Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic Men's Hoops Preview, Opals Win and More

AK47 has no answer to some Bogey Man treatment.

Iran vs Croatia (11am AEST)

Iran(0-3) was a surprise to make it this far so they are happy that only five games interrupt their two week party in Beijing.

Although they have a long way to go to be a force on the world stage, Iran has a player by the name of Hamed Ehadadi that will make his way onto many NBA scouts notes, eventually.

As for Croatia(2-2) they will want to finish pool play off strong. They have lost their last two games after getting out of the blocks fast.

The extent of Marko Popovic's injury could determine how far this team goes. He sat out the last game.

Winning this game will see them finish third in Group A. The reward for this is a matchup with Spain to make it to the Final Four.

Australia vs Lithuania (1.15pm AEST)

Australia (2-2) have hit form at the right time of the tournament. They need to keep the momentum going against the undefeated Litho's (4-0).

The Aussies form has turned 180 degrees since the Beijing Games tipped off. Coming of a great win over Russia, the Boomers need a victory here if they wish to sneak into the third seed position.

A loss in this game will see them remain in fourth which means a quarter final match up against the "Seppos" (USA).

Lithuania on the other hand has been steady as she goes. They have been rock solid throughout the tournament so far. Behind the solid play of Sarunas Jasikevicius and Linas Kleiza they should find themselves go through group play undefeated.

Finishing first in Group A will see them more than likely play China in a quarter final matchup. A scary game for Lithuania if you ask me. Simply be having Yao in the middle in a one off game spells trouble on the wrong night for any opposition.

Greece vs China (4.30pm AEST)

Could be the game of the day. Before the Olympic Games started I would of said Greece (2-2) in a canter but China (2-2) has some good momentum at present and Yao is improving with his health.

Having watched Greece over the past few games, something is just missing from what they had in 2006 at the World Championships.

I still think Greece will win this game due to their superior depth in the guards but they better contain Yao early. If this doesn't happen they will be forced to trap and scramble on defense which will allow the Chinese shooters to have an impact on the game.

In saying this, it will be China's guards that become its downfall. The Greek guards pride themselves on defense so they will disrupt and make life though for Liu Wei.

A Greece win will see them face Argentina in the quarter finals.

Angola vs Spain (18.45pm AEST)

Angola's (0-4) free flowing style will see them win zero games at this Olympics. Once considered a danger team at world competitions, I think all teams respect their play now, so there is no sneaking up on anyone anymore..

They just do not have the depth or size to play teams when they cannot catch them off guard.

Spain (3-1) will be looking to put this one to bed early so the can get to the quarter finals with players healthy and in rhythm. I'm sure they are already looking for a rematch with the USA team in the Final Four.

USA vs Germany (10.00pm AEST)

A disappointing tournament for the Germans (1-3) but it just goes to show how losing your point guard before the Games can really hurt your team.

Although loaded up front with NBAers Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman they struggled to play consistent ball through the tournament. Losing to China was the final nail in the coffin for this team.

Does this just add to the stigma of Dirk not being able to lead his team to glory?

Meanwhile the USA has slowly been building throughout the tournament. After good wins against Greece and Spain, Coach K will be hoping his troops do not take a step backwards against Germany.

The USA will get a quarter final match up against Australia. I'm looking forward to a little Chris Paul/Pat Mills action in this game. Mills blew by Paul several times in a Pre Olympic game.

Argentina vs Russia (12.15am Tuesday AEST)

Argentina (3-1) have had only the one hiccup. That being against Lithuania. A star studded team lead by San Antonio Spur Manu Ginobili, I'm sure they are not that unhappy that they will end up meeting the USA in the final, if both teams keep winning.

Finishing second in Group A will see them not crossing over with the USA until the Gold Medal game. A promoters dream. "Redeem Team" vs the current Olympic champions.

That is actually how I see it panning out.

Russia have been disappointing. Winning the European Championship last year no one would have thought this would be one of the four teams to not advance after group play.

It just goes to show how close and fickle the competition can be at an Olympic Games. Loss at the wrong time and you are done.

My prediction for how this tournament will end is: Gold - USA, Silver - Argentina, Bronze - Spain.

We will see if I'm on the money in a week.

Other News

Brad Newley: "Aussie heart - that's what it was. We really fought" - courtesy of Fiba.com

"When you are 20 (actually 16) points down and suddenly look up there and you see your dream slipping away, something clicks in,” Australian Opal Lauren Jackson said. - courtesy of Fiba.com boxscore vs russia

"A guy that can make plays and can handle the ball -- that takes a lot of pressure off me handling the ball a whole lot," Mo Williams said. "I'm more than comfortable playing off the ball. That's one of my strengths, and I really get to use that strength now." - courtesy of espn.com

Sounds like Mo Williams is trying to say all the right things right now. There is no doubting that Williams is an upgrade from what the Cavs have previously had at the point guard spot. However I will be watching to see how he and LeBron co-exist as they are both used to handling the ball a lot.

Mo may be good "off the ball" but his strength is with the ball. If they can get along together the Cavs might want to add a spot up shooter as they pursue a championship. I happen to know a guy that would fit this role well.

Chicago Bull Ben Gordon believes he has played his last game in his Bulls uniform.

Mike Finley to stay with the San Antonio Spurs.

While Gonzaga's senior point guard Jermey Pargo returned to Spokane to enhance his NBA stock, his brother (Jannero) on the other hand has decided to flea to Europe. Read here to see how 3500000 reasons made his decision easy.

Check out this blog, The Painted Area. It has some good bites and pieces from hoops at the Olympics.

I just put this Channing Frye footage here to keep A Stern Warning happy.


I received an e-mail asking me to post this link. Please go and sign up (no matter where you live) as the basketball community in Australia desperately needs and wants free to air TV. I need J.E. Skeets and his Ball Don't Lie team to flex their muscle to the masses so free to air TV Down Under can once again become a reality.

The Courier Mail's Bernie Pramberg talks with former Brisbane Bullet Andre Moore. Good to see that "Andre the Giant" is helping the kids have fun.

Anthony Stewart and his Hobart Chargers are champs. Is this the same guy that could not help us win a game while he was in Crocs colours?

LeBron interview pre Olympics with Time Magazine

1 comment:

mookie said...

I like the Frye link indeed... some positive news from the Blazers always helps! Fingers crossed for no more injuries.