2010 FIBA Worlds: Day 2 Analysis (Argentina-Australia, Spain-NZ)
GROUP A: Argentina 74, Australia 72
For the second day in a row, Argentina was pushed to the limit before finding a way to pull out the win.
Argentina methodically chipped away at a 10-point deficit in the 2nd half to hold off Australia. The first half was mostly nondescript, but we saw the action pick up in the 2nd half.
Luis Scola got back to his efficient ways with a 31-point, 9 rebound effort on 11-of-19 shooting. Scola did most of his damage as the roll man. He hit 3-4 pick/pop foul-line jumpers. To say Scola gets superstar calls from FIBA refs is an understatement. He's definitely a physical guy, but he gets some calls other pedestrian players don't. I only counted two buckets off post-ups, but both were tough makes. One was a banker in traffic plus the foul. Then he added a sweet up/under move finished with his left hand that gave ARG a 69-66 lead late.
Pablo Prigioni, usually reluctant shooter, was 3-for-5 from 3pt. land, including one where he squared up Dave Andersen and buried a right corner 3-pointer to give ARG a 72-69 lead late. Prigioni dropped seven dimes including a beautiful bounce pass to a streaking Scola in transition (led Scola like a good QB). Few PGs can throw bounce passes like Prigioni, one of the best in the world.
PF Leo Gutierrez started in place of ailing Fab Oberto and was a key to victory. He brings little to the table, but the one thing he can do is drill standstill jumpers. 15 of Leo's 17 pts came behind the arc and he even added a very nice runner in the lane.
Carlos Delfino had another erratic shooting day (3-for-11) and had to deal with foul trouble, but still found ways to have an impact. Delfino's post-up action was crucial on back-to-back plays in the last 5:00. Carlos hit a turnaround to give ARG a 62-59 lead, then on next possession, 'Los drew the double then kicked to Gutierrez for a big 3 to make the lead 65-59. Carlos did a nice job of running the offense.
Australia's bigs could not replicate the success they had the day before. After a dominant performance the day before, Aleks Maric couldn't do anything right--four TOs and four fouls in 12 minutes. Dave Andersen made some nice moves to the basket, but he just did a putrid job finishing off. Matt Nielsen was alright with 10 pts & 10 rebs.
Patty Mills knocked down 4-of-9 3PT on his way to 21 pts & 5 assts. But probably the best part of his game was that he committed zero TOs. He hit a pull-up 3 to tie the game at 69-69 with :50 secs left.
Former GS Warrior summer-league SF Joe Ingles went off for 22 pts, many coming off nifty dribble-drives. One highlight was a baseline drive combining a spin move with a crossover.
No let up for the Aussies as they face the Germans on Monday. The loser of that game could possibly end up the 4th-seed in Group A, which you don't want. The Group A-4 meets the Group B-1 in the Round of 16.
Group D: Spain 101, New Zealand 84
It was another indifferent performance from the putative pre-tournament co-favorite, as Spain was unable to fully shake one of the weaker sides in the World Championship until the 4th quarter.
While New Zealand ran some beautiful sets on offense, it took some pretty lethargic defense by Spain for the Tall Blacks to go on a 15-3 run in the last 2:39 of the first half, cutting the Spanish lead to just 48-44 as the teams went to the locker room.
Another 8-0 run in the late 3rd/early 4th allowed the Kiwis to cut the lead to 77-68 win nine minutes left, before a 16-0 run by Spain finally put the game away for good.
Team España was just too damn big inside. Marc Gasol had his way down low, scoring 22 points on 7-9 FG/8-9 FT in 26 minutes. All told, Spain shot 65% overall, including 74% on 2-pointers and 50% on 3's.
There were some clever passes on both sides. Ricky Rubio had several pretty/smart ones en route to 11 assists, along with a few ugly/dumb ones en route to 4 TOs.
Jorge Garbajosa knocked down 4-4 3-pointers, including a couple at particularly opportune moments. 18 for JC Navarro, and a 12-12-4 for Rudy Fernandez. Hopefully, Rockets fans averted their eyes, as their draftee Sergio Llull had another terrible game with 0 points, 2 assists, 1 TO on 0-2 FG in 13 minutes.
Kirk Penney knocked home 21 points to lead New Zealand - he leads the tournament with 29 ppg thus far.
More Day 2 analysis: USA-Slovenia, Turkey-Russia and Argentina-Australia