EuroBasket 2013: Another Great Trail Blazer Performance Spoiled
Spain lost to Greece 79-75 in the first game for both teams in the second round of EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia. And for the second-straight day, a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, this time Spain's Victor Claver, had his best game of the tournament in a loss (Nicolas Batum achieved the same inauspicious feat in France's loss to Lithiania
Here are some of the highlight's from Claver's 9-point, 11-rebound, 2-block outing against Greece.
Victor Claver checks into the game for Pablo Aguilar. Soon after, Claver does a great job defensively of stopping a fastbreak by filling the lane, thus cutting off Greece's ability to hit a cutter going to the basket.
Claver, who has struggled from the field during EuroBasket, takes and makes his first shot of the game, a three-pointer, off a pass from Sergio Llull.
Marc Gasol picks up his third personal foul and is replaced by Xavi Rey. With Gasol, undoubtably Spain's best player and post defender, out, Claver does a great job of playing help defense against Greece's larger front court.
Maybe Claver's most impressive play of the night. Victor grabs a defensive rebound, turns and throws a three-quarters court pass to Felipe San Emeterio in stride. The play is somewhat sullied by San Emeterio being blocked at the rim, but it doesn't take away from an otherwise beautifully thrown outlet pass.
Claver gets caught under a pick, resulting in an open three-pointer for Greece's Michael Bramos.
Claver dribble-drives through the lane with purpose, floating up a seemingly easy layup in front of the basket that fails to draw iron. Luckily, San Emeterio is right there to grab the rebound and the putback.
Rudy Fernandez clanks a three-pointer, but Claver flies in out of nowhere to secure the offensive rebound. Vic is fouled by Yannis Bourousis on the outback attempt, and subsequently hits both ensuing free-throws.
Kostas Kaimakoglou beats Claver on a drive to the rim. But rather than giving up on the play, Claver hustles to recover and puts himself in a position to slap the ball off the rim, something that is legal under FIBA rules, for yet another defensive rebound.
Claver receives a pass at the top of the three-point line. He throws a pump fake at Kaimakaglou, who bites on the move hard, then calmly puts the ball on the floor for the drive, forcing Kaimakaglou to foul lest he concede an open layup.
Claver corrals another offensive rebound off a Rudy Fernandez miss and tips the ball for two.
Claver cuts from the foul line extended into the lane and receives a pass from Jose Calderon. Claver collects the ball and goes up for what looks (again) like an easy layup, though his attempt once again catches nothing but air.
After coming off the bench to start the game, Claver gets the start in the second half. Vassillis Spanoulis misses a three, and Claver fights off two players for the defensive rebound.
Ricky Rubio finds Claver running the floor in transition, which he finishes with a strong take to the basket against Kostas Papanikolaou. The replay would show that Papanikolaou probably should have been called for a foul, but Claver is able to finish the play nonetheless.
Claver collects yet another offensive rebound off a Rudy Fernandez three-point attempt. But this time, Claver kicks it back out to Rudy on the perimeter for another three, which Rudy cans. By my count, all three of Claver's offensive rebounds came off of Fernandez misses.
Claver blocks a Spanoulis layup attempt.
Claver picks up his fourth personal foul going aggressively after a rebound. It's the kind of foul you don't mind your players committing, though you probably wish the referees would let the contact go.
Claver fouls out after being called for a very suspect foul on Bouroursis, and leaves the court letting the officials know his displeasure with the call. It's the kind of foul that you're not likely to be called for in the NBA if you're one away from disqualification, but that's FIBA for you. Claver finishes with 9 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks an an assist in 24 minutes. Pablo Aguilar, who started in Claver's place, plays just 8 minutes.