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Telegraph.co.uk: Luol Deng proves constant threat as Great Britain hammer Israel in European qualifiers

Great Britain showed impressive strength from the bench in Liverpool last night to defeat Israel 96-86, and leave qualification for next year’s European Championships in Poland in their own hands.

 
Luo Deng leads Great Britain to victory over Isreal

Inspiration: Luo Deng leads Great Britain to victory over Isreal Photo: PA

Two wins on the road this week against the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina and they would definitely qualify, one win and they would almost certainly book their place in Poland next September as well.

In Liverpool, although stand-outs Pops Mensah Bonsu (22) and Luol Deng (20) were a constant threat, it was timely contributions from the likes of Nick George, coming off the bench to net 15 points, and young giant Joel Freeland, with 13 and four rebounds during his stint, that kept Great Britain ticking over against a team that has competed in the finals of every European Championship since 1994.

Great Britain took command in the second and third quarters, building a 20-point and were able to play a containing game in the final quarter to keep the Israelis – pre-tournament favourties to win the pool outright – at arms length.

“We’ve held serve and now we have two chances to get one on the road,” said GB coach Chris Finch.

“I was always happy with our schedule – a tough one on the road to start with in Israel and then three home games to build some momentum and some chemistry. And now we go on the road again and will see how good we really are.

“We had great production from the bench, Nick and Joel were pretty inspirational. Joel’s given us great energy off the bench all campaign.”

George, who also impressed in a cameo performance against the Czech Republic last week, said there was a different mood on the bench in Liverpool as opposed to the Birmingham game in midweek when GB defeated Bosnia & Herzegovina.

He said: “In the last game we didn’t come off the bench with any enthusiasm but Jarret Hart came in and kicked it off tonight, I came in and Richard Midgley came in and I think everybody enjoyed it. That was the most important thing.”

Israel had beaten GB in overtime earlier this month in Tel-Aviv, but have suffered a slump in form since then and the result was rarely in doubt once GB posted their first 20-point lead with a pair of George dunks off sublime floated passes from Deng.

“Luol is an inspiration to everybody and you just want to follow that,” says George. “And Pops is an animal, just a beastly individual. He just fights for everything. Joel was fantastic – he’s a great young talent and he’s going to be special.”

One Response to “Telegraph.co.uk: Luol Deng proves constant threat as Great Britain hammer Israel in European qualifiers”

  1. How come Ben Gordon isn’t playing ?


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