Wednesday, September 07, 2011

FIBA Analysis (9/7): Argentina Upset By Brazil; Spain & France Hold On


Brazil pulled off the biggest upset of the Americas by handing Argentina its first loss. They made Argentina look ordinary. Coach Ruben Magnano worked some magic again, but this time it was against Argentina.

This game didn't have huge implications as both teams were already qualified for the semis, but it did matter for seeding and pride. Didn't get the sense that Argentina was mailing it in; believe they wanted to beat their rival at home and stay undefeated.
For whatever reason, they just seemed off.

Give Brazil some credit for Argentina's uneven game as their defense was solid. If there is one person who knows Argentina's tendencies, it's Magnano. He had Brazil well-prepared for Argentna's off-ball movement as Brazil sat back, rarely getting beat by cuts prevalent in the Argentine scheme.

Argentina only managed 12 assists after averaging 19.5 apg coming into the game. Their assisted FG pct. today was only 41% (12 of the 29 FG makes were assisted) while they came in with a 53% assisted FG pct.

Bizarre start to the game for Argentina as they lost Andres Nocioni to a twisted ankle on the jump ball. Noce was jumping center for an injured Fab Oberto, who was used sparingly. So Argentina had to make do with a threadbare frontcourt rotation.

Marcelo Huertas (17 pts, 2 assts) usually thinks pass first but Argentina was giving him scoring opportunities, so he made them pay. Marcelo hit multiple pull-up jumpers, mixed a few of his patented floaters and converted a sweet spin move drive to put Brazil up seven points with just over a minute left.

Tiago Splitter (1 point, 8 rebs, 3 assts) had a another rough outing on the offensive end failing to finish off shots (0-for-6). Had a couple shots rim in & out. But he did move the ball well, including a nifty behind-the-back pass to a cutting Vinicius.

Reserve center Rafael Hettscheimeir gave Brazil a huge lift off the bench with 19 pts on 9-of-11, 8 rebs & 2 stls. Rafael is known for his soft touch and it came in handy as Splitter was off his game. He hit hooks with both hands, made a nice banker off a spin move, a few mid-range jumpers including an inside-pivot jumper on the right block and stole an in-bound pass from Manu that led to a dunk.

SF Marcus Vinicius (14 pts) helped cover for Splitter's scoring no-show by drilling jumpers all over the floor. Thought his length gave Delfino problems.

Guilherme Giovannoni (13 pts, 8 rebs) did his job as the stretch-4 wonderfully, drilling three 3PT including a crucial make to put Brazil up 69-61 with 40 secs left. Thought Giovannoni's help defense was on point.

Luis Scola did most of his damage facing up, very few post scores. As usual, buried 4-5 pick-n-pop jumpers, mostly at the FT line. But thought Scola missed some shots he usually makes. Two questionable foul calls on Scola in the span of 30 secs fouled him out with 2:20 left and Argentina down five. Scola's interior defense on Hettscheimeir left a lot to be desired.

Scola seemed to be the only Argentine who was consistent throughout. The Argentine offense did not have it's normal crispness. Missed shots they normally make. Did have some unlikely defensive lapses where the weakside help didn't commit hard enough.

Manu Ginobili (14 pts) did not quite look like himself. Not sure if he was nursing an injury, but he could never find a good rhythm. Made a few good plays but tempered that with by throwing two in-bounds passes away. Made a big block on a Splitter dunk attempt, but it looked like he got a lot of arm on the replay.

After a strong first quarter, Carlos Delfino (12 pts) disappeared until the final minute of the game when he converted two tough shots.

Pablo Prigioni turned down too many good opportunities to score. Pablo has always been a reluctant shooter/scorer but thought the shots opportunities he passed up today hurt his team. Though he had 13 points, they came in two 30-second bursts. His first six points came on back-to-back 3pts. late in the 3rd. Then he scored seven points in the last 30 seconds when Brazil was playing prevent defense. Thought Prigioni's normal steady playmaking was off as well, forced some stuff.

Do like how Argentina made a concerted effort to go underneath ball screens with Huertas. Make Huertas a shooter, he's more dangerous probing. You wish teams defending Tony Parker would pay attention to what Argentina did.

If Brazil beats Puerto Rico later today, they get the first seed and avoid Argentina in the semis.


France held off Turkey after being up 13 points at the start of the 4th. France stays undefeated and becomes the first team to qualify for the quarterfinals.

Ragged game in which both teams shot just 35% from the field and neither could find the mark from deep.

No clue why Turkey waited until the 4th quarter to utilize its 2-1-2 zone. Turkey had so much success with their zone last summer and France is an ideal team to implement a zone against.

Turkey went with the zone for most of the 4th and it was key in getting them back in the game. France was held to 11 points in the quarter on 2-of-16 from the field. Les Bleus was 0-of-9 behind the arc in the 4th (4-for-17 total). France only scored six points in the quarter until Parker was purposedly fouled with under 20 secs left.

Saw very little Parker pick-n-roll against the zone. Besides a few scores off cuts, France was clanging shots for most of the quarter. When France does hit their long-range shots, they come off of Parker drawing defenders off p/n/r. We have been hammering home the fact that France should see copious amounts of zone. Make them beat you on deep shots.

Tony Parker pretty much did what ever he wanted with the ball on offense. Either using pick-n-roll or iso action, Parker hit multiple pull-ups and lay-ins where he blew by defenders. Tony ended with 20 pts, 6 rebs, 5 asst but missed all of his five 3PA. Again, another team decides pick up Parker 25+ feet then constantly go over the top of screens or getting hung up in the screens.

Nic Batum continues to be a reliable second fiddle to Parker. Nicky Batts produced in a variety of ways: post-up jumper, blowing by his man up high for slam, slam off of steal and pull-up off baseline screen. Throughout Euro '11, France has had good success curling Batum toward the lane on the right side. Batum was disruptive defensively once again.

Joakim Noah (7 pts, 4 rebs) couldn't finish off his shots (1-for-7) but he did guard well on the ball and as a helper.

Boris Diaw (0 pts, 5 rebs, 4 TOs) was trapped in his own headspace as he is wont to do every other game. Lost the ball a few times out of sheer laziness. Boris is usually good for 3-4 no-show games each tourney. Usually has a pattern of one game on, one game off.

Thought Turkey had plenty of makeable shots, they just did not connect. Including a great 3pt. look for Kerem Tunceri in the left corner with 0:25 left that could have given Turkey the lead.

Turkey hurt the France on the offensive glass--15 off. rebs to France's 22 def. rebs. But they gave back those extra possessions by turning over the ball 16 times (France had 9 TOs). Turkey also did not help its cause by fouling France 27 times.

Hedo Turkoglu (13 pts, 8 rebs, 2 stls) had a decent game scoring on some pull-ups and takes to the rim. But Hedo still can't find the range on his 3pt. shot (0-for-5) and he's just not producing at a high-enough level.

Omer Asik (10 pts & 11 rebs) did what he's supposed to do: rebound and patrol the painted area. Asik had three put-backs and was a major deterrent in the lane when he was on the floor. Was credited with one block but he changed multiple attempts. There were times when Parker held back from turning the corner because he saw Asik lurking.

Emer Preldzic continued his solid play in his inaugural season with Turkey, hitting a couple jumpers for 11 pts. Enes Kanter only saw 10 minutes of floor time. Ersan Ilyasova quietly pitched in 10 pts, 10 rebs and was another strong defensive presence on the backline.

Turkey's matchup vs. Serbia on Sunday looks like it will decide the final quarterfinal bid in Group E.


Spain did not play up to its capabilities but did do just enough to hold off Germany. Germany took the lead briefly at the start of the 4th, but lost focus in the 4th making poor decisions and not getting Dirk the ball enough.

Germany really killed its chances with turnovers, particularly in the 2nd half, when they coughed up 11 of their 16 TOs. Spain only had eight TOs, and they used the extra possessions Germany gave them to get to the FT line. Spain got to the FT line nearly twice as much. This was a game in which it was readily apparent Germany needs to upgrade their PG spot.

Germany did a nice job of slowing the tempo, which was in their favor since they can't keep up with Spain in a fast-paced affair. Spain looked rather mediocre today with Pau Gasol back in the lineup. Missed a bunch shots they usually make and only shot 41.7% overall. Spain continues to struggle behind the arc with a 25% 3pt. shooting day vs. Germany.

Marc was the most impressive Gasol today, putting up 24 pts & 5 rebs. Banged multiple turnarounds going over both shoulders. He set them up nicely with shoulder fakes or half-spins in the opposite direction. Marc made a killing at the FT line shooting 12-for-14.

Pau (19 pts, 7 rebs, 2 blks) really struggled to connect on his shots in the first half and scored all of his 19 pts in the 2nd half.

Juan Navarro (14 pts, 5 assts) was a nuisance for the defense once again constantly, scurrying off the ball. La Bomba hit a few shots coming off screens and his pick-n-roll action generated more points or drawn fouls for his team.

Reserve SF Fernando San Emerterio (12 pts) gave Spain some crucial minutes. Fernando hit a few 3PT and made two runners, in particular, a banker where set up his defender with a hesitation dribble that gave Spain a five-point lead in the 4th. Sneaky drives are his forte.

Chris Kaman had a terrific first half scoring 9 of 15 pts in the half. Kaman did damage by facing up and driving the ball (usually on Marc) for a couple buckets. His best move was when he isolated vs. Marc up high and shook him with a spin move for a lay-in. Kaman scored on a few cuts in the 2nd half but he coughed up two costly turnovers in the 4th (had 5 TOs total). Thought Kaman's activity level was good all game and he helped disrupt Spain's offense.

Dirk Nowitzki's 19 pts and 7 rebs basically neutralized Pau, but Germany needed a little more. Dirk rarely had any open looks and made a few tough ones with hands in his face. Seems like Dirk is not getting the space he normally he gets in the NBA season. Understand the defenses in FIBA can crowd him better, but it has seemed that Dirk sometimes doesn't have the legs to get separation during the tourney.

Germany goes to 0-3 in Group E and has a very slim chance of advancing. Might be able to beat Turkey, but have trouble envisioning they can beat Lithuania at home.


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