Topfavorite Serbia NBA superstar Nikola Jokic was completely surprisingly eliminated in the round of 16 at the European Basketball Championship in Berlin. Despite 32 points and 13 rebounds, the 2017 European Championship runner-up was beaten by center Jokic Italy 86:94 (51:45). In the preliminary round, Serbia had lined up five sovereign victories and thus underpinned its status as the biggest contender for gold.
The of Svetislav Pesic trained Serbs were considered deep and varied. Added to this was the big plus Jokic, who was voted the NBA's most valuable player last season. But in the second half, nothing at all wanted to work against the Italians, who had finished fourth in their preliminary round group. Marco Spissu (22 points) and former Bamberg-based Nicolo Melli (21) helped the underdog win.
Finland, led by the outstanding Lauri Markkanen, had previously reached the quarterfinals of the European Championship for the first time in 55 years. The NBA professional from the Cleveland Cavaliers scored 43 points for his team in the surprising 94:86 of the Finns in the round of 16 against Croatia on Sunday in Berlin. Never before had a Finn scored more points in an international match. Markkanen and Co. are now dealing with Spain on Tuesday (5:15 p.m. at MagentaSport).
Ukraine, on the other hand, missed the leap into the quarterfinals. The Ukrainians had to admit defeat to Poland in the round of 16 with 86:94. Point Guard AJ Slaughter with 24 points guaranteed victory for the Poles. The Poles will now meet defending champion Slovenia with NBA star Luka Doncic on Wednesday (8.30 p.m. at MagentaSport).