Lauri Markkanen Erupts For 42 Points As Finland Tops Ukraine

Cavaliers forward Lauri Markkanen is making the most of his time with Finland ahead of the 2022 EuroBasket.Lauri Markkanen

Markkanen went for 42 points, nine rebounds and three steals as Finland held off Ukraine by a 97-94 count in an exhibition win over Ukraine.

He spoke confidently about Finland ahead of EuroBasket.

“We have a great team, we have talent and we learn fast,” Markkanen told FIBA.basketball. “We also have more experience than five years ago, and the group of players is a great mix of veterans and young guys coming up and wanting to help the national team.

“We are in a fantastic dynamic and we want to keep it going for a long time, so I think we can do great in the coming EuroBasket. We will take it one step at a time, try to get a great record in the Group Phase and go to the knockout stages full of ambition and energy in order to go far in the competition. We are hungry for wins, hungry to keep getting better and better.” 

Markkanen is the leader of the pack when it comes to Finland, and he put himself even more on the map during the previous EuroBasket in 2017. This one starts Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 18.

“It was my first tournament at senior level, I won’t ever forget about it,” he said. “We played the group phase at home, and it was fantastic, a unique moment. We were able to beat a powerhouses like France and Greece, and I was really enjoying the games in Helsinki.

“We gained a lot of experience during this tournament, and we learned a lot, which has been helping us since as we get better and better every year. We did lose against Italy in the knockout stage, it was disappointing but we will come back this year to do better, that is our goal.”

Markkanen, 25, is 7-foot-0 and teamed with All-Star Jarrett Allen and All-Rookie member Evan Mobley in the Cleveland frontcourt to give the Cavs a triple tower in the staring frontcourt. He averaged 14.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in 61 games.

But for now, the focus is on Finland.

“I was so happy to be back with the national team, it has been so long since I last played an official game with my country, and I always feel happy to wear that jersey,” Markkanen said.

“We are a group of friends, a family, we are brothers that want to make Finnish basketball the most competitive possible. I always play hard and give 100-percent, and I was very happy with being here and to help get those two wins. I am looking forward for the next window and for EuroBasket, that is for sure.”

Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 32 teams!

Leave a Reply