Tonight is the FIBA World Championship Basketball Finals. Turkey will play America in Istanbul (9pm Turkish time, 2pm EST). Congratulations to both teams for games well played last night!
Last night, USA beat Lithuania 89-74. (My condolences to the Simonis family.) It was a good game. The game was also held in Istanbul. Unfortunately, the arena was empty. The Turks have a “different” way of selling tickets. Tickets are sold for the day. Games are held at 4pm, 6:30, and 9:00. The Turkish team has consistently played the 9pm game. The arena is filled for the late games. But because the tickets were sold for all three games of the day, the teams in the earlier games suffer with little fans to cheer them on.
Turkey also played last night, beating Serbia 83-82. It was one of the most exciting games I have ever seen. It may not be soccer, but Turks take their basketball seriously! The stadium was a sea of red and white in support of their players! The game was close from the very beginning with Turkey trailing for most of it. With 4 seconds left, Turkey scored! But it wasn’t a done deal. With half of a second left, Serbia called a time-out. Nice trick. This allowed Serbia to throw the ball in from half-court instead of from under the Turkish basket. Believe it or not, they Serbia almost scored!
You can watch the last 20 seconds of the game here . . .
I have to hand it to the Turks. They have been a mighty force throughout the tournament. I had the opportunity last week to go to a game hosted here in Ankara. Turkey played Puerto Rico. Since PR is practically America, you know who I cheered for! My husband was concerned for my welfare. Puerto Rico lead the entire game – until the fourth quarter. The fans, although not as scary as Philadelphia fans, were the loudest I had ever heard. I had to stand the entire fourth quarter in order to be able to see the game. Turkey won 79-77. That was probably a good thing, because I’m not sure how I would have gotten out of there.
The one nice thing about the way Turkey cheers is that they don’t “boo” until the end. Because they are so loud, and not booing, it does sound like they are cheering for the competitors – because the competitors don’t speak the language. They are actually louder against the other team, appearing like they are cheering louder for the other team. So assuming the USA team doesn’t speak Turkish, they may feel right at home tonight!
As much as I would love to see Turkey win this championship in their own homeland, I will be cheering for the USA! I have my Sixers shirt ready to go!!!