The scene started during the National Anthem in Tel Aviv. When the 📷 focused on Omri Casspi at the end of the singing, he nearly shed a tear. Israel’s head coach Erez Edelshtein pulled his team together, just before the tip and let his passion for the game shine. Looking to his players, eyes sparkling, pure energy running out of his body and I may have even caught him saying, “no baskets.” Casspi the first man on the court greets his teammates and Germans with low fives. Before anyone is quite ready, he stands in his place at the half-court circle and prepares himself to receive the tip.
– He starts off the game man-up vs Robin Benzing, playing the passing lanes to shut down the top-of-key. Robin finds himself open for a left-wing-3 and Casspi late to recover goes for the up-fake, flies by and his man misses the open look.
– Then gets switched to Danilo Barthel, whom gets early post positioning directly under the basket. Omri stays down on a couple of pump-fakes this time and is there to defend the shot taken. He does that as well as secures the defensive rebound for Israel.
– Following up a teammates missed shot, Casspi secures the O-Reb and goes right back up with it.. he’s poked in the eye. At the other end he pulls a D-Reb and is knocked up-side the head for his efforts.
– Hovering at the three-point-arch he finds an opening and receives the ball at the short-porch, gives an up-fake, then takes two good dribbles left and floats the shot in high off the back-board.
– In early-offense gave a dive cut to the basket, receiving it and going up for the shot immediately he put it in for two. After pulling a D-Reb Israel called T.O. and gave Omri his first breather at the 2:55 mark of quarter number one. Once he got to the bench he grabbed a towel and threw it over his head, sweating out of his pores.
– At the end of the first, he checked back in for a quick burn. Getting the ball at around half-court he turned and was met by a German defender, the ball getting knocked loose but Omri had the presence of mind to knock it ahead to himself. After a Technical Foul by Dennis Schroeder, Casspi sank two free throws.
– After one quarter of play it was clear Omri was always moving well to get an open look or at the very least, make himself available. All this was done off-the-ball and he was noticably working hard for rebound positioning and even bringing the ball up-court himself at times.
– His effort swinging it inside-out and working to get a hand on the ball on the miss, turned into an extra possession and score for Israel.
– Casspi’s euro-step was a thing of beauty, leaving the announcer with nothing left to say but, “Oh, everything but the basket.” Remember Andre Iguodala’s fast break crossover spin move that didn’t go down when he first joined the Warriors.. This held a candle to it.
– Hits the bench at the 6:30 mark of the second quarter.
– On the block, he gave a rip through move and finished in the key turning and firing a baby-hook which bounced high then fell straight into the basket.
– Casspi’s eagerness to run pushed his teammates to step up the overall defensive pressure they were playing with. Another case of him making everyone around him better.
-Halftime thoughts, I’m amazed how simply Casspi is able to get himself open off-the-ball, he’s gonna work wonders in Golden State.
– Inbounding the basketball at half-court he takes the shortest angle possible to the rim, gets the ball and finished with a flush.
– Springing open for a three, he thinks better and decides to take one dribble hard to his right, really lenghtening out his stride and pulls up fading & firing for an And-1 jumper which came at a crucial time game/score wise for Israel.
– In the corner receives the ball, he fakes baseline and takes one long dribble middle going up but missing off the glass. He was perturbed to say the least, taking a swing at an imaginary opponent.
– Let me just say this now.. If Omri Casspi is willing to play off-the-ball for his country in front of his country, he can most certainly do the same for the World Champion Golden State Warriors.
-Down 16 with 8:30 remaining in the game, Casspi checks back in for Israel.
– A lovely bounce pass to a cutter sets up a tic-tac-toe-3 from his fellow countryman.
– With just under four minutes left, he catches and spins baseline, getting pushed in the back on the way up for the shot. He was awarded and sank two free-thows.
– Omri Casspi ROCKED THE RIM! A follow-up, put-back jam ending in some righteous rim hanging, forced a timeout with his team only trailing by one. It also sent the crowd absolutely wild which is just what Israel had been praying for.
– A No-Look to a cutting Richard Howel and Israel took the lead.
– Guy Pnini for three @Casspi18 and company will remember that magestic make forever!
– With nothing between the rim for Dennis Schroeder but him, Casspi gave an all-out contest of the drive and forced the miss.
– Securing the final defensive rebound for Israel Omri throws the ball up into the stands and Israel comes up with their very first win as host for FIBA EuroBasket and I’m ready for hoops season to start, see you tonight.