GRANADA, SPAIN – Groups C and D got back into action at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, with Australia edging Lithuania 82-75 in the headline game of the day in Gran Canaria.
The Boomers played a near perfect first half. Joe Ingles hit some ridiculous shots, Aron Baynes was incredibly active, destroying Jonas Valanciunas in the first few minutes, and their sagging defense kept Valanciunas from finding any space on post-ups or rolls to the basket. With Ingles hitting a 3 at the buzzer, Australia took a 19-point lead into the break.
To start the second half, both Valanciunas and Donatas Motiejunas were on the bench for Lithuania. Valanciunas eventually played a few more minutes, but it was the veteran Lavrinovic brothers and defensive pressure that led Lithuania back to within three after the first possession of the fourth quarter.
They were back within three with 4½ minutes to go, but never had a chance to tie or take the lead, with Australia holding them off with free throws and a couple of big baskets from David Andersen down the stretch.
More notes from Australia 82, Lithuania 75…
- Baynes is averaging 16.0 points and 7.7 boards after putting up 14 and six on Tuesday.
- Motiejunas (a minus-15 in just eight first-half minutes) wasn’t the only NBA player to sit the entire second half. So did Dante Exum. After logging just four first-half minutes on Tuesday, the Jazz rookie has totaled just 28 minutes through three games. He may have a high ceiling, but right now, the Cavs’ Matthew Dellavedova is Australia’s best point guard.
- ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that multiple NBA teams are interesting in signing the 26-year-old Ingles, who has averaged 15.7 points with a effective field-goal percentage of 79.6 percent through three games.
- Former Raptor and Timberwolf Nathan Jawai is a large man.
More Day 4 notes
- Ukraine and the Dominican Republic each took big steps toward qualification for the knockout rounds from Group C with wins over Turkey and Finland, respectively.
- Francisco Garcia turned his right ankle as the Dominican was holding off a late rally by Finland. He left the game briefly, but did return.
- Slovenia (3-0) led by just one at halftime, but remained unbeaten with an 89-72 victory over Korea (0-3). Goran Dragic led the way again, scoring 22 points in just 27 minutes.
- With Lithuania’s loss, Greece, Spain and the U.S. are the only other teams without a loss.
- Group D is a solid group with Slovenia, Australia and Lithuania at the top. The U.S. could see two of those three teams in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
- Mexico looks like it will be USA’s opponent in the round of 16 on Saturday. The Mexicans’ win over Angola on Tuesday has them looking like the fourth-place team in Group D. They’d have to beat Australia, lose to Korea or have Angola pull an upset for them not to finish fourth.
- Top 5 offenses (points scored per 100 possessions) through Tuesday: 1. Slovenia (127.7), 2. USA (120.0), 3. Argentina (118.3), 4. Spain (117.9), 5. Greece (114.3)
- Top 5 defenses (points allowed per 100 possessions) through Tuesday: 1. USA (77.6), 2. Spain (78.8), 3. Brazil (89.4), 4. France (91.3), 5. Greece (94.4)
Big games on tap for Wednesday
We’re back to a full, 12-game slate with Groups A and B resuming action in Granada and Sevilla.
- Two 2-1 teams, Argentina and Senegal, will meet in Seville at 11:30 a.m. ET. The winner of that matchup will clinch a spot in the knockout rounds.
- At the same time, two 1-2 teams, Finland and Turkey, will meet in Bilbao in an important game for third or fourth place in Group C.
- If there’s a Group B team that can knock off Greece, it could be Croatia, which has had the most entertaining set of games in the tournament so far. Those two teams meet at 2 p.m. ET.
- Group A has the best two of the best games of the day. Serbia (2-1) faces Brazil (2-1) at noon ET on NBA TV, and France (2-1) meets Spain (3-0) in a rematch of last year’s Eurobasket semifinals at 4 p.m. ET.