Two New Jersey Nets players on current European Championship had solid roles but with huge number of oscillations. Krstic in Serbian team and Planinic in Croatia made 1-1 record till now, but that can not be good satisfaction for players because public in both countries expected much more.
Serbia and Montenegro was the main candidate for gold before Championship and their centers line was surely main weapon. Quintet Krstic-Rebraca-Milicic-Milojevic-Tomasevic was strong guarantee for success, but team is playing under every criteria. It is hard to say that coach is guilty for that, but something is wrong when team can not find form during whole summer.
Dejan Tomasevic is injured, so all centers will get much more chances to show what they can. Nenad Krstic played in first match against Spain like whole team - very badly. Krstic collected 5 fouls for only 11 minutes. Very strong and experienced Spanish center De Miguel was huge barrier, combined with Spanish basketball legend Garbajosa who was like a rock in defense. Krstic scored only 3 points for 11 minutes. He was shooting: for 1: 2-1, for 2: 3-1 and collected 2 (1+1) rebounds and 1 block. Serbian public expected much more from Krstic, but it was obvious once again that he needs more experience to play against Top European centers.
In second match against much weaker Israel, Serbian team once again tortured own fans. But this time Krstic was much better. Israel was close almost 30 minutes, but at the beginning of last quarter SCG made crucial 20:0 series and escaped from dangerous zone. That series was made by surprising 5 on the court: Krstic, Milicic, Jaric, Scepanovic, Rakocevic.
Darko Milicic played brilliant game without miss from the field – with 11 pts for 15 minutes (+7 rebounds + 3 blocks).
Nenad Krstic was finally "like in old days" with 13 pts, 10 rebounds (7+3), 1 steal and 2 turnovers for 26 minutes. In this match Krstic was shooting: for 1: 4-2, for 2: 7-4 and even for 3: 1-1.
Serbia will play next game against Latvia but that match will not be some huge test too.
At the other side Zoran Planinic had lot of oscillations too. Croatia won against Bulgaria after lot of dramas and surely that none expected so hard job for "Red army". Planinic was one of the best on the court with 16 pts, 4 (0+4) rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, but Planinic made 5 turnovers for 26 minutes.
He was shooting: for 1: 8-6, for 2: 6-5 and for 3: 0-0.
Planinic has huge competition inside of team for place of first playmaker. Marko Popovic is Croatian best shooter and Roko Ukic the biggest talent in this team – but Planinic marked himself as one of the leaders and his position among starting 5 is guaranteed.
In second match against current European Champions, Lithuania, Croatia was close 30 minutes. But, fantastic Lithuanian shooters simply decided a game. Ramunas Siskauskas was incredible. Gordan Giricek played defense on him during first half, but in second Planinic took that responsibility. But, Siskauskas was unstoppable in this match and Planinic couldn’t do anything.
This was very bad game for Planinic and Croatia. Zoran scored 14 pts but he was shooting terribly: for 1: 6-5, for 2: 11-3 and for 3: 3-1. He collected 3 rebounds (1+2), 1 steal and 2 turnovers for 24 minutes. Croatia needed support from their best center Nikola Vujcic who is surely among 5 bes European centers, but Vujcic was playing whole tournament on very low level.
Croatia will play today one of the crucial games against very ambitious Turkey with Okur, Turkoglu…