A slightly delayed report of the action from Friday 18 September at Eurobasket 2015.
The day started with the classification game between Latvia and Czech Republic. This was to determine 7th and 8th slots as there are a limited number of slots available for potential qualification for the Olympics.
On paper Latvia looked like the better team and I confidently predicted that they would win.
The stadium was practically empty at the start of the game and although it did fill up a bit as the game went on there were still a considerable number of empty seats. There seemed to be only small numbers of supporters of either team present so there was little in the way of atmosphere.
In the first few minutes of the game it was pretty even between the teams but the Czech Republic quickly showed themselves to be the better team and went in to the half leading 57-36.
The third period was a slow start, the first points were scored with 8.22 left on the clock and they were the result of free throws. It wasn’t a very exciting quarter but the Czech Republic did manage to increase their lead to 36 at the end of q3.
By this point most of the fans had stopped paying attention as the result was obvious and at times it really did seem that Latvia had forgotten that the aim was to win. At one point Kiss Cam was getting more attention than the game.
With a final score of Latvia 70 Czech Republic 97, the Czech Republic secured a chance to try to qualify for the Olympics.
The main event of the evening was Serbia v Lithuania in the second semi final. The stadium was much quieter than the previous evening and there were fewer people in attendance. The Lithuanian fans did their best to keep noise levels high (I think they had 5 drums). A large group had managed to arrange to be seated together and they brought massive flags.
They definitely tried hard to bring a good atmosphere but it did not compare to the night before. This may have been in part due to the lower attendance and the fact that for the most part there were no fans or either team around where I was sitting.
It was a very close game the whole way through, in to the last minute it was difficult to predict a winner.
Three point shots were not the strong point of either team, though Serbia did not stop trying. They made only 6 of the 28 attempted three point shots, while Lithuania made 2 of 14.
Watching the game it did feel that the fouling was uneven but the final total for the evening was 23 for Serbia and 25 for Lithuania, I am sure this is in part due to the number of fouls Serbia committed towards the end of the game as early in the game the fouls were mainly on Lithuania.
They also had a problem with shot selection that resulted in frequent shot clock violations. At several points in the game I thought that Serbia were going to do it but it just was not to be.
In the last two minutes
the tension increased as it really did seem that it could go either way, a theme of the semi finals. A foul, one that I cannot believe was planned, resulted in free throws for Lithuania and the game was over for Serbia.