Defending champion Slovenia crashed out in the last four of the European Basketball Championship after a false start and a catch.
The team around the NBA star Luka Doncic lost 87:90 (39:58) to the outsiders of Poland in Berlin. It was the first time since 2009 that the European champions had failed at the start of the year, when Russia were caught.
This means that three heavyweights are not in the semifinals after Serbia with NBA MVP Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) and Greece with Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) in Slovenia with Doncic (Dallas Mavericks).
Doncic made a mistake
The Slovenians were disappointed across the board until the break. Strong competition Poland defeated Finland (59:89) and Serbia (69:96) in the first round, leading by 23 points. Then the favorites increased and turned the game around in the third quarter (24: 6), but the Poles around their best thrower Mateusz Ponitka (26 points) fought back. Doncic (14 points) had to leave the field three minutes before the end after the fifth foul.
On Friday (17:15 PM) Poland will meet France, who eliminated Italy in the semifinals with 93:85 (77:77, 38:31) after extra time. The winner will face either Germany or world champions Spain in Sunday’s final (8:30pm/both MagentaSport).
A bitter defeat for Italy
Italy suffered a bitter defeat after a surprise defeat to gold contenders Serbia. The former Berliner Simone Fontecchio, a new contract from the NBA club Utah Jazz, is the best thrower of Italy together with Marco Spissu (21 points each), but missed his chance in the last period of regular time with two missed attempts from the free throw line and another missed throw to decide. In overtime, France rounded off top scorer Thomas Heurtel (20 points) to make it into the quarterfinals.
On Sunday, the Italians unexpectedly defeated the European vice-champion Serbia in the round of NBA MVP Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) in the round of 16 (94: 86).
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