Sorry this took so long, everybody. Internet troubles again. I hit publish, went to sleep, and it decided not to publish. Argh.
And the group stage is finally over! Yesterday, the final slots were decided for the upcoming Round of 16 Knockout Tournament, which is to start on Saturday. Without further ado, feel free to have a look at the recaps below. And keep an eye out for a preview of the Tournament stage of the competition, which should be out later today or tomorrow.
Team Thunder Recaps:
I watched the first few minutes of this game, and that was good enough for me. Tunisia led 4-0, but things quickly spiraled out of control after that.
Argentina charged out of the gate like a bull, and they ran over Serbia with ease. They found ways to make baskets, whether it be through an open three that exploited Serbia's zone defense or an amazing shot hit while falling down by Luis Scola. Serbia was hapless on the offensive end, unable to establish anything in the post and missing jumpshots. But, after falling behind 20-7, Serbia put in Nenad Krstic for Kosta Perovic, and this opened things up for them offensively, allowing them to get easier shots on the outside due to the perceived threat of Krstic on the outside.
In the second, Argentina got out to a 8 Point Lead on the back of Luis Scola, who had 14 of Argentina's first 30 Points. But, again, Serbia charged back through the use of threes, and eventually gained the lead, at 31-30. The rest of the quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with the see-saw ending on Serbia's side.
The third quarter was more of the same, as both teams frequently traded the lead. Near the end of the quarter, Serbia gained a 5 point lead via a Velijkovic three, and that lead had settled down to 4 by the end of the quarter. Argentina was living at the line for most of the quarter, utilizing their ability to get fouled in the paint.
The fourth quarter was the same old story. Serbia got out to an early lead, while Argentina's offense went completely stagnant, as Serbia kept a constant lock on anyone trying to shoot on the perimeter and double teamed Luis Scola in the paint. But, about halfway through, Argentina hit a deep three and Luis Scola made an And 1 play, so they were right back in it.
Below: The Final Moments, Pleiss' Last Game of the Tournament, 4 Games You Might Have Missed!
Eventually, with about a minute and a half to go, Argentina tied the game at 75 with a Paulo Quinteras three. But after two wasted possessions, Krstic took it down into the paint and gently laid one in, putting Serbia back on top. (What, you were expecting an aggressive slam?) At the other end of the floor, Luis Scola said "Touche!" and drew a foul on Nenad Krstic. He made both freethrows, and the game was tied again with 38.4 seconds to go. After about 6 passes, in which the ball went all across the court, the ball finally ended up in the hands of Savankovic, who hit a deep, straight on three to put Serbia on top. Argentina looked for a three, but Ivan Paunic placed a very good foul on Gutierrez, forcing Gutierrez to shoot for only 2. Gutierrez split the freethrows and made the second, giving Serbia the ball and a 2 point lead with 11.9 seconds to go. Serbia's rasic was fouled within 4 tenths of a second on the inbounds, and he made both shots. Argentina lobbed the ball down the court to Quinteras, who was fouled while shooting a three by Teodosic. He drained all three, leaving Serbia up by only one with 7.7 seconds to go.
Rasic was fouled with 4.6 seconds to go, sending him to the line. He drained both shots, leaving one last chance for Argentina to tie the game with a three. Scola inbounded it to Rigioni, who baseball passed it to Quinteras down the court. Quinteras was immediately fouled by Teodosic, but this time only for two points. He made the first, but deliberately missed the second. Luis Scola made a valiant effort at rebounding it, but Velijkovic of Serbia grabbed the rebound and elbowed Scola off. Time expired, and Serbia had won, putting them at the top of Group A.
And so, Germany has been eliminated even though they have 2 wins. I suppose it serves them right for not defeating Angola, but still, you can't help but feel for them. But, this result was expected, so there's not much reason to go into detail. Tibor Pleiss had a team high 23 Points and also had 9 Rebounds.
4 Games You Might Have Missed:
I didn't have time to watch this game, but somehow, after being in the running for winning every signle game they played, Puerto Rico has managed to not qualify for the Round of 16. Huge failure for them, and a big win for Cote d'Ivoire, even if neither teams are advancing.
Greece seems to be a team with two faces. There's the team that is able to bully the other team inside, get consistently open shots, and play excellent perimeter defense. Then, there's the one that is only able to shoot a bunch of bad threes. That team showed up today, as Greece only shot 27.3% from the 3 Point Line. With that bad of a percentage, there's no way you can win an international game, much less against Russia.
New Zealand was having an unusually good game against France. Both teams had really spead out scoring, but Penney and Mukolo had a good game for New Zealand. Up to 14 Point lead in the third. New Zealand hit threes on a consistent basis. Maintained their lead through the fourth. This upset win got New Zealand 3rd in the group, thanks to a higher goal average than France.
Angola had the advantage for most of the quarter. But surprisingly, they weren't doing it with an uptempo style. Rather, they were using their superior three point shooting and quickness to the basket in half-court sets. On defense, they were all over Australia on the perimeter, causing them to go 0-7. Of course, Australia could still exploit them on the inside, which explains why they finished the quarter within three of Angola.
Australia went on a huge run in the second quarter, though. Surprisingly, it was they who pushed up the pace and took the Angolans out of their game. They were able to use their height to get easy layups on the break, and, obviously, get more rebounds. This eventually ballooned into a 10 Point lead at the half. Scoring was well distributed among the teams, but Nielsen led Australia in Points (7), Rebounds (6), Assists (3), and Blocks (1). Ingles had an amazing 4 Steals for Australia, which highlights the difficulty Australia was having with turnovers.
Sometimes, the Australians would simply go up and tip the ball to a teammate should they not be able to rebound it. The third quarter was mostly an even game, marked by good defense from both teams. At certain points, the game was completely disorganized, with players on both sides of the floor. Angola continued to guard on the perimeter, and Australia did a good job of keeeping everybody on man-to-man defense. Eventually, Australia started hitting their threes, and their lead had extended to 22 by the end of the quarter, on the heels of a 12-0 Run. The lead was kept and increased in the 4th, all but ending the game.
Did you watch the games? What did you think? Vote in the Poll, Post a Comment!
Story of the Day?
Team USA Squashes Tunisia. (6 votes)
Serbia wins thriller against Argentina to seal Group A. (6 votes)
Pleiss Scores a Team High 23 Points in Germany's Final Game. (1 vote)
Puerto Rico Manages to Lose....Again. (2 votes)
Russia Defeats Greece, gets 2nd Place in Group C. (0 votes)
New Zealand Upsets France, secures 3rd in Group D. (0 votes)
Austalia beats Angola, secures 3rd in Group A. (0 votes)
15 total votes