Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece Beat Czech Republic but Suffer FIBA World Cup KO

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2019

Martin Kriz (bottom) of the Czech Republic and Greece's Giannis Antetokounmpo fight for the ball during the Basketball World Cup Group K second round game between Czech Republic and Greece in Shenzhen on September 9, 2019. (Photo by Nicolas ASFOURI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
NICOLAS ASFOURI/Getty Images

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece were knocked out of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup on Monday despite beating Czech Republic 84-77 at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China.

Greece needed to win by at least 12 points to have a chance of qualifying out of Group K and into the quarter-finals.

As a result of their seven-point win, though, they now go home, while the Czechs will be in the last eight if Brazil lose to the United States later on Monday.

NBA MVP Antetokounmpo did not have his best game as he was fouled out in the fourth quarter after scoring 12 points.

Nick Calathes was the star man for Greece with 27 points:

But Hellas left themselves with too much to do in the end as the Czechs consistently made clutch shots when it mattered.

Greece started as they needed to, opening up an early 14-5 lead after contributions from Antetokounmpo, Calathes and Kostas Sloukas.

The Czechs cut the deficit to six as they ended the first quarter 18-12 behind, and they had completely turned the tables by half-time when they led 33-32, in no small part due to Jaromir Bohacik's 10 points.

Greece's task looked monumental, especially when they went further behind early in the third quarter.

But a superb end to the third quarter saw them tighten up defensively, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo's 11 points helped them to a 57-49 lead after 30 minutes:

In the fourth quarter, Greece hit the magic 12-point lead at 65-53 and, with six minutes, 34 seconds remaining, Giannis returned to the court, only to be fouled out just over a minute later.

The Czechs got back inside the losing margin that would keep them alive in the tournament, and with just over two minutes left on the clock, a brilliant three-pointer from Bohacik cut Greece's lead to just two at 70-68.

Hellas needed a miracle finish from there, but they simply could not prevent Czech Republic continuing to score and could only finish with a seven-point lead.

Greece will rue their wastefulness from the free-throw line, where they took only 10 of 18 points, while the Czechs were 21 from 22.

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