Andrea Bargnani and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 15 points apiece as they helped Italy and Croatia win "friendly" -exhibition-- games in preparation for Eurobasket next month. Bargnani's Italy easily beat Latvia (without Kristaps Porzingis) while Bogdanovic's Croatia beat Germany (with Dirk Nowitzki) in overtime.
Bargnani, who started on the bench, shot 5-of-8 overall and hit his only three-pointer of the night in the 82-63 blowout of Latvia in the Tbilisi tournament in the Republic of Georgia. The Italians two other NBA players, Danilo Gallinari (22) and Marco Belinelli (13) also hit double figures. Italy plays Estonia Saturday.
Bogdanovic, who was the Croatia's first option early, missed his first three shots in Zagreb, Croatia's capital, but played well in the middle quarters as Croatia made its run. He missed a shot late in regulation that would have won the game, but made two crucial free throws in the overtime. He finished 3-of-12 overall, but 1-of-7 from deep. Dario Saric, the Philly draft pick who plays in Turkey, had 18.
"We had poor starts in the first and third quarters," said Bogdanovic, post-game. "It cost us to play the last ball, to go into overtime. I think we played fair defense most of the game. Our shooting didn't serve us well, which I think is a good preparation for this phase, and I hope it will come when it's most important. We struggled, but the important thing is that we won. "
Croatia plays Germany again Sunday, this time in Germany. It was Bargnani's first "friendly" and Bogdanovic's second. Between the two teams, they will play 20 games before Eurobasket opens.