Thursday, September 01, 2011

FIBA Analysis (9/1): Canada-Dom. Republic, Russia-Georgia


Great win for Team Canada. Still early, but this win goes a long way toward securing a bid to the Pre-Olympic tourney.

- Canada's defense was good once again after a strong effort vs. Brazil. Held Dom. Rep. to a measly 34% from the floor. Strong defense has been the one constant for the Maple Leaf brigade over the last few years. Usually stout in the interior.

- Joel Anthony, Aaron Doornekamp and Levon Kendall set the tone with hard, physical defense on Al Horford and JM Martinez.

- Would have thought Anthony would have primarily checked Horford, but Coach Rautins decided to have Joel primarily guard JM Martinez. This moved worked out well. It allowed Joel to sit in the middle of the lane. Doornekamp held up surprisingly well vs. Horford, especially for a guy who's normally a SF.

Kendall bodied up well on the block--he uses his chest well--and his help was on target. He drew a few charges as well. This is what Kendall always does for Team Canada.

- Canada's offense wasn't great, but much improved from the ineptitude of the day before vs. Brazil. 42% from the field is not so good, but 43.4% on 3PA was crucial to Canada's cause. We mentioned in yesterday's post that Coach Rautins needed to focus more on setting up his shooters off of screens. The screen or handoff-screen action worked well today.

- Andy Rautins hit two 3PT off of dribble handoffs and two others off of flare screens. Also added a nice step-back 3pt. in the right corner. Keep those screens and/or handoffs coming.

- Carl English finally got going with 12 pts. Canada needs him in the flow as he's probably their best offensive threat. Hit a couple quick dribble pull-ups (a 3pt. & a long 2pt.) and hit another 3pt. off a flare screen. English is capable of creating quick pull-ups for himself.

- Spurs rookie PG Cory Joseph (6 pts, 4 assts) gave them some nice minutes providing a modicum of dribble penetration that Canada badly needs.

- Al Horford continues (unsurprisingly) to be the Dominican's best all-around player. Shot only 5-for-16 but did have 17 pts, 11 rebs, 3 blks, 3 stls & 3 assts. One assist came where he led the break and dropped off a pass to a trailing Eulis Baez. Showed off his reliable mid-range jumper a few times.

- Chuckie Villanueva had a forgetable eight minutes of floor time. Four fouls (two offensive fouls on ill-advised drives), four TOs and a couple of forced shots. Against Venezuela, Chuck's four fouls limited him to 16 minutes. Chuck's 2009 Americas play was a mixed bag because foul trouble got him out of rhythm.

- Francisco Garcia failed to get in the flow and disappeared for long stretches. Only had six points until the last five secs of the game when he hit two 3PA, one meaningless. Fran's shooting has been a little off the mark through three games. Needs to get back to his '09 Americas self when he was draining bombs from deep and flying around on the defensive end.

- Jack Martinez continues to be an interior force in FIBA play. Martinez has always been a beast on the offensive glass (9) and today was no different: had four put-backs (three were tip-ins). He also drew fouls around the rim (6-for-11 FTA).


Not much to expand on about this game besides the obvious: Russia's defense is very, very good.

- Andrei Kirilenko (20 pts, 4 rebs, 3 stls) made a killing off of baseline cuts all game. Shredded the backline of Georgia's defense, mostly doing damage getting behind its zone. Scored off of two hybrid flash cut/quick posts, including one that drew a foul to put Russia up seven points with just under two minutes left. Drew fouls attacking the rim. Could've had more points but was errant from the FT stripe (2-for-7).

- Timo Mozgov gave Russia quality play during his 19 minutes of floor time. Was a solid defensive presence, particularly bodying up Pachulia very well. And was a perfect 3-for-3 on offense with a put-back dunk and two nice post scores by flashing middle. Though his tendency to take bad angles and general over-aggressiveness led to three fouls.

- They never let Zaza Pachulia get off and held him to 3-of-11 shooting. Would often force Georgia up against the shot clock. Suffocated Georgia in the 2nd Q., holding them to 11 pts and pressuring them into 6-7 TOs.

- Generally, anytime the ball moves into the basket area, I guarantee you'll have a second or third Russian in the vicinity. Their backline help is always superb. Then you have to be careful because Russia has someone like Monya or Kirilenko coming from behind to change your shot while you're being held up by the interior help. Multiple long-armed athletes pounce on the man with the ball.

- Georgia was held to 38.5% shooting. Russia always has sterling defensive 2PA numbers--usually in low 40%. It's been this way since David Blatt took over. They usually shutdown the 3pt. line as well, but were a little off today allowing Georgia to shoot 37%.

- Georgia was able to stick with Russia late because their zone was rather effective (besides Kirilenko's cuts), particularly in the 2nd half. Georgia held Russia scoreless for the first six minutes of the 4th quarter. Held them to 25 in the 2nd half using a heavy diet of zone.

- Mentioned in our preview that Russia's perimeter shooting is nothing special and they shot only 31.6% from deep vs, Georgia. Five of those six 3PA came from Vitali Fridzon and Sergey Monya, their two best shooters. Russia shot 29% in their first game. Just something to watch for the rest of the tourney.


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