Monday, August 21, 2006

2006 FIBA World Champs - Spain 92, Germany 71

Hey there - Vanilla Thunder here checking in with a quick post on the Spain blowout of Germany.

- Spain looked fantastic overall, right up there with Argentina and the U.S. as the most impressive teams so far. They seem to be entering an Argentina-like realm in terms of cohesiveness and familiarity after years playing together.

- Perhaps most notable was that Spain won so handily despite getting just 21 minutes from Pau Gasol due to foul trouble - guards Jose Calderon (20 and 6, Raptors) and Juan-Carlos Navarro (19 and 3, FC Barcelona) were spectacular. Always quick, these guys seem to have taken their games up a notch with improved shooting and a better command of the floor in general. They really made the Germans pay when they tried to go under screens on PnRs. Considering the trouble Team USA has had containing dribble penetration, these two guys could be a handful.

- The stat that jumps off the box score is the 11-18 on 3pt FGs that Spain posted. Remember, this is a team that shot just .299 from behind the arc in Athens, even worse than USA's .314. They were just 19-53 (.358) in their first two games, so it's a bit out of character (well, 11-18 is out of character for *anyone*...), but they're now 30-71 (.423) for the tournament, so they seem to have improved their biggest weakness from Athens.

-Dirk Nowitzki, remarkably, attempted just nine field goals. German coach Dirk Bauermann really needs to watch a Mavs game film or two on his day off. I know that Spain was swarming Nowitzki with its zone, but really, it was like Germany was running an equal opportunity offense. They didn't seem to be trying to run the offense through him at all -- certainly nowhere near as much as Dallas does, when he has much better complementary pieces!

- Spanish Chocolate watch: S. Rodriquez appears to be much closer to the '99-era White Chocolate than the '06 model -- 7 minutes, 2 points, 1 assist, 3 TOs, 1 no-look FGM after the whistle.