Wednesday's FIBA Eurobasket 2013 games should prove to be exciting, as teams jockey for position and try to make it into the knockout stage. There are three Group E games scheduled for Wednesday, involving squads that try to improve on their standings, while ramping up their confidence.
Tony Parker of France, shown here leading his team against Spain in 2012, is expected to come up big once again in FIBA Eurobasket 2013.
Lithuania vs. France - Link 1/ Link 2 (3:00 a.m)
The French come into this game heavily favoured to win as they steamrolled their way through Group A, leading the pack with a 4-1 record. In contrast, Lithuania just barely made it into the second round, earning a 1.015 FIBA tiebreaker quotient to play third in Group B. France has been inconsistent, though, as they lost their opening match to Germany and played just well enough to put away Ukraine. Lithuania has been spotty as well, losing their last game to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Which team will display their A-game will determine who wins. France, playing minus injured center Joakim Noah, still has a decent lineup built around NBA All-Star Tony Parker, who has been splendid in the tournament so far, and a host of other NBA veterans. Lithuania will rely on the all-around brilliance of Mantas Kalnietis and Linas Kleiza for offense and rebounding.
Ukraine is supposed to be in a rebuilding mode in 2013, but it seems that the team is not willing to wait for results. Falling only to France in Group A play, a six-point loss at that, the Ukrainians tote a 1-1 card, going into the second round of play. Latvia, on the other hand, lost to both Serbia and Lithuania and has a 0-2 record, which means that they need to sweep their remaining games and maintain a high quotient to move on to the quarterfinals. Ukraine is led by the dynamic duo of Sergii Gladyr and Eugene Jeter, who have combined for an average of 26.4 points a game, accounting for 35 per cent of the team's offense. Latvia will rely on the backcourt tandem of Kristaps Janicenoks and Dairis Bertrans, who score 14.2 and 9.4 points per game. Ukraine has leaned on its outside game a lot, sinking an average of 10.8 three-pointers this tournament, while Latvia has shot better from two-point territory, scoring on 54.3 per cent of their inside attempts.
Both Belgium and Serbia came up with 3-2 records in the first round; however, the quality of their wins had a direct effect on their second-round placings. Belgium lost to Ukraine, Israel and France while winning over Great Britain and Germany, which were eliminated. In contrast, Serbia won the games that mattered, triumphing over Bosnia and Herzegovina and Latvia and losing to Macedonia, Lithuania and Montenegro. All three losers to Serbia were eliminated, leaving Serbia with a 2-0 record at the start of the second round. Serbia runs an efficient offense, making 53.2 per cent of their two-point attempts, but have struggled from outside, sinking only 5.6 attempts per game. Belgium has been better from three-point territory, making 7.8 three-pointers, but have been less successful from inside. Even without center DJ Mbenga, Belgium is one of the top rebounding teams in the tournament, led by Axel Hervelle's 7.8 boards. Serbia has four players averaging double digits, led by veteran center Nenad Krstic with 16 points and 6.8 rebounds a game.
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