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Polish basketball players close to the European bottom.  “I don’t know what happened but it was terrible”

Polish basketball players close to the European bottom. “I don’t know what happened but it was terrible”

Polish basketball players close to the European bottom.  “I don’t know what happened but it was terrible”

Yes, there was also a fight with Estonia. Just like in Israel, where the Poles lost 61:69. Just like in Lublin, where coach Igor Milicic’s team lost 69:72 to Germany. On Friday in Tallinn, the Polish team also played for the victory until the last seconds, but they lost again – this time 71:75.

After three World Cup qualifying matches in 2023, the Poles have a 0-3 balance and are stuck in the last place in Group D. Israel, Germany and Estonia with results 2-1 are sure to advance to the second phase. And even if Poland managed to somehow slip into it, the chances of being promoted to next year’s tournament in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia look bleak.

We are close to the bottom of Europe

In less than three years, the basketball team has gone from extremes to extremes. In September 2019, the eighth place was euphorically accepted at the World Cup in China, where we faced such powers as Argentina, Spain and the USA. In February 2022, the chances of another World Cup were practically wasted after the defeat with Estonia – the 27th team of the European ranking, which played only once in the European championship in the last 20 years. And he took 20th place in them.

After all, in mid-2021, Poles were two victories from participation in the Olympics in Tokyo. Yes, the Lithuanians and Slovenes at the qualifying tournament in Kaunas were rivals from a different fairy tale for the white and reds, but despite everything – the basketball players of the then coach Mike Taylor had the right to dream about the Olympics. Eight months have passed and the team of the new coach Igor Milicic is close to the European bottom – if he does not make it from the last place in group D, he will have to play in the EuroBasket 2025 elimination.

We were supposed to watch the throws for three – the Estonians scored eight times in the break

The game in Tallinn – regardless of mathematical calculations – was perceived as a game that must be won to seriously join the world championship game. But in the first half, it was difficult for the Poles to notice any special plan, some exceptional energy. Well, maybe the very beginning was still decent – Aleksander Balcerowski was getting the ball into the basket in the first minutes, the white and red team were doing quite well in defense.

But in the second quarter, the Estonians easily found holes in the Polish defense. The insertions of more aggressive defense on the whole pitch did not work – they neither gave steals nor introduced chaos in the game of the hosts. The pressed Estonians accelerated, created advantages, and found positions to throw. And although Milicić pointed out before the match that stopping the three rivals would be the most important in the defense, the opponents found positions and they hit the break eight times.

“I don’t know what happened but it was terrible”

After 20 minutes it was 47:36 for Estonia after a very weak Polish section. There were some irritating moments, such as three losses in a row – first Michał Sokołowski knocked out the wrong spike from behind the end line, then Michał Michalak lost her in an individual action, and then Balcerowski made a mistake. And when the Poles gave their shares for free, the Estonians scored six points in a row and started a 9: 2 spurt.

In this first half of the game, the Poles hurt many things – poor efficiency in free games (weak 4/10 throughout the match), lack of communication in defense, a lost fight for rebounds. The Estonians had as many as 10 rebounds in the attack until the break, after which they scored 10 points from the restart. Poles – none. – We did not fight, we did not want to sacrifice ourselves. I do not know what happened, but it was terrible – admitted Michał Sokołowski, the most experienced player of the national team, after the match.

These words are all the more painful if we remember the announcements from before the first meeting of Milicic as a coach. – This is supposed to be a harpagan team. And from controlled chaos, aggression and fight, a lot of good can be born – said the basketball players and the coach. Nothing has been born yet.

Jakub Garbacz – a candidate for a hero

At the beginning of the second half it was 50:36 for the hosts and then the white and red players stopped running around the pitch like children in the fog. They improved their defense and took the Estonians from good positions for long-range shots, and they started hitting themselves. A typical impulse was given by the quarterback Jakub Schenk, finally the reserve center player Dominik Olejniczak successfully fought under the baskets, and Jakub Garbacz woke up.

If the Poles in Tallinn won, the transformation of the 27-year-old shooter would be the leitmotif of their great return. In February’s games against Israel and Germany, Garbacz had 0/12 and 3/10 for three, respectively. At that point in the season he was in crisis, it was obvious that he was upset. That he tries to play as usual, but lacks rhythm and efficiency. In Tallinn he got her back – he had 5/8 for three, scored 15 points, the most in the team. And he could become a hero – in the last seconds, at 71:73, he was throwing three for victory. He was throwing after a well-planned action, albeit from a difficult position – but the throw was too light.

The revolution has led astray for now

Breaking down the tip into prime factors is obviously justified, you need to know what went wrong, you have to draw conclusions. But the bigger picture is simply that Igor Milicic’s national team cannot win matches. She does not impose her style of play, she easily loses her distance, and the ambitious chase takes her so much strength that she lacks concentration in the even ending. After all, this is the scenario of all the elimination matches.

Yes, they lacked the best Polish basketball player Mateusz Ponitka, who was ruled out by a clash of dates with Euroleague matches. Sure, Tomasz Gielo left a positive test for coronavirus outside the line-up. And of course it is known that AJ Slaughter, called by Milicic to save him, became a father a few days ago and it was finally decided that he would not join the team. Milicić himself did not decide to appoint Damian Kulig or Adam Waczyński.

But most teams have problems with completing the strongest squad. The Germans defeated us without their best basketball players from the NBA and the Euroleague, covid excluded a few Estonians from the game, standing out from previous games by Kristian Kullamae. In this chaotic moment of rivalry between the defective teams, we are the weakest for now. The revolution proposed by Milicić by resigning from basketball players in his thirties looked interesting in terms of boisterous declarations, but today you can see that – for now – it is leading us astray.

Source: Sport

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