Serbia blows out Brazil, sends a message to U.S. and Spain

MADRID — Warning to Spain and the United States: Anything can happen in 40 minutes of single-elimination basketball. Witness Serbia’s 84-56 thrashing of Brazil in the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

After Miroslav Raduljica was waived by the Los Angeles Clippers the day before the World Cup began, Serbia didn’t have a single player on an NBA roster. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but they proceeded to go 2-3 in Group A, beating only Egypt and Iran.

Now, after an 18-point victory over 5-0 Greece and a 28-point win over 5-1 Brazil, Serbia finds itself in the semifinals and in position to win a medal. On Friday, it will play the winner of Wednesday’s second quarterfinal between Spain and France.

Behind some big defensive stops by Nene, Brazil took a three-point lead with two minutes to go in the second quarter. But Serbia ended the half on an 8-0 run and proceeded to score 16 points on its first five possessions of the third, thanks to a seven-point possession that was a result of two technical fouls on Brazil. The rout was on from there.

Though their names might not be familiar to the average American basketball fan, there are a lot of very good players on this Serbian team, a mix of young talents and veterans who have enjoyed a lot of success on the international level.

Milos Teodosic, the veteran point guard who would make for a explosive NBA reserve, led Serbia with 23 points, shooting 3-for-5 from 3-point range. Nemanja Bjelica, a 6-foot-10 forward with tantalizing skills whose rights are held by the Minnesota Timberwolves, took advantage of mismatches and finished with eight points, eight rebounds and five assists. And Phoenix Suns draftee Bogdan Bogdanovic continued to show improved play off the bench, extending the Serbia lead to 29 with a ridiculous, step-back 30-footer with a hand in his face.

“He’s not at all a bench player,” teammate Vladimir Stimac said of the 22-year-old Bogdanovic, who will play in Turkey next season. “This guy is probably going to be a legend of Serbian basketball.”

Bogdanovic acknowledged afterward that his team isn’t 28 points better than Brazil.

“This was not a real result,” he said, “but I think we deserve it.”

Serbia is playing its best at the right time. Brazil, meanwhile, had made it clear that it wanted to medal at this tournament, and it was the third best team through the round of 16, with only a loss to Spain in Group A. But its group of four NBA players will be going home empty-handed, and both the U.S. and Spain should take note.


  1. Ivan Serbia says:

    Fact about Serbia:

    Olympic Games
    Appearances 11

    Medals Gold medal.svg Gold: 1980
    Silver medal.svg Silver: 1968, 1976, 1988, 1996
    Bronze medal.svg Bronze: 1984

    FIBA World Cup
    Appearances 14

    Medals Gold medal world centered-2.svg Gold: 1970, 1978, 1990, 1998, 2002
    Silver medal world centered-2.svg Silver: 1963, 1967, 1974
    Bronze medal world centered-2.svg Bronze: 1982, 1986

    FIBA EuroBasket
    Appearances 30

    Medals Gold medal europe.svg Gold: 1973, 1975, 1977, 1989, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2001
    Silver medal europe.svg Silver: 1961, 1965, 1969, 1971, 1981, 2009
    Bronze medal europe.svg Bronze: 1963, 1979, 1987, 1999

  2. Pétrus says:

    I’m brazilian, and i don’t like this country, i don’t even like the soccer national team, but i was really excited about this basketball team, i was really on their side, i was watching the game and at the end, i was shocked, completely stunned by the loss, but this is basketball, upsets happens….

  3. lbj says:

    Blowing out brazil by 100 points won’t give you any ring. You need to train hard and play with our “king” LeBron. We will trade Gasol, Nene, Rose, and future GM to the Bobcats!

  4. JimboJJM says:

    Congrats to France in their win over Spain. On paper this shouldn’t have happened, but France may be peaking at the right time. The Serbs, like Spain, are a big team up front and they have a really good pg in Teodosic. France, reminds me of the SA Spurs. No superstar, just great teamwork and ball movement. Unfortunately Serbia also plays in a similar manner. So this should be a really good game. I’ll go for the underdog Frenchmen who if they win may give the USA or Lithuania fits. If France had Tony Parker at the point I think they would be the favorites, but not without him.

  5. drago says:

    I just hope someone goes Detroit Pistons on team USA and make them choke like Spain did.Serbia-Lithuania finals is my wish.

  6. ItIsMe says:

    I don’t see why would you think that Teodosic would be a bench player. I think he would be great in the NBA. He certainly is a better point guard than Rubio, and look at what Rubio is doing in the NBA. If he was American, people would be going crazy over his level of skill, but since he is from Europe, you instantly think of him as a bench player, even though he constantly proved you wrong.

  7. awesomejdad says:

    Serbia does not have to win gold to make a statement. They already have. They are a very good team and they deserve recognition and respect regardless of there outcome in there next 2 games.

  8. Pay back time says:

    France owes Serbia for that 1 point free throw win in the last seconds of the match over a questionable foul…

  9. Marco29 says:

    Maybe Spain should have paid more attention and taken the warning…
    Can’t wait for this Sebria-France semi hoping the French will find a way to beat twice the same opponent in the tournament which has so far proven to be very difficult.

  10. vito says:

    well, Spain is gone already…. Rather unexpectedly. but their problem is that they are not psychologically fit to fight tight games and to come back in the second half. This has been proven again and again – in 2013, 2010, 2007 etc. You manage to keep them on a short leash throughout first three quarters, they are finished…, In part, this is due tor the stupid strategy of picking inferior teams in the pre-tournament exhibitions and paying only at home, allegedly to build confidence (which, it seems, evaporates immediately under slightest pressure). They had a bad night, but still could have won with all their talent, if they had not succumbed mentally.
    Anyway, sorry to France and Serbia fans out there, and to Lithuanians, like myself, but none of our teams stand any chance against this USA team. Spain was the only one that could have kept up with their tempo, the only one that could also score 15 points in a couple of minutes. Anyway, they are gone and gone is any question as to who wins gold this year. Lithuania will finish 3rd or fourth. Serbia and France – 2rd, 3rd or 4th. None of the three teams has any real advantage against each other or serious weapons against the USA>

    • Graig says:

      never say never Vito.
      I can see any of the remaining teams beat USA. Just like Spain got overconfident….USA might as well and choke…

  11. FanFrSingapore says:

    Teodosic rejected the San Antonio Spurs, maybe he does not want to be second fidder to Tony Parker, definitely one of the smartest point guards in Europe, To me he is so much better than some of the starting PGs in the NBA..

  12. natalia siegert says:

    Soccer & now this? I live in SF & work in Oak land, heard the news and cried

  13. natalia siegert says:

    Brazillian lost? Im a dyke

  14. kessa says:

    there’s something in coach Djordjevic that reminds of the great coach Popovic of Spurs… just watch the post game press conf… his coolness and belief in his team, trust and, at the same time, great control of mind and ability of his players… tactically immaculate. all visible on court, fruitful in the last two games, instant confidence-boosting for players going into a great battle… magnificent energy!!! SALUT!

  15. Nenad says:

    “Milos Teodosic, the veteran point guard who would make for a explosive NBA reserve”

    What a bizarre comment! Remember when CSKA played (and beat) Minnesota? Teodosic walked through the game effortlessly —

  16. Peja#16 says:

    Serbia all the way

  17. Roger Tornga says:

    That’s the beauty of tournaments. Champions show up and confound the pundits. Its always amazing to see how teams and individuals perform under the pressure of international scrutiny. Basketball is truly a team sport and always exciting. Love the World Cup!

  18. Aleksandar California says:

    For all of the Americans here: In Europe there is a saying when it comes to sport and the saying goes “Never ever write-off Germany in football(soccer)and Serbia in basketball”. Enough said? 🙂 USA vs Serbia finals and Serbia takes it by a monster performance by Teo and Bog

    • mau_ako says:

      it only applies in Europe……beats me!

      • Aleksandar California says:

        Read this as many times as needed untill you realize what was said:

        In Europe there is a saying when it comes to sport and the saying goes “Never ever write-off Germany in football(soccer)and Serbia in basketball”.

        Or to simplify it for you – Germany in football and Serbia in basketball are the true superpowers in two most popular sports in the world

  19. Common Sense says:

    We’ll see. The US usually scores at least 100 points where as all of these other games are ending in the 50-90 range. Unless something miraculous happens it’s hard to see the US completely botching it.
    I don’t think they will cruise all game but I think at some point they’ll break free.
    But you never know, it is the bench of the USA basketball against the best of Serbia and Lithuania so all bets are technically off.
    It was hard to watch the redeem team have the close call against Spain last time, they were so focused on highlight reels they forgot that they had to win.
    But I think this USA team knows they have to try, will fight the whole way and take it again

  20. E.T. says:

    Serbia will take the gold !!! ‘Murica will have to settle for silver 😛

  21. wheresthabeet? says:

    USA will now cruise to the Gold!

  22. wheresthabeet? says:

    I’m shocked that Brazil and Spain are out! Yeah, I guess I really don’t care either.

  23. Jo says:

    flopping Spain flopped out! bravo France and congratulations on your sportsmanship and spirit… France-Serbia in semis, I except one great game of basketball, and I’m so glad that FIBAs favorites with rigged draw are out.

  24. slobowsky says:

    You will care in final, don’t worry mate.

  25. Dejan says:

    No surprise to me, Brazil is a football nation and the Serbian basketball. We are the best by the number of world titles and I hope that we will now show that

  26. Jo says:

    Serbia(5 time world champion) is back with great team chemistry and cojones, led by legendary point-guard Aleksandar Djordjevic!

  27. TheKush says:

    When Varejao is your top scorer somethings wrong!

  28. * says:

    Teodosic is not a veteran player, he’s 27 years old, he can be on this level for 5 more years.

  29. Boris says:

    Teodosic ia starting pg caliber. His problems (defense) are much smaller than his contribution to offense. If he was born in USA or Canada, he would be a starting pg in NBA… He was the best European player with just 23 years (in 2010) and remember he was competing with Nowitzki, Gasol etc…

    • Marco29 says:

      Agreed. Why would he necessarily be a reserve in the NBA? Most pg in NBA are no great defenders and Teodosic surely knows how to score and lead an offense.

  30. birdie says:

    Fluke win. No one cares about Serbia.

    • Boki says:

      Actually at least 10 million Serbs care about Serbia:-) I wonder how many people care about a man who calls himself “birdie”. Chicken, duck, or sparrow?

  31. Emerson says:

    I am a Brazilian hoping for my team at the final 4, but as a sportsman we need to accomplish the best teams at the tournament and it was made clear today that Serbia deserves a place at the final 4. Congrats to all Serbians and who can forget the legend of ex-Yugoslavia players like Drazen Petrovic, Vlade Divac or Toni Kukoc.

    • Graig says:

      hmmm…Emerson. There is a difference between Serbia and Croatia,….Double check where all those players are from.

      • A Fan says:

        He said Ex-Yugoslavia. And he was being polite not mentioning Predrag Danilovic, Zarko Paspalj, Pedja Stojakovic… do you want me to go on, or should I just stop at the last 2 decades

  32. Bojan says:

    Good article. However, unlike the writer, I consider Teodosic to be an NBA starter. Watch him play Ricky Rubio (a NBA starter) in the next game. Hopefully the referees allow Serbia to play against Spain.

  33. Manuel Pineda says:

    As I’ve always said: In elimination rounds, greeks and yugoslavians NO THANKS! Seriously, there’s always something with Yugoslavia (the croatians were the talented, the serbians were the competitors; and no, I don’t forget about the people from Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Montenegro, but in basketball Croatia and Serbia were the core of those teams) on the final rounds that I afraid of. Maybe they can have a bad day, but for sure they are gonna fight for the victory until the end. If Spain wins his quarter-finals game it’s going to have a tough tough game on Friday.