Wednesday, 9 September 2009

GB v Serbia - the live blog

2353 That's it from Warsaw. More blogs to come throughout Eurobasket and into the BBL season. Thanks for watching, and good night.

Reaction from GB
GB head coach Chris Finch: "We were missing key personnel that would make a difference but it's more than that. I compare it to becoming a better golfer. As you get closer to scratch, it comes more difficult to shave those last few strokes off your game. It's about the little things we have to do, and off the floor, as professionals."

Kieron Achara. “We never came to play and we looked flat at times. We got off to a good start but there were too many mistakes." 

Serbian coach Duzan Ivkovic: "Credit to Britain. They played very hard and they will learn from this."

FINAL: Great Britain 59 (Reinking 21) Serbia 77 (Tepic / Kristic 17) . The dream is over with an 0-3 record and no real complaints for Finchy's men. And it was a lacklustre exit in the end tonight. Final Standings (top three qualify) 1. Slovenia, 2. Spain, 3. Serbia, 4. Great Britain

1:24 GB 59 Serbia 73. They couldn't. It's not going Britain's way and the end is nigh. We're calling for a cameo appearance from Dan Clark. Nick George a DNP, presumed injured.

Group D is done. Turkey 87 Poland 69, Lithuania 84 Bulgaria 69. Final Standings. 1. Turkey, 2. Poland, 3. Lithuania, 4. Bulgaria.

3:22 The Arch-Popa-Slamma-Jamma cuts the gap to 57-67. A 7-1 run. They couldn't. Could they?

4:50 GB 53 Serbia 66. A miracle now needed. Or a 13-0 run. Either acceptable on the Brit bench with the players increasingly frustrated at the mounting foul count. They're offering a free bus ride to Lodz for the media in the morning at 10am. Seats going spare as things stand.

7:35 GB 46-63 Serbia. Looking ominous. Someone just texted to gloat about Scotland losing to the Dutch tonight in footy. Do. I. give. a....?

End 3rd Quarter GB 44 (Reinking 19) Serbia 58 (Kristic 14). Ten minutes left to salvage a place, if not pride, for Britain. But that was an ugly third period and a dramatic turnaround required if we're all not to catch our flights home tomorrow.

6:41 GB 35 Serbia 46. The Balkan bruisers bashing inside. Time out GB.

8:09 left in the 3rd By the way, the Blog will continue throughout Eurobasket and into the new BBL season - which is now only 16 days away. Are you excited? 35-41

Pops for Betts at the start of the 3rd. No sign of Freeland.

HT GB 29 (Reinking 9) Serbia 39 (Tepic 10). The Serbs ball movement a class above. Freeland been having treatment on his back in the locker room. I need a coffee.

2:00 Kristic makes it 25-36, biggest lead so far for Serbia. GB offense mis-firing. They need to cut this deficit before the break or it could be too deep a hole.

4:01 That's a 6-0 Serb run to make it 22-31. Finchy's seen enough. Hello to the legendary, and slightly notorious, Chris Pullem. Uh-oh. Joel Freeland's back is getting treated again. Bring on the magic sponges. And if that wasn't enough I'm getting flamed by alcanastasvia Twitter. They don't like Ricky being dissed.

5:00 GB 22 Serbia 27

Elsewhere today, it stands like this. Eurobasket finals. 
Group A. Macedonia 71 Croatia 81, Israel 80 Greece 106. Final Standings. 1. Greece, 2. Croatia, 3. Macedonia, 4. Israel
Group B. Russia 64 France 69, Germany 62 Latvia 68. Final Standings. 1. France, 2. Russia, 3. Germany, 4. Latvia
Group D. Turkey 87 Poland 69, Lithuania L Bulgaria L. 

9:02 left in 2nd Consecutive stuffs from Pops and it's 16-22.

End 1st quarter GB 12 Serbia 21. Too many needless turnovers so far. A quick fix required.

2:14 GB 9 Serbia 17. Hart and Achara seeing duty now.

4:24 A 9-0 run from the Serbs puts them up 11-7. Pops and Joel check in.

6:35 in 1st quarter 7-7. Positive start from GB. Quiet in here. The Slovenes and Spanish don't half make a racket.

Starting fives
GB: Boyd, Reinking, Sullivan, Archibald, Betts
Serbia: Velickovic, Tepic, Bjelcia, Kristic, Teodosic

"Y'all ready for this?" Tweets and comments welcome for the biggest game in Great Britain's basketball history.

2108 We have a one-quarter full arena with 6 minutes until tip-off. 6 UK flags - you taking note, El Mundo?

2054 Assistant GB coach Nick Nurse. "We're feeling good." To the Notorious Chris Pullem, the answer is Tony Garbelotto hasn't been seen on TV because he's on scouting duties with Group D. 

Anonymous voice in the press box: "GB have a seriously hot team liasion."

2033 GB Update Joel Freeland and Andy Betts will have fitness tests on their back strains during the warm-up. Fingers crossed.

FINAL Spain 90 (Navarro 21), Slovenia 84 (Dragic 17) after overtime.
The Spanish, much improved but still fallible, can pack safely for the trip to Lodz for Round 2, along with the mighty Slovenes. Terrific game though.
One qualifying spot left now in Group C. It's a straightforward task for GB now. Beat Serbia and go through. Lose and go home. Forget the international football - stick with us. Tip-off now 50 minutes away (8.15 in the UK, on ESPN and via

2018 Fernandez gets an uncontested basket after, so we think, everyone in the arena believes the whistle had gone for a foul. Some idiotic moron in the stands, hang your head in shame. Spain up 87-82 with 2 mins to go.

2009 We go to OT. Green jerseys are bouncing everywhere. Dragic missed a free throw, Erazem Lorbek got the rebound. One half of the arena may collapse as the Slovenes go nuts.

2008 The place erupts - the refs are checking the replay to see if  Lorbek's last second jumper forces OT at 78-78... and...

1954 Spain 74 Slovenia 68 with 1:49 left with Ricky converting off a steal. Shame because the Slovenes were looking at pinching this.

1947 Spain up 66-63 with 4:28 left. Joel Freeland is dressed to play. And Mieszno is either a new reindeer or someone slipped him something with his pre-game milk shake.

1941 Spain lead cut to 64-61. That sporting anthem that goes 'la, la. la, la. la la la la la la' plays in the background. It uses bagpipes in the track. Suddenly Kieron Achara's head is bobbing at courtside. Coincidence? I think not.

1932 End 3rd Q: Spain 62 Slovenia 49. The Armia Manica is making some noise. Much more balanced effort from Espana.

1926 GB are in the building. But Mieszno The Mascot has finally emerged from his terminal state of depression to start dancing in time to ... you've guessed it ... Zorba The Greek. Strong suspicion going round that the original Mieszno (a reindeer, if you're not a regular listener) may have been sacked and replaced by a plumber from Hull. Spain lead 56-47 with 2 left.

1916 Spain 48 Slovenia 35 with 8:07 left in the 3rd. The world champs still not at their best but looking like GB will merely need to beat Serbia to advance. Merely.

1904 Apparently Warsaw is in the running to be 2014 European Capital of Culture. Maybe they'll spend money on that one.

1856 Half-time Spain 43 Slovenia 35. A late Rubio turnover. T-Wolves fans, you may have caught yourself a lucky break. 

1850 This place is louder than Christopher Biggins' blazer collection. The boy Smodis just got himself T'd up for bawling with the refs. I hope the official concerned hasn't booked a mini-break in Ljubliana any time soon. (Spain 39-33 Slovenia with 2:13 left)

1843 Via Twitter, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, theofficialP21NO MERCY!!!!!  (Spain 29, Slovenia 27 5:21 left on 2nd)

1834 Zorba The Greek plays again. Overhead "Get some Slovene music, Mister DJ" "Can't find any.. but is it not near Greece?"

1832 Utter racket in here. Seems the Armia Manica have woken up and realised their team needs to win this game to guarantee a second round spot. But bless the Slovene fans, the team of the tournament so far. How we'll miss them. Unless GB meet them in the final, of course. Oh yes. End 1Q: Spain 18 Slovenia 20

Bet of the night.. courtesy of BBC Radio's Chris Mitchell: Pau Gasol to be the tournament top scorer.

1815 A quick glimpse of France v Russia on the FIBA feed. And who is that with his arm around Tony Parker's shoulder but ace BBL referee Roger Harrison. Bet Eva's jealous.

1810 Just been interviewed for Polish version of News 24 on the organisation of the tournament. Boy, those Poles take it all so personally.

1805 Welcome to the Tor-WAR where it's GB v Serbia at 9.15 (8.15 UK time) in the final first phase game at Eurobasket. But first Spain against Slovenia. The mathematics: Spain win, and they're off to Lodz for Round 2. If Spain lose, it's sweaty bum time. GB would then need to beat the Serbs by at least 8 - to go through at the world champions expense.
One GB note: Andy Betts is expected to play tonight despite a back injury. Joel Freeland TBC.

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