Luis Scola wasn’t the only Suns player representing his country this summer. Although Marcin Gortat wasn’t chasing an Olympic medal in London, the Suns center was leading Poland in his country’s attempt to qualify for FIBA EuroBasket 2013.
After six games, Marcin Gortat and the men’s national basketball team of Poland are 4-2. In Poland’s first outing, Gortat and Co. were upset 64-57 by the visiting Belgians, despite 23 points from the Suns standout.
In the second game of the qualifying tournament, Poland rebounded on the road by dealing Switzerland an 80-66 loss. Gortat led Poland’s attack with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Following its first victory, Poland then proceeded to drop an 81-79 decision to Finland, falling victim to two made free throws in the closing moments. Despite the “Polish Hammer” and his 13 points and 11 rebounds, Poland fell to 1-2 for the tournament.
After that shocking defeat, Poland responded by blowing out Albania, 105-67. Poland, which led 56-33 at halftime, moved to 2-2 before facing a 3-1 Belgian team on Friday.
With Poland in need of a win, Gortat erupted for 29 points and 10 rebounds as his country posted an 87-73 victory over host Belgium. Both teams moved to 3-2, sitting behind surprise Finland, which is a perfect 5-0 in Group E play.
On Sunday, Poland dominated Switzerland, roaring to a 117-67 victory at home. Gorat and Co. jumped out to a 32-16 lead at the end of the first period and never looked back from there.
Gortat racked up 31 points and 13 rebounds to lead his national team. Poland now sits at 4-2 for the tournament. Next up for Poland is Finland on Wednesday.
September 6, 2012
Gortat Dominates Against Finland
In what can only be described as one of the Marcin Gortat’s best performances for Poland, the Suns center erupted against Finland on Wednesday in a EuroBasket 2013 qualifying round game.
The 27 points and 21 rebounds he posted helped lead his squad to a 96-91 victory and a 5-2 record thus far in the tournament.
Poland needed every ounce of his effort as Finland hung nearby to make it a close game throughout.
But it wasn’t just that Gortat played hard, it was also that he was efficient over the course of the game. His 27 points came off of 11-of-15 shooting from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line.
He collected four rebounds on the offensive end, 17 on the defensive end and also contributed with three blocked shots.
The win served as a little bit of revenge for Gortat and the Poles, as they had lost to Finland earlier in the tournament.
Poland also moved a little closer to getting out of the qualifying round successfully, and will next take on Albania on Saturday.
Teams that advance will be eligible to participate in the FIBA Basket in 2013.
September 10, 2012
Gortat Became Poland’s EuroBasket Star
Just like last season with the Phoenix Suns, Poland could count on Marcin Gortat regularly for a double-double during the qualifying round of the 2013 FIBA EuroBasket.
The center averaged 21.1 and 11.6 rebounds for his country during eight group-round games, in which he helped lead Poland to a 6-2 record. The mark was good enough to win Group E.
The next round of the tournament will be set on Tuesday, but Gortat has helped secure a place in the tournament play for the Poles – which will begin this time next year.
In the final game of qualifiers on Saturday, Poland easily handled Albania 89-59. Again, it was Gortat who paced the team, as he tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds in just 26 minutes of play.
He continued to be extremely efficient on the offensive end, shooting 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line.
Thus far, the EuroBasket has been a chance for the big man to show just how his game is continually growing. He has undoubtedly been the main man for Poland, as evidenced by his points per game average being the fourth-best in the tournament.
Gortat is also the second-best rebounder thus far in the EuroBasket.
In the game just prior to this one against Albania, Gortat proved how important he has been to Poland – as he led the team throughout a tightly-contested game with Poland by scoring 27 points and recording a tournament-best 21 rebounds.
With his time overseas now complete, it will bear watching to see how the EuroBasket experience helped the center over the course of another NBA season.