Notes From FIBA Day 2

Hooked on Love. (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)

ISTANBUL – Day 2 of the World Championship is in the books. The U.S. had a bit of a rough stretch between the first and second quarters against Slovenia, but they recovered well for another win by 20-plus.

That ugly stretch and the travel calls, specifically, were the focus of today’s post-game analysis.

As you’ll read there, Boki Nachbar thought that there weren’t enough of those travel calls made against the U.S. on Sunday. And from all the whistles I heard, I’d say that the Slovenian fans in the crowd agreed with him.

I was actually asking Boki about the refs calling the game loose, because it seemed to me that the U.S. was allowed to push the Slovenians around a bit defensively (even more contact than you regularly see in FIBA ball). But here was his full response…

“The one thing that bothers me is too many times the refs looked away when they traveled. This is FIBA basketball. In FIBA basketball, you’re not allowed to take two steps before you put the ball down. And too many times, the refs don’t call that when Team USA’s on the floor. That’s the only thing that I have to say. Otherwise, they were good.”

***

Kevin Love is beastly. He’s now got 21 boards in 26:38 of playing time over the last two days. That’s 31.5 rebounds per 40 minutes. Not bad.

“That’s what I do,” he says. “That’s how I make my money.”

He admits, though, that his role is a little different than it is back in Minnesota.

“Playing with all these guys, they definitely open up the floor. I know that if I’m going to stay in the game and play minutes, I have to get out there and get every rebound. That’s kind of what coach tells me. Right before I go in the game, he says ‘get me every rebound.’”

And coach Mike Krzyzewski will probably be telling him that a little earlier in the game on Monday.

***

Things continue to go as planned in Group B, with Croatia beating Iran and Brazil cruising past Tunisia. This group will start to get interesting on Monday.

And Nachbar admitted today that his team is focused on its next two games.

“That wasn’t the most important game in the tournament for us, so we’re not too worried or concerned,” he said after Sunday’s loss to the U.S. “Croatia and Brazil are the most important games. They’re our rivals for the second spot in the group, so those are the most important games for us.”

Slovenia plays Croatia in the first game on Monday.

***

For now, the other groups are where the fun is at.

Group D almost had another shocker, as Canada led Lithuania by 17 points midway through the third quarter before blowing the lead missing on three chances to win or tie in the final minute-plus. The win keeps Lithuania tied with France atop the group.

Puerto Rico put another scare into Greece in Group C, but it was Group A that had the two most thrilling games.

Germany upset Serbia 82-81 in double-OT with the Germans’ final points coming on a ridiculous shot by Jan Jagla and Milenko Tepic missing on a drive that could have won it for Serbia in the final seconds.

So I guess Serbia won’t completely withstand the suspensions of Nenad Krstic and Milos Teodosic after all.

And in the nightcap in Kayseri, Argentina used a 13-0 fourth-quarter run to come back and beat Australia, but not before they came a hair away from blowing it in the final seconds.

Argentina was inbounding the ball with a two-point lead and 3.5 seconds on the clock, but they threw the inbounds pass away without it touching anyone. Australia then inbounded the ball into the corner, and Adam Gibson’s three went in … and out.

So at 2-0, Argentina is the only team in the World Championship that sits alone atop its group’s standings.

***

The U.S. will conclude their three games in three days with Monday’s matchup vs. Brazil (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Brazil has beaten Iran and Tunisia by almost identical scores (81-65 and 80-65), the only team in the tournament, other than the U.S. to have won two games by 15 points or more.

Essentially, this game is for first place in Group B. If the U.S. wins, they’re on their way to a 5-0 mark. And if Brazil wins, they’re not likely to lose two more, and would have the tie-breaker against the U.S. should both teams finish 4-1.

Anderson Varejao, still nursing a sore ankle, has sat out the first two games. But the word from the Brazilian media is that he will play against the U.S., and maybe against Slovenia on Wednesday if his team needs him.

Monday will be an opportunity for American fans to get a good look at Tiago Splitter, who will be playing with the San Antonio Spurs next season.

***

If the U.S. beats Brazil, then we can start looking ahead to their possible round-of-16 matchups and what other teams will be on their side of the bracket, because neither Iran or Tunisia will have a chance against them.

***

Turkish lesson of the day: İyi günler! = Have a nice day!

***

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

38 Comments

  1. jared says:

    It’s just about the attitude I think, these guys are way less hollywood and way more selfless than the 08′ USA olympic team. As an avid NBA fan it’s really been beautiful to watch these guys really bring it play great basketball. They are all turning into some of my favorite players in the game. By the way I’m with you Marc I’ve been seeing the emergence of Kevin Love coming, and now he’s feeling more comfortable with that jumper so now he’s even more deadly. I’m actually kind of blown away with how good he is on the glass. That rebound he had while the Slovenian had him in a arm bar was so great. Go USA!

    • marc gonzalez says:

      kevin love is actually 1 of if not, ARGRUBLY the best rebounders in the nba. if you look at his rebounding numbers during the regular season youll see. the thing about him is that he gets injured sooo much. last year he averaged 10 rebounds a game and only played about 22 minutes a game. rebounds per 40 minutes or whatever hes amazing. had him on my faNTASY TEAM LAST SEASON, AUTOMATIC DOUBLE DOUBLE……. IF HES HEALTY

  2. walkerdog says:

    If the US had its best players every year,there would never be a close game. GO USA

  3. marc gonzalez says:

    ARE NBA ANALYSTS TRYING TO MAKE THIS TOURNAMENT SOUND LIKE A GREAT COMPETITION BECAUSE THERES NO OTHER NEWS IN THE NBA BESIDES MELO’S BORING CONTRACT EXTENSION OFFER AND CRAWFORD WANTING TO GET TRADED? I GET ON NBA.COM EVERY SINGLE DAY AND READ EVERY NEW ARTICLE. I KEEP UP WITH EVERY TRANSACTION, DURING THE SEASON I WATCH AND/OR READ ABOUT EVERY SINGLE GAME.. IF YOU ARE TRUELY A BASKETBALL FAN YOU KNOW THAT YOU IS GOING TO SWEEP THE FLOOR WITH EVERY TEAM THEY PLAY. PAO GASOL IS 1 OF THE ONLY INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS THAT CAN CONSISTANTLY SCHOOL OTHER NBA PLAYERS BUT HES NOT IN THE TOURNAMENT. NEITHER IS GINOBILI AND DIRK NOWISKI. WITHOUT A PLAYER AT THAT CALIBER NATIONAL TEAMS ARENT GONNA BE ABLE TO COMPETE WITH A VERY GOOD USA TEAM. AND TEAM USA IS ONLY GETTING BETTER AND BETTER IN GIANT LEAPS WITH EVERY HALF THEIR ON THE COURT TOGETHER.
    PROPS TO KEVIN LOVE FOR WHAT HES DOING OUT THERE. I LEFT A COMMENT ABOUT A WEEK AGO ABOUT TEAM USA HAVING TO START USING KEVIN LOVE ALOT MORE AND GUESS WHAT, THEY DID! STEP IT UP NBA.COM, YOUR ARTICLES ARE ALWAYS TOPICS MY FREINDS AND I TALK ABOUT DAYS BEFORE YOU ALL DO

  4. Adileu says:

    GO USA!!

  5. junior says:

    VAAI BRASIL É NÓS, VAMOS GANHAR DELES…

  6. [...] 26 minutes of play, which comes out to an insane 31.5 rebounds per 40 minutes (h/t J.E. Skeets via John Schuhmann). How is Love able to grab so many rebounds? By simply outworking and outsmarting his [...]

  7. ralberio says:

    ‘Essentially, this game is for first place in Group B. … And if Brazil wins, they’re not likely to lose two more, and would have the tie-breaker against the U.S. should both teams finish 4-1.’
    Not completely correct: there could be 3 teams tied with a 4-1 record, with Slovenia or Croatia. and if this third team does not blow Brazil (and Brazil does not blow the US) the US will still be first (for goal difference). If this other team blows Brazil by say 30+ then they will be first.

    • marc gonzalez says:

      Y ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT IFS??? THERES NO WAY THAT BRAZIL IS GONNA BEAT USA. EVERY TEAM IN THE TOURNAMENT IS PLAYING FOR SECOND PLACE. AS FAR AS GROUP B, EVERY TEAM EXCEPT USA IS PLAYING FOR 2ND IN THE GROUP. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO MAKE THIS TOURNAMENT SOUND LIKE ITS GONNA BE CLOSE OR NOONE KNOWS WHOS GONNA WIN. THATS FOOLISH.

      • ralberio says:

        just quoted the article and questioned its conclusions about the chances of winning group B.
        as to how close any ball game can get, well you may have seen Brazil playing the US tonight…

  8. marc gonzalez says:

    first of all. the 1st guy who commented said that puerto rico can win the Gold. Put it in your head that only US can win Gold. they have 2 nba point guards, ur right. But every player for US plays in the NBA. Every Guard, every foward and the 1 center we have are ALL IN THE NBA. even when/if we play greece, argentina and/or spain were gonna win by double digits. NOONE STANDS A CHANCE!!!!! But i will admit i am looking foward to watching Tiago Splitter play. Definetly NOT a Spurs fan but bein a Texan i need to know what he can attribute to S.A.
    Team USA GOT GOLD LOCKED DOWN!!! oh and yea, US did do sum traveling. sure the refs are gonna call it more now that all the everyones crying bout it

  9. Chris says:

    It is good to see the U.S. Doing so well, it lets you know there is a future for U.S. basket ball with such big names as lebron, anthony, and any other big name just want to make money and not sport his own God-given countrys jersey. So, I say, don’t show big names, we don’t need you, you can play ball, or flip burgers, it’s all the same to the american people, you aren’t nessecary for U.S. success. Peace.

  10. Carlos says:

    What was done in the game Puerto Rico vs Greece is a disgrace. FIBA Executives should take a close look to the review of this game and do something about it. Referees should not be the ones to decide game, they should let that to players. If you review this game you will see the reefs calling 11 soft fouls against Puerto Rico in the last 3:30 minutes of the 4th quarter and they let Greece to get away with a lot of fouls. 0 fouls against Greece in the last minutes of the last quarter. Today was against Puerto Rico, next time can be USA, Brazil, Argentina or Canada.

  11. Classified says:

    The traveling call is the hardest thing for an American player playing by FIBA rules. When you play everything is instinct so these guys aren’t thinking “Put the ball down before you take a step”.

    But with that being said, USA will still win it all, unless they meet a hot team that pounds them inside and fluke it out.

    I would like to see one of these tournaments be played with NBA rules, and NBA 3-point line. The USA would win every game by 50 points.

    • marc gonzalez says:

      in 2012 FIBA is gonna move the 3 point line back to NBA regulation. change the paint from trapazoid or whatever it is to a rectangle like in the NBA. and the circle in the paint for charging fouls like the NBA. i believe your rite…. 50+ point victories

  12. edinprizren says:

    U.S.A will win the championship

  13. jake says:

    The only way to put pression on this kids is playing against teams with heart & strength. hard defence, slowing up the game and maybe a flagrant foul or two to calm down those athletic USA boys.
    Only Argentina and greece are capable for such a game.
    Oberto, Jasen, Roman defensivly with Scola, Delfino and prigioni in the offensive side maybe a headache for coach Krzyzewski. he tasted it in the last olympics. it was only 20 with the megastars. lets see if those kids you sent have enough heart to play against a sentimental group that will kill itself on the floor for each basket, each foul, each ball.

    white man can’t jump, but they can beat hard!

    let manu and nocioni join this group and let see what happend.
    With the excuse of the contracts, the NBA had forbbiden to the Most important European players to participate.
    Chicken Chicken Chicken!

    VAMOS ARGENTINA CARAJO!

  14. Pnightmare says:

    You know, the rules for travelling in basketball are the same all over the world – in the NBA, they just choose not to whistle such travelling. And definitely not all travel calls were whistled in the first two US games. Team USA would win them either way, but I would like to see them stack up against healthy Greek or even Brazil centers – those should be tight games, where travel calls could make a difference.

  15. periong says:

    All in, the USA World Team will win the 2010 World Championsip(handily!) in Turkey. It’s foolish to think otherwise.

  16. Dave says:

    Nachbar is spot on. Sadly enough every US player travels on nearly every possession. However, players do TRY to limit it in Fiba basketball, since the Nba is usually a moondancing contest. In any case, Durant and co. should easily win every game.

  17. Johny says:

    Americans are the most athletic players, the white guy just cannot do that.

    But still, do not be confident in U.S win unless they stand in the middle of ceremony with the trophy.

    Anything could happen :)

  18. dash1ne says:

    Hey i was wondering about the Australia Vs Argentine game, as gibsons last ditch shot rimmed out an argentine player rebounded the ball and kicked it into the stands isnt that a tech foul? was australia robbed free throws? jsut curious

  19. furkan says:

    HE DOes everyting

    LET’S GO TURKEY!

  20. papakits says:

    the usa will win…against brazil…but i think they cant win easily against argentina, greece,,and especially spain who made them suffer in exibition game…

  21. Alfred says:

    It is all the way for the Team USA. Brazil can’t keep with the speed and teamwork they had shown. it is just matter of which team can settle for silver medal.

  22. Jess Marc says:

    Brazil will be easy for USA!!! just limit the turnovers and give the ball to Kevin Durant and I think USA will win it all :)

    • Torsten says:

      Brazil easy? I doubt it… The U.S. should win this game but I don’t believe it’s gonna be a walk in the park. In fact I think Brazil has a good enough team to give the U.S. some trouble… We’ll see…

  23. Jess Marc says:

    first GO USA

  24. Miami Heat says:

    Go Team USA!

  25. Filipino guy says:

    Whew,,, the usual Euro crying when they loose, They talk too muc, they cry too muc!!! Its as if they lost by a point in the match,,, C’mon Nachbar!!! You lost by 20 plus points!!!

  26. baylorbball says:

    can somebody explain to me why players such as lebron, carmelo, cp3 and so forth arent playing? did they choose not to or is there a rule that wont let them compete? ive heard both. either way i feel like aside from durant chauncey billups is the most important piece to this team due to his leadership and experience. i also feel like russel westbrook is a great player but i wish we had a big man in his place. i kno there is kind of a lack of them at the moment though

    • Zzanzabar says:

      I’m pretty sure it is their (players) choice. There is a ‘try out’ period of course but the better players are usually a ‘shoe in’ for a spot. Many have prior commitments, others want a rest after a long season (sometimes including the playoffs), and still others have their teams request that they do not play for fear of injury. It is not unusal for US players to miss the FIBA but still be avialable for the Olympics (since they happen every 4 years).

      The absence of some of the well known stars from the U.S.A. teams is usually why FIBA squads are often referred to as the ‘B’ team. It is also one of the main reasons that the US hasn’t won this particular tournament since 1994.

    • marc gonzalez says:

      there isnt any rule that says they cant play… jerry colangelo is in charge of team usa and he let them all rest this summer plus i dnt think they wanted to play or they wouldve. sum of them are gnna play in the olympics in 2012

  27. damnheat says:

    im impressed with the u.s.a team. at the same time i also believe that the u.s. should win every championship it ever plays for. i understand that other countries have become good basketball teams but they should never be able to come close to the u.s. nothing against the great international teams like spain and argentina. im glad that there is competition but the u.s. easily has the best players in the world.

  28. James says:

    Complaining about traveling must be the single most over-rated complaint ever lodged against a team. A couple completely questionable travel calls against the USA team crushed the momentum of an early run. However one need only look as far as the Spanish team to see players moonwalking across the floor, taking far more steps than the American players and not being called for anything – simply because they’re doing it slower. These refs clearly aren’t used to seeing pace like Rose, Billups or Westbrook’s. To the contrary they flail their arms and get fouls called in their favor.
    FIBA should make a rule, and call it consistently, but they can’t even manage that. Team America could win every game by 40 points if they would start flailing and flopping around like Spain, but who would want to watch that?
    Is there any doubt why people would rather watch the NBA? These FIBA games amount to little more than a test of one’s patience.

    • Excuse Me! says:

      The US do a lot of traveling on the court. And it gives you a big advantage. Especially average ballhandlers would have to play much slower if they had to dribble right after the catch (not making 2 steps dribble one time then make another 3 steps and dunk, Lebron could race the whole floor with one dribble that way). Also defenders are expecting a shot after the second step, if the opponent is alowed to make one more step it’s likely a foul or score.

      • RJ says:

        Basketball is basketball. We are too quick to defend with or without the two steps. LeBron James is quicker and faster than 90% of the players in FIBA as is Derrick Rose and most of our superstars. The travel call is an EXCUSE….we simply have better athletes and basketball players in the US…..and other countries don’t like to admit that but it’s the truth…..FIBA rules favor the international play and you they have to take into account that these guys are playing in the best basketball league in the world and many have played NCAA and Highschool ball also and so there is a distinct difference between the rules deeply rooted inb our guys…..

  29. sev says:

    puerto rico should be the favorite to win gold. the talent level is insane. I follow a lot of basketball so when I looked at puerto rico’s roster for the first time, I thought, I didn’t even know he was puerto rican(same with the dominicans). Look they have 2 nba point guards, they have the most size of any team in the rournament and they are facing a weaker field then most expected due to all the injuries to top teams. They will probably medal, but I think they are good enough to win gold.