Dario Saric, Croatia fall at hands of Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo

Sep 2, 2022, 1:48 PM
Dario Saric #9 of Croatia in action during the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 group C match between Croatia a...
Dario Saric #9 of Croatia in action during the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 group C match between Croatia and Greece at Mediolanum Forum on September 02, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Cottini/Getty Images)
(Photo by Giuseppe Cottini/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns big man Dario Saric had a rough go Friday in his opening FIBA EuroBasket game with the Croatian national team, finishing with no points on six shots in a loss.

Saric played 21 minutes but got phased out with other matchups helping Croatia stay close to Greece. He missed all five of his attempts from three but finished with three rebounds, two assists and two turnovers with a steal.

Greece won 89-85 despite a spirited effort to make things interesting late.

With less than a minute left, Milwaukee Bucks two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo put his team ahead by four points with a reverse alley-oop slam.

Then with less than 15 seconds to play and Greece ahead 86-82, Croatia pushed the ball in transition and swung the ball to former Suns Summer League player Jaleen Smith in the left corner.

But Antetokounmpo, after denying an easy entry pass to a Croatian under the basket, sprinted to contest Smith’s shot, getting a piece as it was off the shooter’s fingertips.

Antetokounmpo sprinted the other way and scored an and-one to give his team a seven-point advantage with just four seconds left.

Greece’s star finished with 27 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. His team also got a 27-point contributed from Dallas Mavericks guard Tyler Dorsey.

Smith led the Croatian side with 23 points, while teammate and Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic — a reported trade target of the Suns — closed with 19 points, seven boards and two assists.

Saric and Croatia next play Saturday at 5:15 a.m. MST against Great Britain.

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