Are you interested in reading about how Jonas is getting shorted on touches and playing time? Well, you’ve come to the right place. It’s the latest instalment of “JonasBasket 2013”. Enjoy!


Lithuania, good. Belgium, bad. You’ll see in a second.


Belgium was no match for the mighty Baltic Giants (#raptorsnamechange). The two teams both struggled to score at the beginning, but Lithuania eventually solved Belgium’s defense and poured it on. They rushed out to a 23 point  at the half and extended it to 30+ in the third before subbing in their bench players and riding out the remaining garbage minutes. They won the game 86-67 and have all but assured their spot in the next round of Eurobasket 2013. You can look over the highlights here, and check out the score development graph below.

score chart


Jonas was omitted from the starting line-up for the second straight game, despite putting in a solid performance in their previous match against France. He was brought in at around the 3 minute mark in the first quarter and immediately had an impact. He knocked a ball off the rim on a free throw (ball is live over the cylinder in international play) which took a sure point away from Belgium. He received a nice pass in the post and was absolutely HAMMERED by a Belgian big (get out your pitchforks), but he calmly shook off the pain and sunk both free throws.  He had to come out of the game because the hit opened a gash in Jonas’s head (he’s fine) and was kept out of the game until the bleeding stopped. Once it did, Jonas came back with a vengeance.

Valanciunas returned at the 8 minute mark and the Belgians promptly threw a 2/3 zone at the Lithuanians (to make up for their lack of size in the front-court). Immediately, Jonas posted up in the middle of the paint, just inside the free throw line and sunk a very nice jumphook. On the ensuing Belgian possession, a Belgian wing slashed to the basket only to have his shot denied by Valanciunas.

He received another entry pass in the paint with his back to the basket. He settled himself, turned, leaned into his defender and sunk a mini fall-away jumpshot. On a separate possession, he powered his way to the rim, caught a nice pass from Kalientis (the best Lithuanian wing) and hit a layup. He threw in two free throws (after grabbing an offensive rebound over 3 Belgian defenders) and hit another patented sweeping hook shot from ~8 feet out.

Jonas didn’t really play very much in the second half. The game had been decided and it was probably for the best that Jonas didn’t exert himself in some meaningless minutes. He finished the game with 12 points on 4/5 shooting from the floor and 4/4 from the line. He grabbed 10 rebounds (3/7), blocked a shot and drew four fouls. He committed three himself and committed a turnover (offensive foul jostling for post-position) in just under 9 minutes of play.


Valanciunas showed some flashes of brilliance in today’s game. He showed great poise in the paint and pulled out his full arsenal of post-moves. He sunk a jumphook, landed a sweeping hook shot and threw in a fall-away jumper to boot. He was no match for the Belgian defense and for the first time in the tournament, he was able to score over double teams and zone defense. He also managed to sink all of his free throws (4 swishes). It was a good day for Jonas.

The only caveat I’d add is that the Belgians really had nobody to guard him. Their bigs were mostly ground-bound and lacked the size to truly challenge Jonas’ shots. Nevertheless, 12 points on 5 shots is very impressive.


The Belgian bigs didn’t really attack inside. They preferred to stand near the elbows and set screens. This allowed Jonas to confidently leave his man to protect the rim. He blocked a shot and by my count, deterred two more. He wasn’t really challenged much otherwise, so there’s not much else to say. This was the Belgians’ shot chart for when Jonas was on the floor (Belgian attempts on the right).

Belgium misses JV


  • This was Lithuania’s best game by far. Yes, the Belgians were a relatively easy opponent, but the Baltic Giants had everything working. They scored from inside, scored from outside, scored in the midrange and scored in transition. Belgium simply couldn’t contain them.
  • Motiejunas came to life. He had himself a great game (13 points, 4 rebounds). He also threw down this vicious dunk after going coast-to-coast.
  • I really don’t know why the Lithuanian head coach keeps benching Jonas. The progression of the past few games has been; Lithuania struggles to score, Jonas comes off the bench, and Lithuania’s screen-and-roll offense comes to life and they take the lead. Just start him!
  • Just for fun, let’s extrapolate Jonas’ numbers to if he played 30 minutes per game: 14.5 ppg, 1.8 bpg, 11 rpg on 73.3 FG%. JUST PLAY HIM!
  • The play-by-play man used the line “open like church on SUNDAY!” again. That’s fun. He also used the line “he proved me to be a PROPHET!!!”.
  • I really wouldn’t be surprised if some NBA team signs Monatas Kalientis someday (maybe someone has and they’ve stashed him). He is a very good player; he can pass, shoot from range and create off the dribble. FWIW, he runs a sweet pick and roll with Jonas Valanciunas (get on the phone, Ujiri!).
  • Lithuania’s next game will be played at 11:45 AM on Sunday (vs Ukraine). Won’t be able to cover that one so there will be no recap for the game. You can find recaps and scores on You can find the game on ESPN3 or whatever crummy illegal stream you find.

Share this:

24 Responses to “JonasBasket 2013: Observations from Lithuania-Belgium”

    • DDayLewis

      He’s getting the toughest defensive assignments, playing sporadic minutes and seeing very few touches but he’s still managing to produce. It’s been both frustrating and exciting at the same time.

      • ckh26

        Lithiuanian coach rewards full time national team members with more playing time. Just the way it is. Some other poster called out a 20 point lead that combined with JV turning his ankle couple of games ago, the seemingly endless ticky tack offensive fouls and maybe .. just maybe they are resting him when the tough going hits again in the quarters… All in all ya gotta be happy with the impact he is having on the games. Only thing I’d like to see him do is to take a game ejection and just hammer someone that has pushed at him.. not a push.. just a nice club to the head… and a staredown… Send a message…

  1. Ion66

    Is it the same coach as last year? I remember Jonas riding the pine constantly for no apparent reason last year with the Lithuanian team….Or am I just remembering Casey sitting him more than a flight attendant in turbulence for most of the Raps season?

    • One relaxed guy

      No, the coach is different. Jonas played really well today and absolutely dominated the paint in those 13 (or 12) minutes. And when you see those minutes his stats (12 pts 10 rbd and 1 block) are crazy good. I think he scored 10 of his 12 points in a row and absolutely destroyed opponents inside. The main reason why didn’t play more is because of that little gash. And yeah, like William Lou said in his article, D-Mo had some explosive moments tonight. And my thoughts on Kalnietis: for a European basketball he’s pretty fast and athletic. Thing is, that he doesn’t have the strength or an ability to score and perform well every game (like 82 games per season), he’s also a bad and inconsistent 3pt shooter. He’s actually a shooting guard but since Lithuania doesn’t have anyone better in PG spot, Kalnietis has to take the position. I like him as a player, but i seriously doubt if he ever goes to NBA.

      • bob

        Yep, the injury, 30 points lead, and 3 fouls in 13 minutes (FIBA foul limit is 5). It made sense not to play him too much.

        As for the previous games, he had a few poor games. He couldn’t do much defensively vs. Krstic (Serbia) or Ajinca (France), and he struggled vs. Bosnia and picked up two fouls in just a few minutes. He did better in the other games and he got good minutes, but he was often in foul trouble, and Lithuania has good replacements, so Jonas never actually got over 30 minutes.

        I guess the coach could manage to get him a few more minutes but I think overall it’s hard to blame the coach too much.

        • DDayLewis

          He gets called for the most tackiest of fouls. It’s frustrating. BS moving screen calls, jostling under the basket for rebounds, etc etc. It’s really unfortunate.

          And I have to disagree about his defense. He’s very good defensively at this level. Yes, he struggles with the mobile, outside-in bigs, but he’s a true rim defender, and that extends past his blocked shots. He forces attackers to change their shots.

          I think he’s mostly benched because he doesn’t have an outside shot (why they keep starting D. Larinovic) and the seniority thing.

          • bob

            Yep, the same Ajinca. Ajinca should probably be given another chance in the NBA, btw. Maybe some Euroleague followers can chime in here. But judging by these games, he’s playing smarter, more aggressive, more inside game. It looks like he knows what to do in the post now. He’s still thin but with his mobility and length he should be able to play in the NBA, if he maintains this low post aggressiveness.

            • DDayLewis

              A mobile rim defender (a la Larry Sanders) is all the rage right now. Can he operate in a pick and roll and block shots?

              • bob

                I think so, he could always block shots because of his absurd length, but he used to be more of a pick and pop / hang around the perimeter type. It looks like he has much more value down low now, and can finish through some contact. Which could indeed mean that he’s one of those pick and roll pogo stick NBA bigs going forward. He has good court vision, too.

                Or maybe he returns to his previous bad habits, takes poor outside shots and coasts through games.

                We won’t know based on a few FIBA games, but i think he’s worth a gamble. There are very few players in the world with his physical gifts, and it looks like he gets it now.

                I read that he still has till September 30 to opt out of his current contract (if he wants to go to the NBA).

  2. mountio

    It seems like a flash of the blindly obvious .. but why the hell isnt he playing more? Games they win, games they lose, close games, blowouts .. the one “consistent” thing is his inconsistent minutes. I get the whole “vets” and full time players thing .. but ho-lee.
    The craziest thing is that our own god damn coach on the Raps did the exact same thing last year! Are we all missing something (is the defense SOO sloppy that you cant have him out there) – or is this just a co-incidence or two coaches totally dropping the ball …?

  3. Bulls fan

    First post I see with no intense arguments, I like Raptor fans. Also glad to see your knowledge of European basketball players. Bravo!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *