Thursday, August 23, 2007

FIBA Americas--Day 2 Recap & Analysis

USA Rolls Over V.I. & Venezuela:
Not gonna waste your time breaking down these games, pretty pointless exercise to me. Not sure you can take much away from these games--Venezuela & VI are probably the two worst teams in this competition. Really hard to gauge exactly how well the US is playing on the the defensive end since they're matched against such inept offensive teams. So I'll wait til the weekend's over to get a better picture where Team USA stands after games vs. Canada & Brazil.

Argentina 90, Uruguay 69

- A fairly non-descript game in the 1st half where the defenses controlled the action and both teams combined for 25 TOs. Argentina looked to be working out the kinks in their 1st game of the tourney, But then Argentina cranked it up a whole other level in the 3rd quarter & busted the game wide open by outscoring Uruguay 29-14 in the quarter. The offense started to resemble the usual well-oiled machine we expect from the Argentines.

- The Argentine defense was pretty solid in the 1st half, but they tightened the screws even tighter in the 2nd half, and shutdown Uruguay's primary weapons. After 26 pts vs. Panama on Wednesday, Esteban Batista was held to 7 on 3/10. and Uruguay's other main option, Nicolas Mazzarino, was totally shutout--0 pts on 0/5--afther 25 pts on 7/11 vs. Panama. Mazzarino was targeted once again, and given very little breathing room to get off his deadly jumper.

- Tau Ceramica's Pablo Prigioni proved why he's one of the top PGs in Europe by leading Argentina with a great all-around performance. Pablo plays under control and is just a savvy, settling influence who sees the floor wonderfully. Pablo pitched in 20 pts & 5 assts, also played the passing lanes very well for 3 stls that usually led to easy transition pts. He even knocked down 3 3pts, something he's not known for.

- Carlos Delfino had a very rough game where he looked out of sync on the offensive end--had some bad TOs, maybe lingering effects of his recent injury. But did have some impact on the defensive end, particularly blanketing Mazzarino when matched up against him, and was a big reason for Mazzarino's no-show.

- Antonio Porta came off the bench to pitch in 14 on 5/5 shooting, mostly on strong drives to the goal. Luis Scola had a solid all-around showing with 16, 6 rebs, 4 asst, & 2 stl. He had a few nice post scores showcasing his nice footwork, and could have had 20+ pts, but he had 2-3 shots barely rim in & out. Center Roman Gonzalez was left wide open with all the attention on Prigioni, Scola, & Delfino, and the big fella responded by knocking down jumpers & chippies to finish 7/10 from the floor for 15 & 8 rebs.

Canada 80, Venezuela 73

- The Maple Leaf Brigade escaped with a key victory since they still have to play Team USA in group play. This game probably should not have been as close as this, but Canada could never pull away because their offense could not build any kind of consistency. But Sam Dalembert saved the day for the Canucks with his dominating play at both ends.

- Dalembert had a superb all-around game. Was his usual interior deterrent by blocking 5 shots and forcing many kickout passes as well, which would force Venezuela to reset their offense. Dalembert's defense is to be expected, but it was his offensive play that was a nice bonus, and key to Canada's victory. Sam made two huge buckets late off strong post moves, including a huge plus-1 to give Canada the lead late. Sam also hit a couple of turnaround jumpers earlier in the game, and finished off a few dunks as well.

- But maybe Dalembert's most impressive play came during a routine stretch of the 1st half: Canada was trying to enter the ball into Levon Kendall, but the guard was finding it tough to find a passing angle, so Sam took it upon himself to flash to the high post to create a hi-lo situation, and the guard entered the ball to Sam, then Sam made a nice lob into Kendall for an easy 2 pts. Actually, Canada got some mileage (oops, kilometerage) on offense from hi-lo action between their bigs.

- Mentioned yesterday that Canada got virtually nothing from the PG position vs. Brazil. The PGs still did not do much in the way of running the offense, but Jermaine Anderson did do damage with his shooting (something he's known for)--Jermaine had 17 pts, 3/5 3pts. Anderson hit some big perimeter jumpers in the 2nd half, including a huge long 2-pointer to push Canada to a 76-73 lead with about :40 secs left.

- It was nice to have Anderson's great shooting display, but Team Canada's overall offense went thru lulls once again and lacks any type of continuity. Like we mentioned in our preview, Anderson is more of a shooting guard, and Team Canada really has no one adept at directing an offense. Carl English is the only guy adept at dribble penetration, this keeps Team Canada's free throws down, and pretty much makes them a perimeter shooting team.

- Even though English had 14 pts, he has to take his game up a notch, and look to score in the 20s since Canada's is lacking any explosive scorers. Forwards Juan Mendez & Dave Thomas could not duplicate their strong Day 1 performance on offense, both guys helped out on the boards combining for 13 rbs, 6 off. Ex-Razorback Olu Fatutimi got into a little groove in the 1st half stroking mid-range jumpers, but was non-existent in the 2nd half.

- Can't complain about Canada's defense, it was impressive once again with Dalembert as their anchor. They had a few breakdowns here & there, but they held Venezuela to 38% shooting, after holding Brazil to 41%.

- Venezuela's go-to-guy Hector Romero was an all-around force putting constant pressure on Canada either with his strong drives or outside shooting. Romero finished with 23, getting to the line 10 times (8/10), and knocking down 3/5 3pts. with his unorthodox release. Athletic center Miguel Marriaga showcased some of his promise today with 11 & 6rebs. Marriaga who's known for his shot-blocking & rebounding, surprised a bit with his ability to face-up from the perimeter & just his overall activity. Maryland's Greivis Vasquez had a quietly effective game with 9 pts, 6 assts, & 4 rebs.


At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great analysis. Love it!

As a Canadian trapped in the US, I don't find much coverage on Team Canada basketball.

Your reviews are the best I have seen.


At 2:32 PM, Blogger jay aych said...

Thanks. I grew up close to Canada, so I actually feel like I have a little Canadian in me, eh. By the way, love Team Canada's unis--best jerseys in the competition.

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