Nikola Vucevic had one of his finer all-around performances of the competition with 17 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks to lead Montenegro (3-0) to a thrilling 76-74 victory over Georgia (2-1) on Wednesday in Tbilisi. The two countries meet again in Bar, Montenegro on Sept. 17. While he wasn’t as efficient from the field (7-of-22) as he was in the first two games, Vucevic was ultra-aggressive, clutch and versatile. A sign he has been spending time this summer extending his range, Vucevic buried a pair of 3-pointers including a go-ahead trey with 1:31 remaining. Vucevic also came up with two offensive rebounds on Montenegro’s final possession that led to a game-winning putback from Nemanja Djurisic with three seconds left.
One of the most interesting games of the 3rd round of the Eurobasket 2017 qualifiers takes place in Tbilisi, between hosting team Georgia and Montenegro. Among other things, it includes a highly anticipated “battle of the giants” matchup with a taste from the NBA, between Georgia’s captain Zaza Pachulia and Montenegro star Nikola Vucevic. “It’s different when playing on the national team from our games in the NBA because players have different roles, you play alongside different players, in different systems, European basketball is different in general,” said Pachulia in an interview for FIBA. “Playing against Nikola is going to be fun, two quality big men going against each other, but at the same time this is a team sport, it’s all about the team. He is a great player, he’s proven it through these years but here we’re both going to try help our team win this game.”
All it took was 15 minutes for Nikola Vucevic to overwhelm Albania in EuroBasket qualifying action. In that time on the floor, Vucevic showed off his offensive arsenal. He shot 8-of-13 and finished with 19 points, four rebounds and four assists in Montenegro’s 113-73 victory on Saturday in Tirana. The win sets up the first of two highly-anticipated and significant matchups with Georgia, who like Montenegro is 2-0 and feature its own NBA big man, Zaza Pachulia. The two teams will meet up in Tbilisi, Georgia on Sept. 7 and then again on Sept. 17 in Bar, Montenegro.
Toko Shengelia and his wife, Salome Jugeli, are enjoying their first day of marriage Monday. The two were married Sunday in Mshteka, just north of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi in the foothills of the Caucuses Mountains. Irina Pavlova, president of ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment, represented the Nets at the wedding, which took place in the 900-year-old Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, mother church of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Both wore traditional Georgian dress. “it was incredible and very very touching!” said Pavlova, who provided photographs to NetsDaily. “I’m so glad I went!! They are totally adorable together, crazy in love.”