National Team of Serbia has been defeated in the fourth round in A group at the Olympic tournament in uncertain finish by the biggest favorite at the competition, national team of USA, with the score 94:91. Our players played excellent game in which 35 minutes they were completely equal to the American team, and in the last second Bogdan Bogdanovic could have obtained Serbia over- time , but unfortunately , he has missed three-point field goal.
The game did not start well for our team. In the first three minutes Serbia did not score a single point, and Americans had the advantage 9:0, and the difference in the first quarter increased up to the seventh minute , when the opponent had 18 points advantage (23:5). Nevertheless, in the finish of this period Serbia decrease this difference for 12 points by Raduljica, and at the beginning of the second quarter after the three – point field goals by Nedovic and Teodosic , our team was only eight points behind (31:23 in 13th minute).
The second period brought excellent game of the team selected by Aleksandar Djordjevic (Serbia won this quarter with 26:23). The score difference was between eight and 12 points advantage for Americans, but Serbian basketball players with their brilliant actions, assistances and three points several times delighted the audience.
Serbia continued with excellent game in the second part. Even though playful Miroslav Raduljica, owing to four fouls, had to sit on a bench in 22nd minute, our team did not give up. Points scored by Bogdanovic, then assistance for a point by Nikola Jokic, brought Serbia in 25 minute up to only minus 5 points (53:58). Nikola Jokic was also very playful , and has scored not only post up points in the racquet,. but also beyond 6.75 line, and the captain Milos Teodosic heated team mates and scored three points not allowing American to reach significant advantage. Stefan Markovic also scored points , and all other players showed extreme combativeness.
At the beginning of the last quarter with the three point goal scored by Teodosic our team reduces difference to four points (73:77). It should be said that in the last minutes our team was harmed owing to the referees’ decisions , when Irving was unjustifiably recognized points , or when obvious foul over Jokic for additional free throw at the score for three points was not declared.
However , Serbian basketball players did not give up. A minute and 18 seconds before the end of the game Teodosic scores two free throws and reduces the score to three points difference – 91:94. Our team has after that played good defense , but in the next offence Jokic was not precise, as Durant was on the opposite side. The last offence in the game was for Serbia but Bogdanovic did not score a point for over-time.
Nikola Jokic was the MVP in our team with 25 points ( two –points 13-9, three points 2-2), six rebounds and three assistance. Milos Teodosic scored 18 points and six assistances, and Miroslav Raduljica , in only 14 and half minutes of play, scored 18 points. Stefan Markovic added 12 points (3-2 for three points goal),
National team of Serbia will in the last round of A group, in the night between Sunday and Monday ( 03.30 our time) meet with China and it is necessary for us to win as to qualify for quarter finals.
– I still think and believe that we can do it better. This has been encouraging game , verification of what we have don and it will mean a lot to the boys in the other part of the competition. We have played in a way as we practice, this is our game. It is pity that Bogdanovic missed in the end, because it would rightfully . The boys can be proud on what they have done! We know what is ahead, we have to win in the game with China, that plays with tall line up , places good games. I think they are growing up and that they have shown that they have potential, so we must not withdraw.
– This was probably one of the rare defeats when you congratulate , even though, honestly, I am slightly sad since we had chance to change the result and enter the over-time . We played the whole quarter with five points advantage for Americans, we needed one ball to change the game. We can be satisfied , not only with today’s game , but with the game against Australia, partly with the game against France, and the only one thing I would change is the start, because both today and in previous two games we had bad start and that is what we should practice. The last opponent in the group is China, very unpleasant opponent, but everything except victory would be catastrophe for us. We have to enter this game very seriously and to play well. If we do so, I am sure that we will win.
– We have heated slightly after a bad start in the game and we have shown that we can play with Americans. Again one ball has resulted in our defeat. We have quality, not because these are NBA players, but because we as a team, observe only ourselves. I think that they were upset by several our actions, and it seems to me that they disparagingly enter the games with us. I cannot claim so that it turns out that I have said something wrong, but I have such impression and I think that is the reason that they were slightly upset. We are going on, we shall forget this game, but it gives us hope that we can play against any opponent.
SERBIA – USA 91:94 ( 15:27, 26:23,21:22, 29:22)
Venue : Carioca Arena . Spectators: 11,413. Referees: Seibel (Canada), Locatelli (Brazil) Pastusiak ( Poland)
SERBIA; Teodosic 18, Simonovic 3, Bogdanovic 7, Markovic 12, Kalinic 5, Nedovic 3, Bircevic, Raduljica 18, Jokic 25, Stimac , Jovic, Macvan
USA: Butler 9, Durant 15 , Jordan 13, Lowry 2, Barnes , DeRozan 11, Thompson 3, Cousins 3, George 12, Green , Anthony 12.
Full statistics of the game is available at :
Photo : FIBA