Greece’s basketball team head to their first Olympics in 16 years


Greece will head to their first Olympics in 16 years, enjoying the standing ovation of the 11,810 fans at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus as they defeated Croatia 80-69 in the Final of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Greece 2024.

It will also mark the first time in Giannis Antetokounmpo’s career that he appears at the Olympics, adding another stellar name to an already impressive long list of previously qualified teams and players.

Greece opened up a 6-point lead at the break, and the teams traded buckets to start the third. When Croatia reduced the gap to a 4-point deficit midway through the third, Greece’s coach Vasilis Spanoulis decided to dial number 8.

Nick Calathes answered the call. He had taken care of ball distribution in the first half with 6 assists, and then detonated for 11 points within six-and-a half-minutes in the third stanza to propel Greece to a 60-50 lead.

It was soon a 14-point game, and even though Croatia tried a bit of everything in the final quarter, it was to no avail. The gap remained in double digits, giving Greece a 15-13 all-time lead against their fellow European juggernauts.

The obvious mismatch was the battle of the point guards, and Croatia tried matching up with Thomas Walkup and Nick Calathes by playing without a typical ‘one’ position, pairing up Mateo Dreznjak and Jaleen Smith.

However, Calathes was unbothered. The Greek point god controlled the pace of the game brilliantly, finishing with 14 points, 11 assists and 5 rebounds.

It’s impossible to defeat anybody these days if you’re shooting 5-of-19 from beyond the arc, and especially if those five makes are by just two players – in Croatia’s case, those two were Dario Saric and Mateo Dreznjak.

The rest of the Croatian team shot 1-of-11 from three-point range.

Greece connected on 12-of-32 of their shots from the same distance, finishing off their impressive shooting run at this tournament.

Greece will now join the Men’s Olympic Basketball Tournament Paris 2024 Group A, alongside previously qualified Australia and Canada. The fourth member of the group would be the winner of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Spain 2024.

Source: FIBA.




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