Serbia-USA 94:89(32:7, 12:33, 27:28, 23:21)

The national team of Serbia played a great game and won against the USA in the battle for the 5th-8th place in Dongguan, at the World Cup in China 94:89. Our national team will play their last game on the cup, for the 5th place on Saturday, September 14th from 14h in Beijing against the winner from the duel between Poland- Czech Republic.

Serbia opened the game really good, and after a lead for US 2:0, with a run 11:0 (two three pointers from Bogdanovic) made Gregg Popovich react with a timeout. But, that did not help them, so Bogdan made another three pointer, Lucic scored 6 free throws because he was fouled twice on the three point shot, for great 20:5 in the 6th minute. Serbia played excellent in this period. American’s kept missing, 5th three pointer for our team was made by Micic, and then 6th by Jovic, so the lead grow to the unbelieving 26:5 2 minutes later. Mitchell stopped the run, but Micic made a three pointer again, and in the finish of the first quarter Bjelica made a three pointer too, so the score was 32:7!

Second period started with aggressive plays by US who quickly cut the lead to +20- 14:34. Opponent picked up, used couple of mistakes from our players, so after a mini run for US 12:2, in the 17th minute it was 36:26. American’s kept making three pointers all the way to the half, the shot for our team was not going anymore, so after 20 minutes of playtime Serbia had only a +4 lead, 44:40.

At the beginning of the third quarter we were exchanging baskets, Milutinov, Jokic, Bogdanovic were making their shots, but Mitchell and others had an answer to this . Our team lead was going up and down from +4 to +6 all the way to the 25th minute, when great Bogdanovic made a three pointer again, 61:51. But the opponent answered with a two pointer and 2 three pointers, for a mini run of 8:0, and cut the lead to 59:61. On to the last break our team went to rest with a 71:68 lead.

Serbia started well in the last quarter with a run of 7:0 and after a three pointer from Lucic got the +10 lead, 78:68 in the 33th minute, and after a three pointer, block by Bjelica and a dunk from Micic two minutes later it was 85:72. The USA team went on a mini run of their own 5:0, so with 4 minutes left the score was 85:77. After a layup from Bogdanovic, 2 minutes before the end the lead was +10 91:81. Barnes threatened with a three pointer, which was followed up by Walker, so when the last minute started the score was 91:87. Bogdan was fouled, he scored one free throw for 92:87 with 42 seconds left, so on the other side Harris made one free throw too, so the score was 92:88. Jokic was fouled with 20 seconds left, he was precise both times- 94:88. Mitchell missed a three pointer, Jovic fouled Turner, who brought the lead down 94:89, and it stayed that way.

Full game statistics available at:
http://www.fiba.basketball/sr/basketballworldcup/2019/game/1209/Serbia-USA#tab=boxscore

Vasilije Micic:

“I want to congratulate the opponent on a good game, congratulate to my teammates and coaching staff on an important win. We started off really good, we were motivated, we knew we wanted to come back proud after a hard loss. I am happy that we answered well and we deserved this win. Before the World Cup, a lot of people believed we deserved the finals game against the USA. With our quality we definitely deserve that, but unfortunately we did not play well against Argentina. Now they are not motivated, they had a hard loss, they had big expectations… That is normal in the work, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. They were not ready to play like we were…”

Aleksandar Djordjevic:

“Good reaction, proud. We slept in the same bed and that helped us, a lot. The way this competition is organized, it won’t help us, but we cannot do anything about it. Guys entered the court to compete, to show that we are a good team no matter the hard loss. That’s what I said to them, to show that we are together, that connection led our country to the podiums, that is what we learn and preach every day. We are a team, a group that has worked together for a long time, we knew what we had to do in every game. Sometimes it goes in one direction, sometimes in the other. We need to insist on community, both in wins and in losses. I tried to motivate them, even if there was really little happiness to show after a game like this. We started the match really good, they were not ready, they had a hard loss on their mind. But, the USA is a proud country too, they reacted in the second quarter, but in the end we found the inside game for which they could not find a solution. I am proud on defense we played… This is a good win. We showed to ourselves that we can, but we have to respect the competition all the way to the end.”

The reporters asked our head coach to comment on a statement that he said before the World Cup, when on a question what if we meet US he said “God help them”:

“I was a guest on national television. If you take out the irony from my weapon as a coach, I don’t have a lot of it left… I wanted to praise the guys, to be confident and secure. I work on that a lot, I want to be in their heads. It was a message that we are ready. I don’t think I have offended anyone. Every competitor is allowed to think for himself. Maybe I showed that. Gregg Popovich had a great comment on that and I appreciate that. We watched each other, we should have played somewhere else. We have to accept what it is, to pick up the team, great guys. A lot of bad things happened on the way to China… It is hard for everyone and we are all sorry. Every time you turn around, in the career you will remember China and the World Cup and a missed shot. It was not easy for the guys, you have to push them, to support them and show how much you believe in them”

Bogdan Bogdanovic played a great tournament…

“He is evolving unbelievably fast. Couple years in the NBA, he has became a lot better. He loves basketball the way it is, it is not just a way for him to get something, he just loves basketball. Usually a best scorer on the tournaments do not win medals. You have to have more players, sometimes less is more… But, I cannot blame Bogdan for anything. He plays with pride, and he is the leader…”