and Barton's three-pointer four minutes from time had them 65-58 up. Welsh and Maurice Whitfield then tallied to put the game beyond doubt in the final moments.

Poland coach Matic Veselin was pleased with his side's efforts despite the loss. He said: "I think it was a good match.  "We knew that the Czech side was the favourite and we wanted to stay close until the end and then try to make a surprise. "We had a chance to win but we made many mistakes in the last five minutes, which I think was the reason for our defeat. "Now we will focus on the next game which is the most important for us now. "We will analyse our mistakes and try to be much better in the next game."  The Czechs will now head to a training camp in Opava, where they will meet Estonia for another qualification match on Thursday.

Czechs Move Closer to EuroBasket Spot     FIBA EUROPE 24 August 2005

The Czech Republic remain on course to reach EuroBasket 2005 after beating Poland 73-64 in the additional qualifying round. 6,400 spectators turned up in the Sazka Arena in Prague to watch the game, a record crowd for a basketball match in the Czech Republic.
The arena, which will host the 2006 Euroleague Final Four, is recognised as one of the best in Europe. "It was pleasure for us to play in such a wonderful arena and I hope that we will see much more basketball games here in the future," said Czech Republic coach Michal Jezdik after the game.

It was a convincing win for the Czechs who led for almost the entire contest. Michal Ignerski downed a three-pointer to put Poland ahead in the opening minute, but the Czechs soon overhauled that to fly into a nine-point lead. They ended the first quarter 19-17 to the good after Poland rallied. The visitors then briefly got their noses ahead again by scoring the first five points of the second period, only to provoke a second Czech onslaught of nine points without answer. Despite suffering from poor shooting from behind the arc - Maurice Whitfield was 0-2 and Jiri Welsch 0-5 - the Czechs led 38-34 at the half-time interval.

Lubos Barton led the second-half charge with the opening four points, and Welsch then sunk a 27th-minute three-pointer to put the hosts 50-43 up. Poland rallied once more, and the game was in the balance when they got it to 55-52 with eight minutes remaining, but the Czechs moved through the gears once again and Barton's three-pointer four minutes from time had them 65-58 up. Welsh and Whitfield then tallied to put the game beyond doubt in the final moments.

Despite the win, Jezdik was well aware that it was not a vintage performance from his side. "We knew about two main strenghts of the Poland side: transition game and rebounding. We tried to eliminate them however we were not successful in it during the whole game. We will take advantage of our mistakes before the next game," he said. The Czechs will now head to a training camp in Opava, where they will meet Estonia for another qualification match on Thursday.

Estonia: Sokk Unhappy With Defeat     FIBA EUROPE 22 August 2005

Estonia coach Tiit Sokk was heavily critical of his players after watching them slump to a 75-57 defeat against the Czech Republic in their opening European Championship qualifier. Sokk's side failed to make the most of their home advantage and slumped to a convincing loss despite an 18-point haul from forward Martin Muursepp. The win saw the Czechs move straight to the top of Group A and put them in a strong position to qualify for EuroBasket 2005.

"Some players forgot their role completely and just kept counting on two players," Sokk told SL Ohtuleht. "There was not enough co-operation. I also expected more from Tanel Tein. "I guess this is the current form we have. We started off well, but players were not ready to put up with the tense game for the whole 40 minutes. "It will be even more difficult when we meet our next opponents away." Muursepp, meanwhile, echoed the sentiments of his coach and was frustrated to see his team-mates fail to build on a positive start to the match.

"We played a decent game for 18 minutes," he said. "After that we started losing the ball and became sloppy. "We could not stick to our combinations and passed the ball around too much." Guard Tein accepts that he was well short of his best. Tein spent 39 minutes on the court - longer than any of his team-mates - but scored just five points while collecting only three defensive rebounds. "I agree, I should have tried harder," he said. "Honestly, I am not in very good form right now. I tried, but I just could not last."

Czechs Earn Qualifying Win       FIBA Europe 20 August 2005

The Czech Republic men’s team started their additional qualification for the 2005 EuroBasket with a 75-57 away win over Estonia.

Coach Michal Jezdik was delighted the Czechs got their campaign off to a winning start. “The first step is always very important and I am happy that we have done it in a game against a strong opponent,” Jezdik said. “We played well in defence in the second half when Estonia only scored 18 points.” The Czechs play their next qualification game against Poland in Prague on Tuesday.           


England finished the Torneio de Lisboa with a second defeat in their third and final game at the Benfica Stadium, going down 87-78 to tournament  favourites the Czech Republic. For the second successive game, guard Julius Joseph led the England effort with 22 points, backed up by 13 points from Michael Martin and 12 from Newcastle's Andrew Sullivan. For the first time in the tournament England made a good start, with Joseph and Germayne Forbes hitting early three-pointers and Martin scoring seven points inside to establish a 12-6 lead in a high-scoring first quarter that England edged 25-23.

In the second quarter, the Milwaukee Bucks' Jiri Welsch, the only NBA player in the tournament, sparked an 11-0 run that brought the Czechs their first meaningful lead of the night, 36-29. Welsch scored 16 first-half points but found the attentions of Milton Keynes' Dru Spinks difficult to escape from in the third quarter, when he was held to just two points and was spoken to by the referee as his duel with Spinks became increasingly physical. While Welsch was going to work, England's three-point shooting, a source of inspiration in the first-night win over Portugal, dried up completely.

Trailing 42-35 at half-time, England slipped to 11 points down in the third quarter as Pavel Milos hit two three-pointers for the Czechs. When Sheffield guard Iain McKinney splashed a three in the first minute of the fourth quarter to break England's drought, it sparked a 9-1 run that brought England to within two points, only for their opponents to pull away again with two more threes from Milos and another from Jan Pavlik.

With 39 seconds remaining, Joseph was fouled in the act of shooting a three by Welsch and added the extra point to leave England trailing 76-81. But any hope of escape was swiftly closed by four free throws by Maurice Whitfield that gave the Czechs their second win of the tournament and hope of lifting the trophy.

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