Sunday, July 20, 2008

FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tourney--Germany Grabs Final Spot For Beijing

3rd Place Game: Germany 96, Puerto Rico 82

The Germans put this game away in the 3rd with a flurry of 3pts midway thru the quarter, and sent Dirk to his first Olympic appearance; I'll wager on Dirk carrying the flag for the German contingent. Got back their long-range mojo that Croatia successfully nixed in the Semis--Germany was 12/23 from deep.

Dirk relied on his arsenal of turnaround jumpers from the blocks to get rolling in the 1st half (fair amount turning right shoulder). Again, Dirk found himself on the free throw line a lot with a 12/13 clip--Dirk averaged 10 fta per in the tourney. The Bavarian Bomber finished with 32 pts, 9 rebs, & 2 blks. No surprise, Dirk was the best player in this tourney, and was very solid on defense teaming with Kaman to protect the interior.

Puerto Rico decided they needed to double Dirk in the 2nd quarter. This decision definitely helped open up the perimeter looks for the rest of Team Deutschland. Helped Demond Greene get his groove back--Greene looked like the Demond of '06 with four 3pts. for 15 pts. Robert Garrett came off the bench and buried two 3pts himself in the decisive 3rd quarter run.

Like how they went more high pick/roll with Hamann today. Hamann can really dart into the lane and is a great finisher for a PG. Steffan--not known for his outside shot--even added a few deep makes. Hamann ended with 19 pts on 6/8 & 4 assts. Think Coach Bauermann has to look to mix in Hamann PnRs with the post-ups for Dirk & Kaman a little more. Try to encourage Hamann to drive more often.

Kaman returned to cleaning the glass after an off-night vs. Croatia. He again showed nice mixes of nice post moves--usually spinning back to finish with his left--and continued to be successful with mid-range jumpers. Chris had 10 on 5/7 & 12 rebs in only 21 minutes.

Dallas Mav JJ Barea had another impressive outing using his speed to attack the defense. Had two nice steals on his NBA teammate Dirk where he knew the scouting report to double Dirk when he's spinning. Barea pitched in 18 pts, 6 rebs, 4 assts, & 3 stls.

Big man PJ Ramos helped Barea out with 16 on 7/12 & 9 rebs, mixing some agile post moves with some medium-range jumpers. He moves a lot better than you would expect, has good footwork, and a good touch. You can see why he has enticed NBA scouts & front offices in the past. But then again, you can also see why he's hasn't found a place in the NBA because he seems to lack a motor, and is not much of defensive factor for a guy his size.

**-The groups for Beijing were finalized on Sunday with a draw to determine where to place Greece, Croatia, & Germany. Here's how the groups will shape up for the Olympics:
GROUP A: Argentina, Australia, Croatia, Iran, Lithuania, Russia
GROUP B: Angola, China, Germany, Greece, Spain, USA

Yes, Greece, Spain, & USA in the same group is brutal & makes the group top-heavy. But Group A might have more balance with the only night off being vs. Iran. Greece is a definite medal contender, and has a shot at the Gold, if things fall right. Germany & Croatia have close to no shot at getting to finals, but both have a small chance of sneaking in steal a Bronze. Stay tuned for more Olympic coverage in the coming weeks.