Sri Lanka (SL) took on Palestine (PLE) in a must-win game in their quest of securing a place at the FIBA Asia Cup 2021. Subscribe below, to watch the replay, know the full score together with photos and game analysis. 

Previous games in the championship

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Game in a nutshell 

It was a must-win game for the Lankan lads to ensure that they are still in-line to grab their spot in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021, line-up. Unfortunately, mighty Palestine defeated the islanders 129-74 at full time. 

It was a commendable performance by the young SL side. A more formidable performance in comparison to their previous outings. As the famous saying goes, do good things in court and you will be rewarded the same, SL did many good things and that is how they racked up 74 points at the end of the play. However, SL lacked consistency in doing good things, that is how they lost the game by, 55 points at the end of the play. 

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The strategy was cut out, play fast pace basketball, use the transition from defense to offense effectively and keep the opposition from scoring in a tight defense, just in case, if they opt for the shot, grab the rebound. All of the aforementioned factors did happen, but SL rushed through the game, they needed to be hasty, but they were too hasty.

PLE had a strong start to the game securing 06 points inside the first 40secs. Eventually, they went on to add 38 points into the quarter while SL replied with 19. From that point onwards, PLE added 31, 32 and 28 points for the respective three quarters and SL only managed, 15, 20, 20. 

The strategy worked for SL, PLE were unable to stop Pawan Gamage in the fast break up until the second half of the game, despite the fact that they were leading the game. Four players went on to score double digits for SL; Dasun Nilantha (12), Clinton Thevakumar (20), Pawan Gamage (15) & Arnold Brent (18). 

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The gameplay put SL in the backseat as they did not know when to play the fast transition when to halt the pace and opt for the set-game piece. As with defense, they did not know when to guard tight, when to let go and wait for them to commit the mistake. That is mere experience, fielding probably one of the youngest sides ever, In the end the islanders lacked international match experience to gauge the apt situation and adapt to it on the court. 

Key Stats

Sri Lanka – Yellow

Palestine – Green 

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SL’s shooting had improved immensely from their previous game. The notable downside was that they took too much time to settle into their zone to swish the ball in ease. Towards the second half of the games, the players were clicking through, but it was a tad bit late by then. 

If SL has connected their 03 points attempts in the first half just as they did in the second, the story would have concluded differently. 

The switch from opting for a mid-range to driving the lane for lay-up was not smooth as it should have been. They were on one extreme, either drive the lane or opt for the set-shot. PLE, on the other hand, shot all kinds of shots adjusted their groove to a middle point which instantly gave them the edge to pass the local lads. 

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Rebounds were tough ask. On paper, PLE were the favourites to grab the boards. The strategy from SL was to block out the two PLE centres at all times, SL did manage to do it from time-to-time, but the key focus area of consistency was lacking. 

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Key Stats

A number of things to be looked at, SL gave away too many turnovers and fouls in the first quarter. As a reward, PLE was awarded a total of 27 FTs. PLE did not give away a single FT up until mid-way second half, it was strict discipline and they maintained it perfectly. 

Points from turnovers stand at 42. That will be proof, on how too much hasty the Lankan lads were, it was not needed. That could have eased the scoreboard pressure which could have been a factor to assist them in the defense. 

Fast breakpoints, for a young SL side, with less experience, let’s commend their performance, it was tough to grab the defensive rebounds and to send the long ball down to the other end. The 17 points scored was very valuable for SL. If only they did the same thing with set-pieces where necessary. 

In a simple sense, PLE did not play their best game, there were too much of unwanted points leaked by SL, which cost them the game. 

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Top Performer 

Skipper Sakakini was on fire. Brilliant transition across, good shot selection and exceptional positioning. The court awareness was up to the full potential and he knew exactly where he needs to be positioned to tick the scoreboard and to play a good game of basketball. 

When one skipper performs, the other has just pushed his limit. Clinton Thevakumar, leading up-front for SL, had a brilliant game. Being the most experienced campaigner from the lot, he guided the player where possible at all times. If the rest of the contingent were up to the mark in terms of his experience, it would have been a happy ending. 

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Group Standings