EuroBasket 2007: Impressive stats for Israeli stars

Tapiro and Halperin earn a respective place in the tourney, but the most impressive stat line came from former Maccabi Tel Aviv's Yaniv Green.

September 18, 2007 00:06
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As the dust settles in Madrid, with David Blatt and Andrei Kirilenko celebrating Russia's EuroBasket 2007 crown, and Pau Gasol and Jose Calderon are left to ponder defeat, it is an excellent time to recap the efforts of Israel's top stars on this bright stage. The respective performances of Meir Tapiro and Yotam Halperin place the guard duo among the most productive players at the tourney, but the most impressive stat line for a player in blue-and-white came from former Maccabi Tel Aviv big man Yaniv Green. Green finished the competition as the rebounding king and fourth in blocked shots with total numbers of 11.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots in six games. His overall statistics put him in the company of some of the best players around and were notably better than some of the big names at the tourney In fact, of the top seven rebounders in the competition, Green is the only one not to play in the NBA last season. Throughout the competition, Green was among the top rebounders, but became the per game leader after Kirilenko's totals dropped in the final games and because Latvia's Andris Biedrins, who plays for the Golden State Warriors, played in only three games. Green also topped the list of best overall offensive rebounding nights, hoarding eight against Croatia. His 16 overall that night were the third most of any player at the EuroBasket, bettered only by Biedrins and Kirilenko. And Green found himself among the leaders in other categories too. His 10 free throws made in the victory against Serbia were tied for fourth best in any game, but it wasn't even the best on his team. Jeron Roberts holds that distinction - his 11-of-12 from the line against Croatia was tied for second best. Only NBA MVP Dirk Nowitzki and EuroBasket MVP Kirilenko had more double-doubles than Green's two. This year Green will play outside of Israel for the first time after signing a one-year deal with Russian side CSKA Samara. With the showing he put on this month in Spain, you can be sure that plenty will be expected of him when he gets there. The trio of Maccabi forward Lior Eliyahu, Halperin and Green placed third, fifth and sixth, respectively, on the shooting percentages board. Eliyahu netted 54 percent of his shots, Halperin 49.2% and Green 49%. Eliyahu's 29 points scored in the loss to Portugal were tied for the seventh-best tally of the tournament. Halperin was also the tournament's seventh best scorer with 14 points per game. All six players ranked ahead of him will play in the NBA next season. Tapiro, who may have played at the European showcase for the final time, was second in assists per game with an average of five - trailing only former Maccabi star Sarunas Jasikevicius and his 5.6 per outing. Halperin was tied for seventh with 2.8. Tapiro placed fourth in assists per game with 1.5. The impressive numbers put forth by Israel's top players brings with it hope for the future, which begins next summer with the qualifying rounds for the 2009 tournament in Poland. The core of Halperin, Eliyahu and Green should all be back for more, giving Israel and coach Tzvika Sherf plenty to build around in the years to come.

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