National Hoops: Blue-and-white still lacking winning touch

Israel’s preparations for next month’s EuroBasket tournament continued to falter as national team loses to Poland on Saturday.

August 18, 2013 07:12
1 minute read.
Israeli basketball national team coach Arik Shivek

Israeli basketball national team coach Arik Shivek 370. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

Israel’s preparations for next month’s EuroBasket tournament continued to falter on Saturday after the national team dropped to its third defeat in four warm-up games, losing 75-72 to Poland in Antwerp, Belgium.

Poland was the only team the blue-and-white managed to defeat in last weekend’s Trentino Cup in Italy, but Arik Shivek’s men failed to do so once more on Saturday, missing several opportunities to snatch a moral-boosting victory in the closing seconds.

Omri Casspi led Israel with 24 points, but he squandered a chance to put the blue-and-white in front when he missed a mid-range jumper with 23 seconds to play, before also failing to sink a three-pointer at the buzzer that would have sent the game to overtime.

Lior Eliyahu added 18 points for Israel, which is playing in Belgium without the injured Alex Tyus.

The national team will be hoping to bounce back versus Italy on Sunday before facing Belgium in its final game of the tournament on Monday.

"We had some excellent minutes, especially in the first two quarters,” said Shivek.

“We suffered from a significant drop on the defensive end towards the end of the third quarter and we made bad decisions in the final minutes.”

Israel will return home later this week and will face Georgia twice (August 26 and 28) in its final tune-up games before leaving for the European Championships in Slovenia.

Israel will face France, the runners-up from 2011, as well as Germany, Great Britain, Belgium and Ukraine in EuroBasket Group A, which will be played in Ljubljana.

The top three teams from each group will progress to the second round.

The national team opens its campaign against Great Britain on September 4, before facing Ukraine (September 5), France (September 6), Belgium (September 8) and Germany (September 9).

On TV: Israel vs Italy friendly (live on Sport5+ at 6:55 p.m.)

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