Pax star Giannis Antikonmo and Sandro Mamukilashvili at the 2022 European Basketball Championship

With just over a minute left in the first quarter of the Group C final of EuroBasket 2022, Greece chose to allow Giannis Antikonmo Lift the ball up high as its starting guard, even with Nick Calathis on the ground. Antetokounmpo already had 11 points, so Estonia decided to try something different. They pressed Antetokounmpo all the way to the floor twice NBA MVP brought the ball up.

It did not go well.

Antetokounmpo’s silly one-handed immersion in traffic from inside the free-throw line came as no surprise though; It was simply the latest notable game from a dominant series to date at EuroBasket 2022. In team play, Antetokounmpo averaged 29.5 points per game, the highest average per game in the tournament, as well as 9.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. He led Greece to a perfect 5-0 record in the third set.

The Milwaukee Bucks A star was unstoppable so far in the tournament. The only players able to match his production up to this point are those who rule back-to-back NBA MVPs Nikola Jokic with Serbia and Mavericks star Luka Dongic With Slovenia and even Dončić betting on Antetokounmpo who puts the biggest numbers.

But for Bucks fans, the hard part of watching Antetokounmpo dominate EuroBasket 2022 is knowing it does come with some risk, which was at least partially achieved against Estonia on Thursday. With Greece up 18 points in the middle of the third quarter, Antetokounmpo was still in the game and playing hard, driving to the basket and trying to confirm his will in the match. He made two offensive fouls in one minute of play and straightened his right ankle in the second offensive foul with 6:10 left in the third quarter.

After the match, Greek coach Dimitris Etoudis told reporters that Antetokonmo suffered a slight sprain in his right ankle while playing and that he would be fine when he moved forward, but the play was an excellent example of the balance that Pax and Antetokonmo are trying to find in his country. Participation in an international competition. Obviously, representing his home country is very important to Antetokounmpo, but it is also very important to the Bucks and he himself also wants to have a great season in the NBA.

What’s next for Greece?

The group stage of the 2022 European Basketball Championship could not have gone much better for Greece.

Greece was just one of two teams in the tournament, along with Serbia (Group D), to win all five group matches, winning those five matches at an average of 13 points per game. Greece’s first place at the top of Group C puts it in the same rank with the Czech Republic, and the fourth place in Group D. Greece and the Czech Republic will be the last match of the Group of 16 and will meet on Sunday in Berlin, Germany at 1:45 pm CST. (The game, like the rest of the tournament, will be broadcast on ESPN Plus and the FIBA ​​streaming app Courtside 1891.)

Greece’s pole position in Group C combined with the first place in Groups B and D from Slovenia and Serbia respectively keeps Doncic and Jokic apart from Greece on the other side of the arc. At first glance, a draw seems favorable as only Greece can take on one of these two teams on its way to the gold medal and you won’t need to beat either team until the finals, but that doesn’t mean it will be. easy.

If Greece wins its Round of 16 match against the Czech Republic on Sunday, it will have to face Germany in Berlin on Tuesday. While Germany has not been as dominant as some of the other teams, they will be playing in front of a raucous crowd and will be one of the best wing groups in the tournament with Dennis Schroeder (18.3 points and 6.8 assists per game) and Franz Wagner (16.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game).

They will still need to play good basketball and win another four games, but the Greeks have a relatively clear path to the EuroBasket 2022 final and the potential for the country’s third gold medal in the competition.

Mamukelashvili is doing well, but Georgia isn’t getting ahead

While Giannis and Thanassis Antetokonmo advanced in the tournament with Greece, two-way Bucks striker Sandro Mamokilashvili, despite a solid performance, was unable to lead his home country Georgia to the knockout stage of the tournament. The 23-year-old striker offered many of the same skills that piqued the Bucks’ interest when the organization selected him with the 54th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Across five Group A games, Mamokilashvili averaged 15.2 points per game and also added 11 rebounds per game, the third-highest tally in team play. Georgia was one of the four host nations of the group stage of the tournament, so Mamokilashvili played every game in front of a raucous crowd at home in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, eventually putting on a show for the home crowd in Georgia’s only win in the match. The competition.

As the featured package above shows, Mamukelashvili didn’t just round up the numbers when it didn’t matter in the Turkey win; He was the Georgia man’s favorite in the thriller double overtime’s biggest moment on September 4.

Mamokilashvili fell to second place a little over a minute ago in the fourth quarter Alperin Sengon (affiliate Houston Rockets) to link the game. With five seconds remaining, Mamukelashvili knocked out the ball again and finished with a touchdown on the edge to tie the match two seconds before the end and force overtime. In both overtime periods, he made plays and hit hard hits to lead Georgia to victory.

Mamukelashvili’s performance at EuroBasket 2022 built on the strong performance of the attacking second year in the Las Vegas Summer League. While both competitions may not have the same level of regular NBA competition, Mamokilashvili is doing well and that’s all a young player could ask for. Same questions from the junior season – is it big enough? What position could he play in the NBA? Can he defend? He remains in his second season, but all Mamukilashvili can do in the off-season is perform well when he’s on the ground. And he did that all summer.

Now, let’s see what his second year in the NBA has in store.

(Giannis Antetokounmpo Photo: Mattia Ozbot/Getty Images)