Germany versus Turkey - EuroBasket Open Thread

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 07: (L-R) Joakim Noah of France defends against Enes Kanter of Turkey during the EuroBasket 2011 second round group A match between Turkey and France at Siemens Arena on September 7, 2011 in Vilnius, Lithuania. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The game starts at 8 AM Pacific time. I will probably be in and out during the first half, getting the kids ready for school. It's simple for Germany at this point - one more loss and they don't advance to the Final Eight. If, on the other hand, they manage to win their last two games, they have a very good chance of advancing (though it may come down to tie-breakers).

After opening EuroBasket with two victories, the Germans have lost three of their last four, and those three losses just happen to be the only ones that matter right now, as they stand 0-3 in Group E. But Turkey is certainly beatable - in fact, Germany won twice against the Turks during tune up matches prior to this tournament. The Germans have struggled against strong guard play in this tournament, so in that sense this is a better matchup for them than France or Serbia as Turkey's strength, like Germany's, lies mostly in the front court.

All three games today - Spain-Serbia and France-Lithuania are the others - figure to be very good. France is the only unbeaten team in the group, but playing in front of a home crowd in Vilnius in a brand new arena Lithuania will be a very difficult opponent. 

By the way, two top five picks from the 2011 draft are in action today, and they've actually been playing despite their youth. Enes Kanter, 19, is one of five players for Turkey averaging between 9 and 12 points per game (9.2 to be specific), and he's doing so in less than 19 minutes per game. He's the better scorer in Turkey's one-two punch at center, with Chicago Bull Omer Asik being the better defender. Kanter was picked third by Utah in June's draft.

More intriguing perhaps will be Jonas Valanciunas of Lithuania, also 19, whom the Raptors made the fifth pick in the draft. I didn't expect Valanciunas to play much on a deep, veteran Lithuania team this year. Indeed, he played very sparingly in the first four games, even getting a DNP against Turkey. He played 27 minutes in a meaningless game against Portugal at the end of the first round. Then came the big surprise - 18 points in 20 minutes against Serbia in the first game of Round 2. It seems like it's going to be tough to keep him off the court for Lithuania, and it may be the same for Toronto when we have NBA basketball again.

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