SERBIA has advanced to the semifinals of the 2023 FIBA World Cup on the back of a strong showing from NBA shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Bogdanovic’s Serbia took on Lithuania, who was in red-hot form coming into the clash. The Lithuanians knocked off Team USA in the upset of the tournament, entering the quarterfinals unbeaten and one of the form sides of the remaining sides.
That trend looked to continue, with Lithuania once again firing from behind the arc, while Serbia simply could not get going from downtown. However, the Serbians remained in the hunt with some strong offence inside the paint, and Lithuania simply could not get its interior defence in sync.
It was a one-point game at quarter-time, with Lithuania holding onto the slimmest of margins, but it all changed in the second term.
Serbia exploded on the back of some terrific play from Bogdnaovic, who was leading from the front as his side took an 11-point lead into the main break. The Serbians kept rolling into the second half en route to a 19-point triumph and a spot in the semifinals.
Lithuania (68) def. by Serbia (87)
Bogdan Bogdanovic – 21 points, four rebounds, three assists
Bogdanovic was the difference when the game was in the balance in the first half, putting Serbia’s offence on his back in a true display of his scoring capabilities.
As a whole, Serbia could not knock down the three ball, so driving into the paint was the method of attack, and Bogdanovic was at the forefront of this. Not intimidated by Lithuania’s presence in the paint, he drove inside and delivered layup after layup to get his game going.
Once he got his groove by scoring inside, the 31-year-old was able to stretch the floor and get going from three-point land too. Showing no hesitation, Bogdanovic pulled up in transition and showcased his range from far behind the arc.
In the end, the Serbian star shot an accurate 9/13 from the field on his way to a game-high points total. He also knocked down half of his three-point attempts to go 2/4 from behind the arc.
With the absence of arguably the best player in the world in Nikola Jokic, Bogdanovic put the team in his hands, and showed the capability to drive his team deep into the tournament, and is set to play a vital role in the semifinal later this week.