Thursday, September 06, 2007

France's Offensive Ineptitude Cost Them

Slovenia 67, France 66

- Parker did miss a free throw to tie it at the end, some will make a big deal about it, but you can't put much blame on him at all. The real story was how putrid the French offense was again, and France would not even been close to Slovenia without Parker's offense thru-out the game.

- Rasho got ejected in the 3rd after an intentional on Parker (which was highly questionable) after he picked up his first one on Turiaf in the 1st half--a hard foul that injured Turiaf, but Rasho got a lot of ball. And it looked like the game was a lost cause for Slovenia after their coach picked up a tech & France went up by 14 pts after the free throws early in the 3rd. But Slovenia hung tough, and was aided by the fact that the French offense was brutal outside of Parker.

- France's offense was ugly in the 2nd half, and if it weren't for multiple free throws rewarded off of two terrible intentional foul calls on Slovenia in the 3rd, France would not have even been in striking range for Parker to tie the game at the line. Parker had 25 pts, and 14 of France's 26 2nd half pts, mostly on free throws. France was 1/11 from the field in the 4th quarter, and only hit 3 FGs outside of Parker's in the 2nd half. Rony Turiaf was the only guy who came to Tony's aid on offense--Rony was very aggressive working for his shot down low & crashing the glass on offense, 13 pts & 5 off rebs for Tender Rony.

- France's lack of shooting just causes their offense to be in shambles too often & devoid of any consistent flow. This was the same story last year, so it's not too surprising. When Tony Parker is considered your best shooting threat, that can't be a positive, even with his improved stroke. They shot 3/13 from 3pt, and when they miss they usually miss badly. Boris Diaw did another disappearing act today, bringing little to the table, and just floating along.

- Slovenia were not in a straight zone, but they had multiple defenders shadowing Parker for most of the game. Slovenia made it tough for him to turn the corner for his deadly drives, and had extra guys waiting for him muddying up his lanes. Also, big guys hedged real hard, pushing Parker toward the half-court line, which was effective.

- Slovenia's young combo guard Goran Dragic did a fantastic job making Parker work, and got timely help from his teammates. Dragic has impressed with his great activity & tenacity so far in this tourney, and his defense & denial on Parker forced Tony into a rushed jumper before the shot clock ran out with about a minute left in regulation.

- Matjaz Smodis led Slovenia again with 15 & 6 rebs going inside & out to score, a few nice little post scores. He also provided solid help defense on Parker. SF Goran Jagodnik gave Slovenia a nice lift in the 3rd quarter--he came off the bench midway thru the 3rd & immediately ripped off 10 (of the team's 12) pts in about 5 minutes, including 2 3pts.

Italy 79, Poland 70

- Italy held off a pesky Poland squad to advance to the 2nd round. Poland made things interesting by drilling jumpers in the 2nd half, but Italy answered back with a few bombs of their own to stave off the Polish rally. Italy finally got on track on offense with a 50% day, and 12/21 from 3pt.

- Italy was led by their killer Bs: Bargnani, Belinelli, Basile, & Bulleri. Veteran SG Gianluca Basile showcased his sharpshooting skills with 4/6 on 3pts. Massimo Bulleri had another impressive game with 10 pts, 8 asst, & 6 rebs. He's a savvy playmaker always looking up the floor & trying to find the best possible shot for his team, and will drive the ball when needed when he can't find the passing angle he wants; one of the better pure PGs in the tourney. Bargnani had a solid game with 19 & 7 rebs, but he again forced too much on the offensive end (5 TOs). On the other hand, Belinelli restrained himself from too many crazy jumpers, and had himself a rather efficient night with 20 pts on 6/11 (3/5 3pts)

Croatia 85, Spain 84

- Only got to catch the tail end of the Spain-Croatia game--too many games going on at once! Rudy looked like he got fouled by Kasun on the last play. But this game did not hurt Spain too much beside possibly their seed for the quarterfinals; it actually hurt Latvia a lot more, knocking them out of the 2nd round, as Portugal scored an unlikely advancement.


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