The second round of EuroBasket 2013 continued Saturday with three matchups, including an exciting victory for Croatia. Croatia now sits tied atop Group F with just one game remaining.
Croatia 76, Italy 68: In the first game Saturday evening (in Europe, Saturday morning stateside), Croatia beat Italy in a duel between Brooklyn Nets property Bojan Bogdanovich and new Pistons wing Luigi Datome. Bogdanovich, who nearly joined the Nets this year, led Croatia from a major deficit early to another pivotal victory.
Trailing 17-8 after one quarter, Croatia seemed to be in trouble, but they slowly turned the tables in the second quarter before exploding in the third period with a 26-9 beatdown. Italy couldn't rebound from there, despite a strong game from Datome. He'd finish with 24 points and seven rebounds. Datome didn't get much help, though. Spurs guard Marco Belinelli added just nine points on 3-of-7 shooting, leaving Pietro Aradori as the only other Italian scorer to reach double digits.
Spain 82, Finland 56: In the second game of the day, Spain crushed Finland to rebound from Thursday's stunning loss to Greece. Jose Calderon led the way with 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, to go with five assists.
The other big names for Spain weren't as impressive, but it wasn't needed. Ricky Rubio played just 24 minutes with Calderon taking the lead, hitting 2-of-7 shots for four points. Marc Gasol played 26 minutes, scored six points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked a shot.
Blazers forward Victor Claver was the only other Spaniard to score in double digits, putting up 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Petteri Koponen led Finland with 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals while Gerald Lee added 12 points and six rebounds.
Slovenia 73, Greece 65: Coming off that big win over Spain, Greece couldn't repeat the effort against Slovenia. Trailing by as much as 26, that stunning victory over the reigning European champs increasingly appears to have been a fluke.
For Slovenia, Saturday was all about the Dragic brothers. Playing about 26 minutes, Suns guard Goran Dragic recorded 28 points, five rebounds and four assists, looking very much like the most talented player on the court. His younger brother, Zoran Dragic, added 11 points and five rebounds.
With the Dragic brothers alone nearly outscoring Greece, this was really a rough effort all-around. The team shot just 28 percent from the field, needing a healthy 31-for-38 performance from the free throw line to stay afloat offensively, while getting beat on the boards, 47-39.
Even though Greece went on a huge 26-6 run over an 11-minute span in the second half, that only trimmed the losing margin. It was a nice showing of resiliency for a team on the brink, but the loss likely eliminates Greece from the tournament. A win over Croatia on Monday could potentially create a tie with Italy, but it's almost a lock that the Italians would win the tiebreaker for point differential. Through four games, Italy is plus-12 while Greece is minus-22.