Sunday, September 05, 2010

2010 FIBA Worlds: Round of 16 Analysis (Turkey-France, Slovenia-Australia)

Turkey 95, France 77

This game played out as expected. We figured Turkey's zone would give France's substandard offense plenty of issues and Les Bleus would struggle to score. The game was essentially over early in the 3rd.

Turkey's 2-1-2 was impressive once again. Their length plus their overall activity makes for a rough day for the opposition. What's great about the zone is that they can still clog the painted area, but still contest on the perimeter because of their length and shorter 3pt. line.

Once again Turkey got great activity from its guards at the top of the zone, who funneled ball-handlers to the sides. France committed 11 TOs in the 1st half. France finished the game shooting 12-for-24 from 3pt. land, but a lot of those were when the game was already decided. France managed only 2-for-9 from deep in the 1st half and shot 43% overall in the half.

France usually struggles mightily in the half-court and today was no different. France managed only 45 points through three quarters before scoring 32 points in a meaningless 4th.

France gets credit for doing a decent job attacking the zone. Got the ball to the high post and short corner area to create some quality looks. The ball-movement was commendable, they just could not knock down their shots (not surprising). The interior passing of the French was solid. That being said, they also forced a bunch of passes into congested areas, which was a big reason for their 17 TOs.

Hedo Turkoglu had his finest day of Worlds play with 20 pts on 6-for-10 FG, 3 assts and 4-for-7 on 3PA. Hedo buried two back-to-back 3-pointers at the start of the 2nd half that put Turkey up by 21 pts. Also added a patented mid-range pull-up going to his left early in the 3rd. Hedo also dropped some sweet dimes--set up Savas on a few pick/rolls.

Omer Asik did not do much of his requisite finishing off of rolls/cuts today, but he did score on two put-backs and drew fouls. Asik was once again efficient with his floor time--10 (4-for-4 FG) & 5 rebs in 17 mins. Ersan Ilyasova had trouble finding his touch but still added 9 pts & 5 rebs.

Turkey got some nice input from the bench, particularly in the 2nd quarter. Oguz Savas (9 pts) gave Turkey a nice lift in the 2nd quarter as a roll man. Reserve PG Ender Arslan (9 pts, 2 stls) added some 3-pointers and was another active guard in the zone. Reserve SG Sinan Guler was key with 17 points coming on a few purposeful drives, and finished in transition multiple times.

Turkey was dealt a blow with starting PG Kerem Tunceri going down with an ankle injury. Tunceri is a steady guard who takes care of the ball and makes nice pocket bounce passes. Tunceri thrives on the defensive end and is a key figure on top of their zone. Tunceri was active before he went down in the 3rd, tallying three steals.

Boris Diaw played his finest game of the tourney with 21 pts (8-of-14 FG), 5 rebs, 4 assts & 5-for-8 from 3pt. range. Diaw did a nice job out of the high post with some good passes, a nice drive and a mid-range jumper. But Boris threw two of the most nonchalant passes I think I've seen, part of his 4 TOs. Boris being Boris.

Nando De Colo made a few smart cuts for buckets in the 1st half. But De Colo did not run the offense with ease. De Colo has struggled all tourney running the point and I wonder if he's better served as 2-guard who occasionally runs the PG. Though, Nando did shoot the ball well in the tourney--49% overall, 43% on 3PA.

Dallas Mav Ian Mahinmi fouled out in seven minutes. Mahinmi did a few things well on defense in this tourney, but man, is this dude raw. I can understand why Popovich had little use for him. Poor feel for the game. Nic Batum (11 pts) hit a few jumpers but was not much of a factor elsewhere.

Turkey advances to the quarterfinals to play Slovenia on Wednesday. France performed about as well as expected considering its numerous absences. If France ever gets all its top players together, they should be a medal contender.

Slovenia 87, Australia 58

Now, this game did not follow the script we expected. Thought this game would be more competitive, but for whatever reason, Australia failed to show up today. Like the Turkey-France tilt, this game was essentially over early in the 3rd. This was a difficult game to get into because of Australia's ineptitude.

Australia did not score a point until the 3:30 mark of the 1st and only ended the quarter with eight points, The Boomers were not much better in the 2nd Q, and finished the 1st half with 21 pts. They did manage to score 24 in the 3rd, too bad Slovenia had 29 in the quarter.

Australia shot just 6-for-27 (22%) from the floor in the opening half and 0-for-7 from long range. They ended the game shooting 31% overall, 2-for-19 from 3pt. land. They had some short distance shots that would not drop.

Give Slovenia credit for forcing some of these misses. An underrated factor of Slovenia's ascendancy up the FIBA rankings has been a stout defense. I thought their defense would fall off when Rasho retired, but they have been solid this year and were great at EuroBasket.

Australia had trouble with down-screen action and could not contain Goran Dragic, which is understandable. Slovenia is tough to guard with their ability to put four guys on the floor with 3-point range plus a center (Brezec) with 18-foot range. Arguably the best shooting team left in the playoff round.

Jaka Lakovic led Slovenia with 19 pts thanks to another strong shooting performance. He hit a few quick dribble pull-up 3-pointers off ball screens and hit a step-back 3 as part of his 5-for-11 3pt. day.

Goran Dragic was a menace off the dribble, winding his way through the Aussie defense for nice feeds or buckets. The Dragic-Brezec connection was particularly fruitful. The Dragon had a sweet line: 10 pts, 8 assts, 4 rebs & 2 stls.

Primoz Brezec has done a good job in the tourney moving to open spots for scoring opportunities. And he was sharp today scoring on cuts/rolls. Primoz added 12 (5-of-7 FG) and should thank Dragic for most of his buckets. Thought Primoz was a quality deterrent defensively in the interior today as well.

Slovenia got nice contributions from Miha Zupan (8 pts, 4 rebs), Sani Becirovic (8 pts, 4 rebs, 3 assts), Uros Slokar (8 pts) and Boki Nachbar (7 pts). Zupan ("the Slovenian Scalabrine"), Becirovic and Slokar all hit two 3-pointers.

Patty Mills banged home three jumpers off the bounce and mixed in a few drives on his way to 13 pts. But was off on his 3PA (1-for-7) and was 6-for-16 overall. Mills had a solid tourney, scoring double-figures in all six games and averaging 14 ppg & 4 apg. He did not shoot the ball particularly well--39% overall, 31% from 3pt.--but he was able to keep his TOs down (1.8 per).

Veteran center Matt Nielsen's (12 pts, 8 rebs) activity led to a couple buckets off of drives, some drawn fouls and four offensive rebounds. Australia bigs Dave Andersen and Aleks Maric were not much help, combining for nine points on 2-of-11 shooting.

Slovenia moves on to the quarters to face Turkey on Wednesday. Slovenia has the type of shooters who could expose Turkey's zone. Though, some of their great looks are set up by Dragic/Becirovic dribble-drives. Should be a terrific matchup.


At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FIBA rankings are a joke. You shouldn't even mention it. Why?
Because Olympics and World Championship are given to much weight.

At 11:57 AM, Anonymous milaz said...

FIBA rankings are exactly a measure of a national teams success in international competitions, so why would they be a joke, when we are discussing FIBA competitions...? What else apart from the Olympics and the World Championships should they weigh in? They use the regional championships too probably... but if that what they measure, what are else should they take into account?

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the thorough coverage of FIBA. I'm looking forward to Asik's first year with the Bulls-- Hopefully he'll get some playing time.

Do you have a take on what seems to be the biggest piece of conventional wisdom dogging this incarnation of Team USA: that the so-called "A-squad" is in another league altogether?

Seems to me if Gordon started, "B" could hang with (if not beat) "A" except for the huge mismatch at center. What say you? If we cloned Howard, and allowed the clone to play for the B's, we'd have a very close game or series in my opinion.

At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why a joke? Look at the rankings (google it) and how they calculate it (weights!).

They even include U19/U21 categories. My guess is that Australia is frequent participant. It's harder for european team to qualify.

Slovenian national team in the last decade is/was TOP12 in Europe. They never qualified for the Olympics and only twice for WC.

Do you seriously believe that in the last decade Angola could beat Slovenia?

At 11:17 PM, Anonymous milaz said...

@Anonymous 1: well then obviously the FIBA rankings are not measuring one squads power or whether they can defeat one or the other. They are measuring something else and all you need to do is see them as that... I'd never expect Angola to beat Slovenia... but taking into account the younger squads could also be an evaluation of country's "basketball infrastructure" ... maybe they are not to be used to see whether one team is better than another, but how basketball is doing in a country in general. That's more how I'd see it. Another thing: one the one hand you said the Olympics and World Championships are given too much weight and then you said the youth categories are given too much weight...

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