MILAN—Giannis Antetokounmpo simply took over with the game on the line.
And as usual, he did it on both ends of the floor.
Antetokounmpo scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Tyler Dorsey also finished with 27 points and Greece held off Croatia, 89-85, in the opening Group C game for both teams at the EuroBasket tournament on Friday.
“Giannis, he did his job,” Croatia coach Damir Mulaomerovic said.
That he did, especially in the final moments.
Croatia had the ball, trailing 84-82, with 57 seconds left when Ivica Zubac tried to score from down low. Antetokounmpo blocked that shot, then got a dunk on the ensuing Greece possession to push his team’s lead out to four.
Jaleen Smith tried a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to get Croatia within one, but Antetokounmpo blocked that as well—then got a three-point play the other way to clinch the game with 4.9 seconds remaining.
Smith had 23 points for Croatia, which got 19 from Bojan Bogdanovic, 18 from Krunoslav Simon, 11 from Zubac and 10 from Mario Hezonja. Croatia scored the game’s first seven points, then got outscored 40-14 on the way to falling behind by 19 before trying to rally.
Dario Saric, who hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since hurting his right knee in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals for Phoenix, played for Croatia but missed all six of his shot attempts.
Dimitrios Agravanis scored 11 for Greece.
ITALY 83, ESTONIA 62
SIMONE FONTECCIO scored 19 points to lead a balanced attack, and Italy built a 19-point lead by halftime on the way to an easy opening win.
Nicolo Melli scored 17, while Achille Polonara finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds for Iraly. Nico Mannion added 12 points and Luigi Datome scored 11 for the winners.
Kerr Kriisa led all scorers with 20 points for Estonia.
UKRAINE 90, GREAT BRITAIN 61
Svi Mykhailiuk scored 17 points, Alex Len added 13 and Ukraine rolled in its EuroBasket opener.
Bogdan Bliznyuk and Illya Sydorov each scored 10 points for Ukraine, which forced 20 turnovers and turned them into 24 points. Ukraine shot 45% to Great Britain’s 33%.
Luke Nelson scored 16 for Great Britain, while Myles Hesson and Gabriel Olaseni each scored 10.
SERBIA 100, NETHERLANDS 76
AT Prague, two-time National Basketball Association (NBA) MVP Nikola Jokic scored 19 points for Serbia, while Vanja Marinkovic had 18 and Vasilije Micic finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Serbia also got 11 points from Dusan Ristic and 10 from Nikola Kalinic.
Worthy De Jong led the Netherlands with 28 points on 11 of 14 shooting. Keye van der Vuurst de Vries added 11 points.
ISRAEL 89, FINLAND 87, OT
ISRAEL rallied from an early 14-point deficit to win its opener behind a 23-point, 15-rebound effort from Deni Avdija.
Tomer Ginat scored 13 for Israel, which got 10 points apiece from Nimrod Levi and Guy Pnini, plus 10 assists from Tamir Blatt.
Lauri Markkanen had 33 points and 12 rebounds for Finland. Alexander Madsen scored 13 and Edon Maxhuni added 11.
Neither team led by more than six points over the game’s final 18 minutes.
POLAND 99, CZECH REPUBLIC 84
MATEUSZ PONITKA scored 26 points, AJ Slaughter added 23 and Poland led most of the way against the host Czechs.
Aleksander Balcerowski scored 14 points, Michal Sokolowski finished with 12 and Michal Michalak had 10 for Poland.
Jan Vesely led the Czech Republic with 17 points, while Jaromir Bohacik had 13 and Patrick Auda added 10.
Image credits: AP