HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – Day 3 of the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata brought us our first upset of the tournament. It also brought us some upset Paraguayans.
Trending up: Canada (1-1)
Trending down: Dominican Republic (2-1)
Panama 89, Paraguay 86 (Boxscore)
There are 10 teams in this tournament, and after four first-round games, eight of them (four from each group) will reach the second round. There are four solid teams in Group A and we don’t have any problems with Canada or Venezuela playing three more games next week.
But after Argentina and Puerto Rico, there’s a big drop-off in Group B. Of the Panama-Paraguay-Uruguay group, two of those teams will advance to the second round, so this matchup meant a lot to both teams.
Panama was in control, up 70-55, after the third quarter. But Paraguay came all the way back and had a chance to tie the game or take the lead with 19 seconds left. Enrique Martinez found Guillermo Araujo under the basket with five seconds left and Araujo was hammered hard by Ruben Garces.
The Paraguayans were looking for an unsportsmanlike foul call (which would have resulted in two shots and the ball back), but they only got a standard foul. Still, Araujo had the opportunity to send the game to overtime.
But he missed both freebies and Panama escaped with the win.
Venezuela 106, Cuba 69 (Boxscore)
After blowing fourth-quarter leads in each of their first two games, Venezuela broke through for their first win. They shot a ridiculous 61 percent from the field, with Greivis Vasquez (21 points) leading the way.
Canada 73, Dominican Republic 72 (Boxscore)
This was a huge win for Canada (and the first real upset of the tournament), but Dominican Republic has been a huge disappointment the last two days.
Canada won this game from beyond the arc, where they shot 10-for-23. All of Andy Rautins‘ 15 points came from 3-point range, where he shot 5-for-8. Two of the five 3s came in the fourth quarter, as Canada built a 12-point lead.
- Al Horford finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, but shot just 5-for-16 from the field. Canada swarmed him whenever he got the ball inside, willing to let his teammates try to beat them.
- Jack Michael Martinez almost did. “El Limpiacristales” had game-highs with 21 points and 16 boards.
- At this point, it’s no longer newsworthy that both Francisco Garcia and Charlie Villanueva have been awful in this tournament. Garcia scored 12 points, but six of them came in the final four seconds on threes that didn’t affect the outcome. Villanueva had four fouls and four turnovers in eight minutes.
- Going forward, we’ll note Garcia’s or Villanueva’s play when they actually perform like one of the most talented players on the floor.
Puerto Rico 74, Uruguay 64 (Boxscore)
A day after getting smoked by Argentina, Uruguay hung tough with Puerto Rico for 39 minutes. One difference was the presence of Leandro Garcia Morales, who missed Wednesday’s loss with a virus.
Garcia Morales and the other Uruguayan guards are a pesky bunch, unafraid of a floor burn or two. But they were ultimately outplayed by J.J. Barea and Carlos Arroyo.
- Barea shot just 1-for-8 from the field, but got to the line 15 times and finished with 14 points.
- Arroyo led all scorers with 19. He had a couple of big buckets and a sweet dish to Daniel Santiago to keep Uruguay at bay in the fourth quarter.
- Esteban Batista is clearly out of shape, but he’s got some post moves and is a heck of a rebounder. He finished with 16 points and 12 boards.
- Uruguay (0-2) will get a good shot at their first win when they play Panama on Friday. Puerto Rico will face Argentina in a game that will undoubtedly determine the winner of Group B.