Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 2 From Olympic Men's Basketball - Aussies Slip To 0-2

This is the "Redeem Team" and not the Dream Team. There are spare seats everywhere. Are we at the Kingdome?

Men's basketball from the Olympic Games has been happening all day and the picture is getting a little clearer as to who will advance to the medal rounds. Sure it is early days, but teams that have secured 2-0 records can book their ticket to the next round, while the hole is getting a little too deep if you have fallen to 0-2.

Here is a look back at what happened.

Argentina 85 defeated Australia 68

The Boomers never troubled the South Americans and Luis Scola (17pts) continued to dine out on the Green and Gold defense and Manu Ginobili (21pts, 7ass) toyed with the Aussie defense as he penetrated and dished to his wide open teammates as well as knocking down key baskets.

As for the Aussies, they look lost and not assertive at all on offense. Patrick Mills (22pts) is being aggressive but when your point guard is dominating the shot total, this is not a good sign for team play.

The team had a total of nine assists on 29 made field goals for the game. This does not reflect to well on team basketball.

Meanwhile the oppositions in their two games against the Boomers have averaged 18.5 assists and have nailed a total of 23 three's. Most of these shots are wide open and have been created through good ball movement and the extra pass.

Brad Newley (although stat efficient) who is one of the few guys that can create his own shot is running around without any purpose to his movement. He needs to somehow find a way to become more involved at the offensive end. After all, he is there to score.

The big man rotations are not working out. This area is suppose to be the team's strength but there is no cohesion here. Andrew Bogut, Matt Nielsen, David Andersen and Chris Anstey have had not found any rhythm as a combination. They need to find it quickly and I hope this is achieved in the next game against Iran.

Is it time to panic for the Aussies. No, but we need to beat Iran in the next game or the players might as well get an Olympic schedule and start preparing what events they would like to see while in Beijing. (I highly recommend athletics, hockey, tennis.....)

If the team gets off to a slow start Coach Brian Goorjian is going to have to roll the dice on his rotations. Time is ticking and there are no "W's" in the most important column.


Lithuania 99 defeated Iran 67

Lithuania (2-0) had to rise and shine (9am tipoff) to play Iran (0-2) today after having an emotional four point win over Argentina less than 48 hours ago.

They were up to the task and thanks to the stellar play from Euro great, Sarunas Jasikevicius, the Lithunanians cruised in the second half to an easy win.

Jasikevicius finished the game with 20 points but it was his 15 first half points that set the Eastern Euros up nicely.

I must say I thought this Lithuanian team was not as strong as their past few Olympic teams but I have been proved wrong so far.

I should not have underestimated the great PG play at this level by Jasikevicius. There is no doubting he could not find his feet in the NBA but I can tell you first hand, this guy can control and win games at the international level.

I first came across Sarunas in 1995 when I was a member of the Gonzaga Bulldogs first NCAA appearance. We played the Maryland Terrapins and Jasikevicius was a member of this team. He has not looked back from those days.

Since that day I have competed against this guy too many times for my liking at the international level. He is one of those players that has the ability to control and win a game by himself. He is that good. He is truly a European great.

Back to the game. Denver Nugget Linas Kleiza lead the Baltic team with 22, while Hamed Ehadadi once again led the Iran team with 21.

A side note on Ehahadi: I'm going to go out on a limb and say that we will see Hamed and his soft touch in some NBA camp come October.


Croatia 85 defeated Russia 78

This game was about too much Zoran Planinic and the continued red hot three point shooting from the Croatians (2-0).

Planinic a NBA cast off played an efficient game today. Shooting 7/9 on his way to 20 points helped his team control the game from start to finish.

Croatia killed the Australian team the other night from deep (12-16 3's) and that story continued against the Russians. 8-15 was the damage today.

Marco Popovic led Croatia with 22.

Russia (1-1) was led by Utah Jazz star Andrei Kirilenko who had team highs in points (18) and rebounds (6).

It doesn't get an easier for these teams as Russia plays Lithuania next and Croatia gets the defending gold medallists, Argentina.


Greece 87 defeated Germany 64

This game was about a team of champions playing a champion team.

Germany's NBA pair of Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman could not match the team play of Greece.

Nowitzki and Kaman combined for 17 points on 4/11 shooting and 8 rebounds. I'm sure Greece would have taken that before the game.

On the other hand, Greece had 9 players trouble the scoreboard with one time NBAer Vassilis Spanoulis leading the scoring with 23.

It was the Greeks team defense that allowed them to get the easy win. They crowded and made it hard for Kaman to operate down low and double team Dirk at every opportunity.

In the end they restricted the German's to 36% from the field.

Side note: German great Detlef Schrempf has added pressure by saying a medal is needed now.

Germany plays Spain next, while Greece will play the USA.


Spain 85 defeated China 75 (OT)

The game of the day. Spain had to fight back from being 14 points down in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.

Spain's electric backup backcourt of Rudy Fernandez and Ricky Rubio (17yo) ignited the Spanish fight back.

Fernandez who will play for the Portland Trailblazers this NBA season ended the game with a near triple double, 21pts, 8 ass, 9 rebs.

Rubio scored 1 point but it was his defense that sparked Spain into action. His game high 5 steals and 4 assists is what allowed them back into the game.

Knotted at 72's after regulation, Spain outscored the host nation 13-3 in the extra period.

LA Laker Pau Gasol lead Spain with 29pts and 8 rebs, while Houston Rocket Yao Ming had 11 pts and 9 rebs before fouling out.

Yi Jianlian still struggles through the Olympics. Playing 38 minutes the New Jersey Net produced 4 pts (2/4) and 9 rebs. i'm confident in saying they would be looking for a little more offensive punch from him.

Liu Wei led China with 19 points.


USA 97 defeated Angola 76

The USA (2-0) "redeem team" played another solid and well rounded game against Angola (2-0).

Dwayne Wade continued his hot shooting (6/8) on the way to leading the Americans with 19 points. wade is leading the team in scoring @ 19 a game but the remarkable stat is he is shooting 87% from the field.

Meanwhile the Angolians played without their best player, Olimpio Cipriano, who will miss the rest of the Olympics due to a shoulder injury.

25 turnovers was the killer for the African champions and the USA converted many of these into easy fastbreak points.

The USA is now done with the easy part of their schedule. They now finish the remainder of pool play with Greece, Germany and Spain.

Angola takes on the host nation, China, next.


GAME TIME: The Australian Opals play tomorrow night against Korea. Tipoff is 10pm Down Under time.

Blog of Note

Check out A Stern Warning. This Aussie blogger covers everything that I don't, so there is a lot to check out.

NBL News

Adelaide 36ers sign their second import, Temple grad Mark Tyndale.
Sydney Spirit hold onto nickname.
Taipans rookie Kerry Williams shines in first appearance.
Sydney Spirit down Purdue Boilermakers again. boxscore
Aaron Grabau continues to fight off injury.
Wade Helliwell to remain in Italy.

Andrew Bogut talking Olympic Hoops


PaulieDanger said...

Would you quit linking to me if I told you I wasn't Australian?

John Rillie said...

sure..sorry about that.