Led by outstanding Goran Dragic, Slovenia beats Serbia’s favourite in the final of the World Basketball Championship.The small country wins the title unbeaten for the first time.
Goran Dragic has led Slovenia to the first European championship title in basketball.The team around Miami Heat’s brilliant NBA pro Miami Heat beat Serbia in the final of Istanbul after a strong performance 93:85 (56:47) and finished a perfectly running tournament with gold.
The Serbs, on the other hand, experienced the next disappointment with coach Sasa Djordjevic, coach of the Bayern Munich Bundesliga team, and will have to settle for silver for the third time in a short time after the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The Slovenians, who had never won medals at a European championship before, crowned their strong tournament performance with a title win and remained without defeat.Dragic (Miami Heat/35 points) was the best thrower in the preliminary round in Helsinki/Finland.Among the Serbs, the top scorer was Bogdan Bogdanovic (Sacramento Kings/22).
In the Sinan Erdem Arena an open game developed in front of 12,095 spectators.Serbia dominated the rebounds, but made too little of it. the Slovenians found their rhythm after some minor problems, Klemen Prepelic certainly hit the three-way line and provided a two-digit lead (41:30/16).minute).
The Serbs, in which Vladimir Lucic, Milan Mavcan and Stefan Jovic, who had been beaten by the former German champions Munich, played three players, were increasingly unable to find any remedies against the fast Slovenes.Especially Dragic (Miami Heat) turned up in the second quarter and stood at 26 points for the break.
Slovenia had a firm grip on the game even after returning from the cabin.But when young star Luka Doncic (18) limped injured in the middle of the third quarter and Dragic got a break, there was a break in the match of the hosts from 2013.Serbia cut back to two points (61:63/28.).
In the final section the Slovenians started to shake, too often it was about Dragic.Exhausted Point Guard went into the bank and saw his teammate Alexey Nikolic make two free throws at 90:82 35 seconds from the end.Bogdanovic passed a threesome on the other side – the decision.
Previously, the dethroned defending champion Spain had comforted himself with bronze.In the match for third place, the tournament’s favourite prevailed after a long time of superior performances with 93:85 (45:28) against record winner Russia (14 titles).
The best throwers at the three-time European Champion Spain, who had eliminated Germany in the quarter-finals (82:72), but was clearly defeated by Slovenia (72:92), were the brothers Pau (26 points) and Marc Gasol (25).The Spaniards have won a medal at every European Championship since 2007.There were three gold medals (2009,2011,2015), one silver (2007) and two bronze medals (2013,2017).