Tuesday, August 22, 2006

2006 FIBA World Champs--Monday Games Recap

-Argentina 96, Venezuela 54-- Simply, Argentina looks downright scary. I know Venezuela is no juggernaut, but that can't take away from the precise execution by the Argentines. The ball movement is just downright amazing. Not just from a couple of guys, I 'm talking every player on the team. This fact coupled with good athleticism, especially at their wing positions, you start to understand why they are one of the main contenders. Right now Spain & themselves might be the most impressive teams because they are looking super sharp in the half-court at both ends. They held Venezuela to a paltry 27.1 % from the field.

Luis Scola started the game out providing the offensive punch with jumpers, post points, & running the floor (Luis had 17 pts., 5 rbs.). Carlos Delfino came off the bench and did a masterful job as a playmaker with a great passing night, especially on the move--Delfino ended with 9 pts., 6 assts., 6 rebs. & 3/3 from deep. The other wing back-up, Walter Herrmann, brought his usual energetic play & led the team in scoring for the second game in a row with 25 pts., 9 rebs & 3/7 3pts. Oberto did a wonderful job passing as well & finished with 10 pts.. Wily vet Ruben Wolkowisky kept up his strong play (11 pts. on 4/4 shooting) & showed he still is dangerous for a few of his patented top-of-the-key 3pt. shots. And can't forget about Pepe--Sanchez kept up his floor general ways with 7 pts & 7 assts. Argentina's depth rivals Team USA--they do not lose much when going to the bench corps.

-France 64- Nigeria 53--Well, it was not pretty, but France came thru with their second ugly win in a row. France's defense was pretty darn good, especially in the 1st half--they held Nigeria to only 15 points total. France held Nigeria to 27% shooting overall & 2/18 from 3pt. But France did not shoot too well themselves--35 % overall. Throw in 17 TOs for France and you can see why I said this game was ugly. Nigeria was definitely frustrated by France's defense, but they also could not get any type of rhythm going at all in the 1st half. Ime Udoka (Knicks) was the only Nigerian to score more than 3 points in the 1st half, and he only had 6 pts. himself.

Nigeria clawed their way back in the 2nd half after moving Udoka to the point, helping their offense run smoother. Nigeria's defense was tighter in the 2nd half, thanks in part to some zone that made things tough for France. Nigeria's Gabe Muoneke (ex-Longhorn) used his superior strength to carve out some space in the paint forcing France to put him on the line 10 times. (Gabe finished with 14 pts. & 7 rebs.)

France's Mamoutu Diarra hit two big back2back 3pts. after Nigeria had cut the lead under 10 with 4 minutes left. These shots pretty much secured the win. Diarra ended with 9 pts, all from 3pt. land. Mickeal Gelabale (Sonics) was the best player for France by providing great all-around activity--he was the only Frenchmen in double figures (14 & 7 rebs). Center Fred Weis was not too bad himself with 8 pts. & 6 rebs on a couple nice post moves. France looks like they have sewn up a 2nd place finish in Group A.

Other games---
Serbia 104 - Lebanon 57: Serbia finally got their 1st win in style. 7 players scored in double figures & Darko had 18 on 8/11. Serbia found their touch from outside--12 for 20 from 3pt. Serbia is now in a 4-way tie for 3rd place in Group A.

Angola 95 - New Zealand 73: Angola's the surprise of the tourney. 3-0, and assured of at least 3rd place in Group B & a berth in the playoffs. Not only did they upset New Zealand, they pounded them.

Japan 78 - Panama 61: Japan pulled off a minor upset over the very disappointing Panama. Panama has a few guys who were pretty darn good NCAA D-I players & they have looked terrible vs. Japan & Angola.

*-- the Spain vs. Germany summary has its own separate post. Its directly below.