Montenegro ends Eurobasket with win

Montenegro and Nikola Vucevic can take one piece of solace and momentum from Eurobasket. A win to end the tournament and perhaps Vucevic's best individual performance.

No, Vucevic did not start. He came off the bench in each game for Montenegro. But he did play 20 minutes in Montenegro's finale, recording eight points and six rebounds. This seems to be more in line with the production Magic fans are used to from Vucevic.

Montenegro won 83-76, getting breathing room from Tyrese Rice scoring seven straight points to open the fourth quarter and give Montenegro a 12-point lead it would not give up. It helps Montenegro leave Jesenice with a much happier taste in their mouths after two close losses and an overtime defeat characterized the tournament for a team.

Maybe the team would have played better if Nikola Pekovic had decided to play despite his uncertain contract situation (since resolved). Maybe that would not have mattered as Montenegro relied heavily on Tyrese Rice for scoring.

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It just was not a good tournament for Montenegro. Maybe a couple more random bounces and we would something differently. They had good showings against Lithuania and Serbia to close the tournament. Perhaps that should be encouragement enough to get over the disappointments earlier on.

Turkey too finished its Eurobasket with an 89-77 loss to Russia, ending its Eurobasket run with just one win. The FIBA World Championship runner up from 2010 will not qualify for the World Cup next summer.

For the second straight game, Hedo Turkoglu did not play for Turkey. That is a likely inauspicious end for Turkoglu on his team's national team.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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