Thursday, September 11, 2014

FIBA Update: Quarter-Finals

We're down to the Final Four in the FIBA World Cup.  Here's what happened in the quarter-finals:

Upper Bracket (in Madrid):
Serbia 84 - 56 Brazil

Brazil had only lost to Spain so far, and had beaten Serbia in the Group Stages.  But the Brazilians completely fell apart in the second half of this game, being outscored 47-24 by an aggressive Serbian team that dominated both ends of the floor.

France 65 - 52 Spain

Last year, at Eurobasket, Tony Parker led France to a 75-72 upset of Spain in the semi-finals.  France then went on to win the tournament.  This time, France didn't have Tony Parker, but they didn't need him.  They beat Spain with a classic Tennessee versus Kentucky strategy -- pack everything inside, slow the game down, and hope that Spain would miss their three-pointers.  It worked brilliantly.  Spain went 2/22 from three-point range.  Furthermore, Spain got very few second-chance points, as France out-rebounded them 50-28.  Down the stretch, Spain's offense simply collapsed -- France outscored Spain 23-9 in the last quarter for a surprisingly easy win.  This was a huge, huge, upset, and a very bitter defeat for home-standing Spain -- which was focused on getting back to the top after losing the gold medal to the United States in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.  But I've seen France's strategy work many, many times, and you have to be more prepared for it than Spain was.

Lower Bracket (in Barcelona):
Lithuania 73 - 61 Turkey

No country loves basketball as much as Lithuania, and this was a big win for them over a Turkey team that had reached the finals of the 2010 World Cup.

Slovania 76 - 119 United States

The Americans led 49-42 at the half, and then they put on a show for the ages in the second half -- 70 points in only 20 minutes.  It was some of the prettiest basketball you will ever see.  Anthony Davis had 13 points and 11 rebounds in only 21 minutes; Cousins had 9 points and 5 rebounds in 13 minutes.  (Cousins is 9-10 from the field in the last two games.)  Kenneth Faried was also great:  14 points and 10 rebounds in only 20 minutes.  I really like this team and I hope they win it all.

OK, so here's what's next:

Lower Bracket Semi-Final (in Barcelona) (Today at 2 P.M. Central):
United States v. Lithuania

Upper Bracket Semi-Final (in Madrid) (Tomorrow at 3 P.M. Central):
France v. Serbia

1 comment:

  1. The United States just crushed Lithuania 96-68 in the semi-finals, so the Americans will play for the title on Sunday.