Notes From FIBA Day 5

ISTANBUL – Day 5 at the 2010 FIBA World Championship brought some key games, but USA-Iran was not one of them. As expected, the U.S. rolled to an easy win.

Did they accomplish anything other than clinching first place in Group B? I tried to answer that question in the postgame analysis.

Check out the quote near the bottom from Andre Iguodala about defensive communication. They’ll definitely need it against the teams that execute well offensively like Brazil did in the first half on Monday.

***

Jerry Colangelo mentioned after tonight’s game that the team had a great meeting in the morning. I don’t know the details, but here’s what Iguodala had to say about it…

“Coach K does a great job of motivating his teams. He showed us the difference between the games we played against Croatia and Slovenia versus the game we played against Brazil.”

And there’s little doubt that the staff made the players aware of the likelihood that they’ll face Greece or Spain in the quarterfinals, because both Iguodala and Rudy Gay admitted to knowing about the scenario that has been playing out in Groups C and D.

“Whether you play them in the first round or the gold medal round, you’ve still got to play your best basketball,” Iguodala said. “It just calls us to key in for the early rounds and hopefully, get wins. And it prepares us for the medal rounds.”

***

The big game at the Abdi Ipekci Arena today was the nightcap between Brazil and Slovenia. Brazil was clearly the tougher test for the U.S. and it also got Anderson Varejao back for this game, but it was Slovenia that captured second place in Group B with an impressive 80-77 win.

That puts Slovenia on the more wide-open half of the bracket, the one without the U.S. and likely without Spain or Greece. And now Brazil will play Croatia for third place in Group B on Thursday. If Brazil wins that one, they’ll be on the same half of the bracket as the U.S. and play the loser of tomorrow’s Argentina-Serbia game in the round of 16. No matter which of those two teams it is, that would be a must-watch matchup.

That Argentina-Serbia game could be the biggest of the day, and you can watch it on NBA TV at noon ET. The winner will finish first in Group A and be on the easier side of the bracket. The loser will finish second and likely have to play Brazil on Tuesday.

***

After their game was over tonight, the U.S. players caught the end of the Angola-Germany game in their locker room. Germany had a four-point lead with 30 seconds to go in regulation, but couldn’t hold on to it. They lost in overtime and were eliminated from qualifying for the round of 16.

Now, Angola will play Australia on Thursday, with the loser finishing fourth in Group A and facing the U.S. in the round of 16. The winner will finish third and face Slovenia.

***

I’ve written and tweeted plenty about the possibility of Spain (as D3) and Greece (as C2) facing each other in the round of 16, but it’s no guarantee. In fact, I think I was wrong when I wrote yesterday that Spain can finish no better than third in Group D.

Check out this scenario: If New Zealand beats France and Spain beats Canada on Thursday, then France, New Zealand and Spain would all be tied for second place at 3-2. The first tie-breaker is head-to-head, but all three teams would have one win and one loss against the other two.

The next tie-breaker would be what FIBA calls “goal average,” which is calculated by points scored / points allowed in the two head-to-head games. Here’s where the three teams stand before Thursday’s action.

France = 72/66 = 1.091 goal average (and would go down with a loss to New Zealand)
New Zealand = 84/101 = 0.832 GA (and would go up with a win over France)
Spain = 167/156 = 1.071 GA

So if New Zealand can upset France and take France’s GA below 1.071, Spain could finish second in the group and avoid that game against Greece.

Greece could also avoid it … if they lose to Russia on Thursday. That game is for second place in Group C.

Of course, if Spain finishes second in Group D and Greece finishes third in Group C, they’d still play each other …  on the other half of the bracket.

That’s a lot to think about …  and a lot of games to watch on Thursday.

***

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

23 Comments

  1. Kestas says:

    Well, well, well.. Greece looked like they were forced to go out on court and lost to very average Russia (without Kirilenko or Khriapa, of course). Yeah, only by 4 points, but they were trailing by ~20 deep in the second half, so.. Anyways, all that “effort” just to see France losing to NZ, which puts Greece against… Spain in the quarters :))))) While “unlucky” second place finishers Russia will play New Zealand for the place in Top-8. But the biggest winner of them all appears to be USA. They will now play the weakest top-16 team Angola and will then face either Russia or New Zealand in the quarters. This must be the easiest scenario one could have ever imagined. In case of the win here US would face Lithuania, China, Argentina or Brasil (if I am not mistaken) for the place in the final. So for all of us here who understand that US have just an average *team* with above average (individually only) players, – we’ll have to wait for at least the semis to put that on test. BTW, if there’s Lithuania in the semis (which is unlikely, although I am Lithuanian), I expect a rather easy win for the US, unless our team improves beyond rational limits.. It is possible, but would be very difficult with majority of our guys being completely new to the team and the age average being only 24 or something like that…

  2. delrio says:

    Well, it is not 167/156 = 1.071. It is 167 – 156 = +11. The result would be the same but I think this one is easier.

  3. geras zmogus says:

    funny, no one mentions Lithuania. I know the reasons, just can’t say them out loud without being called names. Lithuania wins the group and your writer tells us that Lithuania and France join Spain in the next round. You must be kidding me!!! Spain might end up at the 3rd spot. who joins who?

    • Lietuvis says:

      Totally agreed…
      Also i’m really angry at granger for insulting europeans that shows maturity of usa team and trust me that will not be forgotten…

  4. rest of the world says:

    oh USA fans… You make me smile. Thanx for that:)
    USA team is just a bunch of average players (except K.D. i must admit he is a superstar level player). Yes they ar superstars in nba, sorry not in international arena. So as you say: in playoffs everything starts from zero. We will see at what level this USA team is capable to play only WHEN PLAYOFFS STARTS. And please don’t put gold on before the finals. Don’t look pathetic.

    • formerD1pg says:

      FIBA has to change the rules to compete with the USA…..Tiny Court hurts our transition game and Trapazoid lane is just stupid….also you can bat the ball off of the rim……are you serious??? USA OWNS BASKETBALL the 4 best basketball players in the world are from the USA…..Kobe, Bron, Wade, Durant….Melo, CP3, Deron, Dwight, Amare, Bosh….are you serious dude?

  5. mubwar says:

    I’ve seen about 5 games in this fiba world cup….except maybe argentina no one is gonna challenge kevin durant and crew to the gold….embarrassing for the rest of the world if they can’t beat a us B team….when they win it all, they’ll bring a C team in 2012 to test their talents..

    • Mustafa says:

      Really? I think its embarasing that NBA players care more about their bank balance than representing their nation at one of the few major american sports that is played worldwide.(Hockeys the only other one i can think of, and canada own that). Also, every team out there is a B-team! No Dirk, No Pau, No Nash, No Kaman, No Parker, No Ginobli. You could field a team to beat the redeem team out of international players not appearing at the worlds. An in terms of a C team at the olympics? after the B’s poor show against Brazil? say what? Great britain with Ben Gordon and Luol Deng could beat that team 2 on 5!! I bet you havent even left the US to see the rest of the world that you love to insult through implication that they play poor ball. Open your eyes!!!!!

      • rick says:

        LOL Ben Gordon and Luol Deng wouldn’t even make the USA C squad.

      • formerD1pg says:

        But this is not a B team…..this is a C team….only 3 All-Stars……a B team is more like Billups, Ray Allen, Paul Peirce, KG and Shaq…..our A team is CP3,Kobe,Wade,Bron, Melo, Durant and so on…..And you could not put a team together that could beat the redeem team…..who can check Kobe, LeBron, Wade and Durant? Those are the 4 best players in the world!

      • Jake says:

        First of all of those players you mentioned are from different countries (except for Dirk and Chris Kaman even though Kaman was born and raised in America! just wasn’t good enough to play for the USA), so they couldn’t join together to beat the US. Secondly, the fact that all these players (and others like Andrei Kirilenko, Rodrigue Beuabois, Michael Pietrus, Beno Udrih etc.) aren’t playing shows that Americans aren’t the only ones who care about their health and their bank account. Lastly, CAN YOU HONESTLY COMPARE THE US SITUATION TO ANY OTHER TEAM IN THE TOURNAMENT! THEY HAVE NOBODY FROM THEIR GOLD MEDAL TEAM IN 08, NOBODY. Where would Spain be without anybody who was on their Olympic team? Eliminated. What about Greece, or Serbia, or Argentina, or Brazil? Eliminated. What about the US? Undeafeated. If Coach K and Colangelo could select anybody they wanted to be on the World Championship team the only players that would still make the team would be Durant and possibly Billups or Rose. In terms of bigs, the team we have now is a definitely a C team (Tyson Chandler is kind of a joke). Plus the US has to adjust to playing by different rules, on a different court, in a hostile environment with only a limited amount of time to practice. There is no doubt that the US has the best team in the world. That being said, there is no gurantee they’ll win the championship, but they’re the favorites.

    • good game says:

      Dont be so cocky, real challenge is yet to come!

    • erm says:

      …did you see usa vs brazil? maybe you should wait until after the medal rounds with your forecast

  6. Lionel Roger MD says:

    After these Worlds it will become evident to everyone in the USA that most of our younger players are reaching the NBA without the fundamentals needed to play team Basketball-and its too hard to teach them in 3 weeks. It will be very difficult to win in the knock-out round with defense and a “run and gun”, alley oop lob, dunk as you go offense. Durant is carrying the team, Gay and Granger are our best shooters and they are not seeing the ball bacause all our guards do is slash through the middle to score lay-ups or get fouls-no backdoor plays or pick and rolls. And Durant will eventually have an off day-with no one to pick up the slack. Chandler is pathetic, a non-factor in scoring and both Curry and Westbrook do not produce consistently or significantly. We cannot win the Gold with Durant, Odom and three guards without moving the ball around the perimeter for high percentage shots.
    The game has been improved in Europe by very smart, technical coaches and kids taught the fundamentals since early in their career. Most of our young players only learn when they face the International teams-too late then.
    Billups is holding the fort with with his experience but he will get tired with more minutes of play as this goes into crunch time.

    • formerD1pg says:

      ARE YOU SERIOUS????

      If you play basketball here in the USA, our style is one on one basketball, drive and kick. The dribble drive is how we play. Basketball in the United States is about penetration (wonder why the deepest position in the NBA is PG), PRESSURE Man to Man help Defense and Fast Break Basketball. The USA is representing the way WE play basketball here in the States. We are versitile, athletic and play great defense. Our team is built like a Duke team and we have the best coach in the world. I am a die hard Duke fan and so I am used to seeing teams play this way. Our advantage is not our aility to run plays, our advantage is that in isolation situations there aren’t any guards capable of guarding our guards. Chandler plays great basketball when he comes in the game, his role is not to score, it is to be physical and get rebounds.

      Our basketball identity in the USA is aggressive, not many teams in international play an aggressive game, they play hard but they are not aggressive about getting to the rim or about scoring the basketball or defensively. Kevin Durant is the best and most efficient and most unstoppable scorer in this tournament. Derrick Rose is hands down the hardest PG to guard one on one in the tournament.

      The bottom line is that our game is more exciting because it is spontanious and has an edge. Most teams hide behind zone defenses because we are to aggressive to try to contain. Every other country in te world plays FIBA basketball, we have our own style and our own game and it’s just flat out better. A team with 3 all-stars and 6 guys under 22 with 3 weeks of practice is undefeated! It is clear that USA basketball is head and shoulders above the competition. The Olympic team from 2008 would completely DOMINATE this tournament, because our best players playing the way WE play are to good for any other country.

      • good game says:

        Good teams dont defend 1 on 1, basketball is team game, so defense they play like team, just wait you will see.. This group games are just warm up, real trouble for US is just to come, 4 hard games till gold, we will see if this team can handle it. You can say its young team but its not the youngest on tournament, Serbia and Germany are the youngest.

      • formerD1pg says:

        Playing man to man defense is team defense if you are athletic enough to play it like Team USA. No international team can play man to man pressure defense like the USA. And the guys that get paid the big bucks to play basketball can play 1 on 1 basketball. Basketball is a team game and I know it well, GREAT players more often than not are GREAT 1 on 1 players, every now and then you get a guy that is able to become great without having a 1 on 1 game but the Michael Jordans, Magic Johnsons, Larry Birds, Isaiah Thomas’s, Kobe Bryants, Shaquille O’Neals, LeBron James’, Dwayne Wade’s and Kevin Durants can not be stopped in one on one situations, I just named 9 Americans off the top of my head in less than 30 seconds, now how many NON americans can you name in less than 30 seconds that are completely UNSTOPPABLE in one on one situations? I’ll wait……

        This USA team has not even played their best game yet and they are undefeated, they have yet to shoot really well and they have yet to execute in the half court and they are undefeated. The defensive pressure that the USA applies is enough to win 5 games in international play by almost 20 points a game. We are talking about Coach K, the best coach in the tournament with PLENTY of one and done tournament experience AND coaching the most talented roster in the tournament man for man……BE SERIOUS

    • John says:

      Lol, Billups is “holding the fort”? Billups has been downright putrid. Don’t be such a homer.

      • Jake says:

        Billups has been solid, don’t be such a hater. Plus he’s not going to get “worn out” He didn’t play much against Iran and Tunisia and the US have three days off now. If anything the other teams starting pg’s will be worn out.

    • Jake says:

      How do you expect the US team to have a bunch of polished offensive sets when they’ve been playing together for like three weeks with limited practice time? And so far the offense they have seems to be working, and it’s only going to get better.

  7. James says:

    Hi John,
    I’m pretty sure the second tie-break after wins in the games between each other is score difference in the games against each other, not overall. If the score difference in the games against each other is the same, then it is overall.
    Be interesting to know what you can find out about that!
    Cheers,
    James