Lithuanian Head Coach Jonas Kazlauskas had been complaining about his 9-0 exhibition record prior to today’s game against Greece as he knows the games at 2013 Eurobasket are not going to be so easy. However, losing 80-62 on a 16-2 run by the Greeks over the final 5 minutes wasn’t the way he wanted his team’s winning streak to end according to Rock Buračas Basketnews.lt.
“I said that losing is sometimes necessary to shake up the team, but obviously I didn’t want a defeat like this,” Kazlauskas said. “There were a lot of problems, the main one being that at 5 minutes left to be behind 5 points (64-60) and lose by 18 was disappointing.”
Kazlauskas continues to experiment with his rotation, bringing Jonas Valanciunas off the bench and using all 12 of his players. Point guard Mantas Kalnietis played 35 minutes against Greece and led Lithuania with 13 points and 6 assists. Linas Kleiza only played 21 minutes and scored 7 points after leading Lithuania with 18 against Italy and Jonas Valanciunas scored 6 points on 2-2 shooting to go with 4 rebounds in 20 minutes. However, this wasn’t the way Kazlauskas expects his team to play once 2013 Eurobasket starts next week.
“Maybe the players were soft because of the results that have been in the past,” Kazlauskas said. “I told the team that friendly meetings are just friendly meetings, and everything will depend on what we look like at the European Championship. I do not think that today was our real face.”
Greece was led by 23 points from forward Georgios Printezis. The Toronto Raptors acquired the rights to the Spurs 2007 second round draft pick Printezis for a 2008 second round pick and Toronto eventually traded his rights to Dallas in 2011. He played for Olympiacos last season.
Greece is the host country for the Acropolis Cup, so maybe the way they finished this game shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. Lithuania will face Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday.