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Koponen vs. Croatia

Jake checks in with another update of Petteri Koponen.

He says:  

"Team Finland played its last game late last night. This time it seemed much harder to try to make the translation make sense, but hopefully it is comprehensible. Here is some kind of translation of the recap."

Source link from (Finnish)

Finnish National team ended its practice tournament with a loss against provoked host Croatia late Tuesday night. Team Finland, who took splendid victories against Team New Zealand and Team Great Britain on past two days, was forced to play most of the game shorthanded and lost 68-103.

*The National team started its road trip over a week ago with a full dozen of players. After the games played in Czech Republic rushe Aki Ulander back to Finland to celebrate the fatherhood and Kimmo Muurinen's games ended to finger injury.

In the game against Croatia both Teemu Rannikko and Jukka Matinen were forced to stop playing. Rannikko got a bruise to his leg early in the game. Matinen had problems with his groin playing third game in three days. Team Finland's coaches didn't want to take any risks, so they were benched.

- In both cases it was just a safety measure, told the assistant coach Pekka Salminen.

Team Croatia, regular participant in the European Championships, was annoyed against Finland in the Delnice night. Team Croatia had lost in its home tournament to Team New Zealand by 77 to 79 on Monday night.

After his recent injury Marko Popovic made re-entry to Croatia's National team jersey and orchestrated croatians hot shooting game. Team Croatia led in the halftime 54-33.

- Team Croatia was really, really good today. When they hit the shots, we had to open our defence. We fought well in this game too. Team Croatia just shot us down, Salminen said.

Popovic, who was Hanno Möttölä's teammate last year in Lithuania, made 22 points for the winners.

*Koponen stands out

Team Croatia is preparing to European Championships played in Spain in September and the team's players are mainly Euroleague-players. The only exception is Damir Markota who is playing for Milwaukee Bucks.

Still the player of the game was playing for Team Finland. After Rannikko left early in the game the 19 years old Petteri Koponen took solely the responsibility of the Finnish point guarding which was under heavy pressure. Koponen was guarded by Roko-Leni Ukic who is one of best European guard defenders.

- Petsku (that's a nickname for Petteri) was commanding. He was efficient in the offense, didn't commit turnovers, made his mark in defence and showed leadership qualities. Good and balanced game, appraised Salminen

Koponen was the first player ever drafted to NBA straight from the Finnish league in June. He was the leading scorer in the game with 23 points which is his new career high in international games. Former career high was 19 points against Team Luxemburg last year. Koponen matched his former record against Team Great Britain on Monday night.

Petri Virtanen made 17 and Tuukka Kotti 12 points for the Finns.

In the other game on Tuesday Great Britain upset New Zealand. This meant that Finland was the second team in the tournament after Croatia.


Croatia - Finland 103 - 68 (54-33), International game, Delnice

Thanks again to Jake, our first official translator at Blazersedge!  This is a fantastic side-benefit of having a worldwide audience!!!

--Dave (