Sunday, July 20, 2008

Greece and Croatia Off To Beijing, Who Will Join Them?

Thought you were worthy of being an NBA cheerleader, click on the picture and dare to dream.

When you wake up from your weekend's adventures and head in to work Monday morning, the 12 teams competing at the Beijing Olympic Games will be finalized.

Yesterday, Greece defeated Puerto Rico 88-63 to advance to the final of the qualifying tournament, but more importantly the Greeks have punched their ticket to the Games.

Greece started the tournament as favourites so it is no surprise they coasted into the final of the FIBA tournament on home soil.

In the other semi final Croatia got the better of Germany despite Dallas Maverick Dirk Nowitzki having a monster game. Nowitzki's 30 points and 13 rebounds was not enough to combat Croatia's team effort.

The final score was 76-70.

Croatia makes their return to the Olympics after missing out in Athens in 2004, while Greece will try and secure a medal after missing out four years ago.

With Greece and Croatia on their way to Beijing, I would love to be in Athens to see the Germans and the Puerto Ricians go at it for that final spot.

To me, this is actually the championship game of the tournament. There is so much on this one game.

I'm sure Dirk will be looking to have a big game and help his country get to the Olympics. This might help erase some of his recent NBA playoff disappointments.

I cannot wait to wake up in the morning and find out the result of this game. One team will leave Athens very, very disappointed, the other over the moon.

Onto the final. There has been a little speculation around this game, especially the result.

You win this game and you join the bracket of Lithuania, Argentina, Australia, Iran and Russia.

You lose, you play host China, the USA, Angola, Spain and the winner of the third place game of the FIBA tournament in your pool games at the Olympics.

A lot of the philosophies centre around when do you want to match up against the USA. Some countries want to play them in pool action so you do not have to cross over against them to reach the medal games.

Others will take their chances and hope they do not have to meet them until a medal game. Then they roll the dice and hope they have a good one against them.

Personally I believe you have to play to win every game and let the chips fall where they do. If you start trying to map your path, you will stuff up somewhere along the way. Whether it is you dropping a game you thought you would win, or some other team causing and upset you did not see coming.

At the Olympics, if you are playing good enough to win a medal, you will beat whoever is in your way.

Argentina was a great example of this in Athens. I watched nearly all the basketball games played (yes enter your own joke at my expense) and I could see that Argentina had an edge about their game.

It did not matter if it was the USA or New Zealand, they played the same way.

In the end you can say that this attitude paid off, they won the gold.

Lets get back on track, Germany or Puerto Rico? I will say the combination of NBA stars Nowitzki and Los Angles Clippers centre Chris Kaman will be too much for the guys from the Americas.

And the final. I'll stick with the home team, Greece. I feel they could be a medal contender next month in Beijing.

Let the Games begin!

Other News

"He’s the kind of thin that makes you think of pipe cleaners, Calista Flockhart and M.C. Hammer’s wallet. He’s as long as Lawrence of Arabia and as wide as a crack in the sidewalk. He’s as skinny as Pete Wentz’s jeans and as lean as Stouffer’s diet cuisine." -'s Dave McMenamin describing Golden State Warriors rookie Anthony Randolph.

Click here and read how Randolph is making people look past his build. You got a love a guy like this. Well, Leroy Loggins and I can.

Click here for all your Vegas Summer League news and scores.

Nathan Jawai finally got his Summer League and NBA career underway over the weekend. Big Nate opened his account against the Los Angles Lakers. Starting and playing 24 minutes Nate produced 8 points and 6 rebounds. Today Jawai backed up that performance with a 13 point, 5 rebounds game. (click on the above link to see boxscores and highlights)

Click here to get the latest scores and news from the Rocky Mountain Revue (Utah Jazz Summer League). Anyone who is interested, the Olympic bound Iranian team is playing in the Revue.

From the Torres News - Mills in, Jawai out

"And "Nude Nights" should be scheduled without warning. This Festival of Flesh would get everyone talking hoops. You know what they say about men with big feet. Once the public tried a night courtside, with everything hanging out, they would be hooked." - The Courier Mail and HG Nelson's take on what needs to happen for basketball to grab the headlines.

Nate Tomlinson (former King's assistant coach Bill Tomlinson's son) getting the wraps from Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik and other Aussies having an impact in college.

Stick a fork in the Tall Blacks. Their Olympic dream is over, thanks to the Greeks. The question now must be, when will they get their next Olympic berth? I cannot see them hosting the world's largest Games any time soon.

Matt Smith returns to the Snakes.

Ever Wonder What Happened To Brett Wheeler?

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