The Serbian national team will face Israel in the most important match of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers (for both teams) in the Aleksandar Nikolić Sports Hall.
After the surprising loss against Estonia, in Tallinn, with a score of 71 – 70, Aleksandar Đorđević’s squad is facing with the possibility of not to be in China this September. A «Minimal defeat» (even by 21 points, as you can check through this link) can also take the Serbian team to China, but then they will depend on the other match, so it is better to say that in order to play the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, the home team needs to win against Israel.
In the game, in Pionir, Nikola Milutinov and Vladimir Lučić will play and help the team in order to fulfil the goal, and also Vasilije Micić is in Belgrade too, but his participation is questionable due to the not that serious injury he is facing.
These three players weren’t in Estonia, but now their clubs (Olympiacos -Nikola Milutinov-, Efes -Vasilije Micić- and Bayern -Vladimir Lučić-) decided to let them play in the most important game that Serbia is facing.
All the players want to help when the help is most needed, so again, with the squad will be Miloš Teodosić, who decided to only play for Serbia till the end of the season. The Captain of the national team doesn’t want to search for a club in Europe after his ex-squad, LA Clippers (waived on February 7, 2019, just 17 days ago), let him go. So, now Đorđević will have more experienced players from the EuroLeague and one who recently play in the NBA.
It won’t be easy even though the home team will face Israel with a decent squad and in a packed Pionir, but these players learned to play in “to be or not to be” games and they showed their best in those games in the past. Against Israel, they will have a chance to show what are their best play.
In the first match up between these two squads in this FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers, Israel won in Tel Aviv with a score of 83 – 74. They played an excellent defense against Serbia and showed that they can also fight for the spot in China. Apart from these two teams, Georgia has no chance to be on the third place in the group.
In Tel Aviv, the home team defeated the guests in a packed Arena, so the crowd had an important part in their victory, and now that will be a Serbian strength in Pionir. In that match, Israel forced Serbia into 22 turnovers while giving it up just 9 times themselves, which helped them to neutralize the Serbian (37 – 22) rebounding advantage.
The Hero of that first match was Tamir Blatt who was all over the place with his 10 points and 9 assists, so, now, the players who will guard Blatt will have to be more focused and the communication in defense should be much, much better than in Tel Aviv.
Both teams have only 40 minutes in front of them to show who deserve the ticket to China.