Tuesday, August 22, 2006

2006 FIBA World Champs--Turkey 73, Brazil 71

Recap & Analysis of Turkey vs. Brazil (Tuesday 8/22):

- I know I am repeating myself, but Group C provides another entertaining game. Before the tourney, I felt this was the best group & there was not much separation between the teams, excluding Qatar. Turkey held off Brazil thanks in some part to Brazil's poor foul shooting, including Barbosa missing 2 with Brazil down 70-69 with 6 seconds left.

- The game started with some nice back-and-forth action where Turkey looked sharp offensively & Brazil countered by looking to push pace with Barbosa the focal point. Turkey was spreading the wealth around offensively early & was particularly sweet from long-range--8/19 from 3pt. land in the 1st half. Turkey's Ibrahim Kutluay & Serkan Erdogen were doing much of the damage from outside--Kutluay finished the game with 14 pts. (3 3pts.); Erdogen led Turkey with 19 overall (4 3pts.)

- Barbosa & Tiago Splitter were basically the majority of the Brazil offense in the 1st half--combining for 28 of Brazil's 37 1st half points. Brazil stayed close by forcing TOs (20 overall), which help them get out in transition. Barbosa was super the whole game driving the ball to the basket & drawing fouls in the process--Leandro led Brazil with 26 pts. But once he got to the line he struggled mightily--8/16 including 2 big misses late. Splitter scored all his 13 pts. in the 1st half to go along with 8 boards. Varejao had a real rough night shooting the ball--2/12 overall--but did bring some nice effort on defense & on the boards (7). But why he took so many 3pt. shots (0/4), I'm not sure. Marcelo Machado provided some support for Barbosa in the 2nd half, finishing with 13 pts.

- Once again, Turkey got a nice effort from their rotation of big bodies. The athletic Kerem Gonlum brought some great energy off the bench to crash the boards (5) & finish around the rim (10 pts.). E. Kurtoglu finished with 8 pts, 3 of the 4 baskets were pretty post moves showcasing his superb footwork. Those 2 guys, combined with Kaya Pekar & Faith Solak, kept Splitter & Varejao under check. Ersan Ilyasova (Bucks) had a rough night (1/7 overall), and looked to be forcing the action too much.

- Right now, Turkey is a little more impressive than Greece in my opinion. Their offense just has more balance: they have great deadeyes--Kutluay & Erdogan, and can offset that with bigs who score some in the painted area, and also have a guy who can shoot & create some offense in Ilyasova. To me, Greece's offense is not that smooth & their shooting is suspect. The question is-- can Turkey match Greece's play on the defensive end.