Posts Tagged ‘Joel Anthony’

Baby Steps For Heat’s Oden

VIDEO: The Game Time crew discuss Greg Oden’s long awaited return to the court


Big, giant baby steps.

That’s all the Miami Heat can and should expect from Greg Oden now that he’s made his long-awaited return to NBA action as a reserve for the two-time defending champions.

Oden’s dream became a reality Wednesday night in Washington, when the former No. 1 overall pick played his first minutes since 2009. As they say, you cannot coach size. And Oden leaves a huge footprint on the court, even in limited minutes. Oden recorded an offensive rebound, a dunk and personal foul in his first 30 seconds of action. He played 8 minutes and 24 seconds altogether, finishing with six points on 2-for-3 shooting from the floor, 2-for-2 from the free throw line, and grabbed two rebounds in the Heat’s 114-97 blowout loss.

It’s been a long time coming for Oden, who missed what should have been his rookie season with a knee injury and then endured three more microfracture surgeries on his knees.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game that Oden’s appearance was in the master plan and based on months of hard work by the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 Draft. Plus, the Heat need a bruiser now that former starting center Joel Anthony has been traded away.

“He’s been working very diligently,” Spoelstra said of Oden. “It’s been all part of the plan. He’s made great progress. He’s getting stronger. He’s getting healthier. He’s getting his core right. Everything without skipping steps. We’re very patient with him.”

Like I said, baby steps … big, giant baby steps!

VIDEO: Greg Oden talks about his regular-season debut with the Heat

Canada Market Booms as NBA Takes On World; ‘Down Under’ Next?


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Chances are good next June that for the second consecutive year, the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft will have honed his skills and built his street cred on the asphalt courts of … Toronto, Ontario. And with Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins as a favourite to take the maple-leaf baton from UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, we might want to refer to the heated jockeying for position among likely lottery teams as tanquing, for this season anyway.

A rising interest in Canada in the NBA is the primary reason behind tonight’s game in Montreal, when the Boston Celtics (with first-round pick Kelly Olynyk, a 7-footer from Kamloops by way of Gonzaga) face the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Bell Centre. A year ago, the NBA staged its first-ever NBA Canada Series preseason games in that country (Knicks-Raptors in Montreal, Pistons-Timberwolves in Winnipeg) and the only thing surprising about that was that it took so long.

The Raptors, obviously, have been playing preseason games there since they entered the league via expansion in 1995. So did their newbie cohort Vancouver Grizzlies for six seasons, until their move to Memphis in 2001.

The NBA’s and basketball’s roots in the nation are undeniable. The man who invented the game in 1891, Dr. James Naismith, was a Canadian, after all. And what is accepted as the NBA’s inaugural game was played at Maple Leaf Gardens between the New York Knicks and the Toronto Huskies, who lasted one season in the precursor BAA.

Sixty-seven years later, the NBA has just the Raptors’ as its single toehold in Canada, and it stages its preseason games there much as it does in exotic lands like Taiwan and Brazil, with a missionary zeal that creates festivals of NBA basketball, stirring casual interest rather than relying on hardcore devotees of the league. The Grizzlies are gone, and expansion even in U.S. cities appears to be low on commissioner David Stern‘s or presumptive replacement Adam Silver‘s lists of priorities.

Beneath the surface, however, there may be something building.


Heat Thrive With ‘Best Supporting Cast’

ORLANDO – One of the unintended benefits of a team plowing through week after week of a 27-game (and counting) win streak is the collective strain it puts on not just a team’s superstars, but also it’s supporting cast.

And in the case of the Miami Heat, that would be, as All-Star forward Chris Bosh coined it, “the best supporting cast in the business.” Bosh was, of course, speaking about the cast surrounding reigning MVP LeBron James, a group headlined by Dwyane Wade and himself.

But those three superstars have the added benefit of leaning on what has developed into the best cast of veteran, high basketball IQ specailists in the business. From stalwarts like Udonis HaslemRay Allen and Shane Batter to Mike Miller and Chris “Birdman” Andersen to Norris Cole and occasionally James Jones or even Joel Anthony, the Heat found ways to tap into their resources at the right time throughout this streak.

It’s a delicate balance, knowing who to go to, and when. But it’s a luxury that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and his staff have cultivated for the past three seasons. And for a team that will need every player to defend their title, this streak and the finish of this regular season could prove to be crucial in ensuring the reserves are ready for that grind.

“They are gaining more and more confidence,” Spoelstra said. “They really are. It doesn’t really matter which group we have out there. They take it to heart that they want to put together good minutes on the scoreboard. Those guys are just stepping up and giving us good minutes.”

Great minutes, actually, in spurts.

Cole scored a season-high 15 points and led seven scorers off the bench in Sunday’s win over Charlotte, the first of two straight games the Heat played without Wade, who sat out with a sore right knee. Cole (3-for-4), Allen (4-for-5) and Battier (2-for-5) lit it up from distance as the Heat used an 11-for-13 barrage from 3-point range to subdue the Bobcats.

Miller started in place of Wade Sunday and played 22 minutes in the win over the Bobcats. That’s the exact same number of minutes he played in the 10 games before that, and looked comfortable doing it. He started again Monday night against Orlando, making three of his six shots from the floor in 20 minutes against the Magic.

He attempted a total of four shots in those 10 games prior to his Bobcats start, but didn’t hesitate Sunday night, uncorking a couple of 3-pointers in the opening minutes of that game.

“My view was to just fill in,” Miller said. “But you can’t be shy. My motto is to let it fly. That helps our team, when our shooters are aggressive it opens up lanes for everybody else.”

Cole, Andersen and ex-Magic All-Star Rashard Lewis (11 points, courtesy of a 3-for-5 shooting effort from long-range) provided the boost the Heat needed to get win No. 27, outscoring the Magic reserves 42-15. The Heat are 26-1 this season when its reserves outscore the opposition’s.

“It’s just knowing your role and knowing what’s needed,” Battier said. “It’s the way we’ve worked all season long and right now it’s the perfect complement to what we’re doing offensively. Our main goal on offense is to create space to allow our best guys the room they need to operate. The only way to do that is to put shooters around them. So when we get the open looks, we have to make shots. It all has to work together.”

Making sure the bench was ready was of critical importance for Spoelstra, though he wouldn’t have forced the issue down the stretch of the regular season. Not with the type of veterans the Heat have.

“They’ve already had a body of work,” he said. “They’ve been called upon at times this year, and they are keeping themselves ready. The most important thing is all the work they’ve been doing behind the scenes. You could whither away on the sidelines by not playing if you didn’t have the right attitude. But our guys come in every single day. They do their conditioning and they also stay in it mentally. They do it every day.”

You win 27 straight games and everybody has to bring it — the superstars and the “best supporting cast in the business.”

Short Rotation Hurts Heat Late

OKLAHOMA CITY – When you’re paying your top three players about $48 million a year, your roster is not going to have a lot of depth. Such is the issue with the Miami Heat.

In Game 7 of the conference finals, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra got away with basically playing just six guys. That was enough to outlast the similarly shallow Boston Celtics.

But the Oklahoma City Thunder are not the Celtics in any shape, form or fashion. They’re younger, faster and deeper. And in Game 1 of The Finals, a 105-94 Thunder victory, Spoelstra couldn’t get away with playing such a short rotation.

Off the bench, the Heat got 34 minutes from Chris Bosh, 10 minutes from Mike Miller, and two minutes from Joel Anthony. Norris Cole and James Jones, who have each been in and out of the rotation in this postseason, did not play. The Heat said afterward that Jones was unavailable because of a migraine.

The lack of depth appeared to play a part in the Heat’s demise on Tuesday. After outscoring the Thunder 29-22 in the first quarter, Miami trended down. The second quarter was even. Oklahoma City won the third quarter by eight and the fourth quarter by 10, as the Heat seemingly ran out of gas.


Bosh Out Indefinitely, Maybe for Series

MIAMIChris Bosh will return when his gut tells him to, and right now, that gut is in too much pain to speak.

Such is the case with abdominal strains. They heal on their timetable, not yours. And so the Heat must definitely make do without Bosh for Game 2, and perhaps without Bosh for the entire series against the Pacers, and who knows beyond that. If Miami’s season lasts beyond that.

“The season has to be extended,” Bosh said, after his MRI, “in order for me to play again.”

That doesn’t sound like a guy who expects to suit up against against the Pacers, which means Bosh’s strain is likely in the medium range. A mild strain, he comes back by next week. A severe strain, he misses a handful of weeks, as Kevin Garnett once did, as Mo Williams once did, as Manu Ginobili once did.

“This is something we’re taking day by day,” he said. “It’s not the worse thing that could happen, and that’s the good news. Nothing would surprise me [if he didn't return this series]. These are the cards I’ve been dealt right now.”


Rosen’s Report: Knicks at Heat

Yes, the Knicks lost on Monday to the lowly Nets but they rallied with an impressive rout of the Hawks on Wednesday where they showed signs of  Carmelo Anthony, J. R. Smith, and Baron Davis adjusting Linsanity. Yet despite the massive hype surrounding New York during the last two weeks, facing the Heat in Miami is the best chance yet for the Knicks to prove that their recent spectacular successes are legit.

At this point in the season, the Heat have their collective mojo working and, thus far, are the best team in the East if not the entire league. Their three leading lights are in synch, and their supporting players are likewise at the top of their respective games.  Miami’s aim is to stuff Linsanity into a straitjacket.

Jeremy Lin must hit his perimeter jumpers, repeatedly penetrate and make accurate kick-out or drop-passes, generally keep the ball moving, and play a modicum of man-to-man defense. While he’s far from being a speedster, Lin can read defenses and anticipate where the driving lanes will materialize. Once these openings manifest, Lin’s long strides, slick left-to-right crossovers, and ability to find air-space at the rim are virtually unstoppable. If his straight-up defense is merely ordinary, Lin’s quick hands and extraordinary help-decisions enable him to come up with frequent steals and run-outs.  In any event, Mario Chalmers isn’t the kind of dreadnaught scorer who can consistently embarrass Lin. (more…)

Has Wall Hit The ‘Sophomore Wall?’


Let’s be very clear about this: John Wall isn’t the reason the Wizards are winless heading into their game with the Knicks. But just as Wall was a reason for optimism in Washington this season, his performances of late haven’t inspired much if any this season.

The Wizards rank at or near the bottom in every major offensive category, and that falls on the point guard. He must set the tempo, find open teammates, get easy shots for teammates and score when necessary. Maybe some of the blame lies with the system used by coach Flip Saunders, but if you’re a talented point guard, you can make it work in almost any system other than the triangle offense.

Wall is delivering just over six assists a game, which is fine at first glance (although down from his rookie season). But the Wizards if nothing else have offensive talent and a fair amount of finishers. Wall should get six assists alone on lob passes to JaVale McGee. And while Andray Blatche will never be accused of being a basketball genius, he does have a point: his shots should be taken closer to the basket.

Wall was taken to the shed by Tom Boswell of the Washington Post, who said Wall was the worst shooter in the NBA:

So far into his career, John Wall is the worst shooter in the NBA.

Adults have many duties to the young. One is honesty. When gifted kids grow up, their elders, including employers, should be candid about their flaws and help them fulfill their talent. Nobody knows the whole job at age 21.

Right now, the Washington Wizards have an enormous responsibility to Wall. They need to see him clearly and let him know that, despite his big contract, his No. 1 overall draft pick status, his face-of-franchise public relations role and his obvious talents, he is still not yet a good NBA player.

In two respects, he is actually one of the worst players in the league.


Brazil Upsets Hosts Argentina

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – Wednesday’s action at the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata saw host Argentina get upset and Venezuela get one step closer to play for an Olympic berth next summer. But there’s still plenty on the line on Thursday, when pool play concludes with four more games.

Trending up: Brazil (6-1)
Trending down: Argentina (6-1)

Canada 70, Uruguay 68 (Box Score)

Canada kept itself alive for fifth place with a 7-0 run to end the game, capped by Andy Rautins‘ game-winning 3-pointer with 58 seconds left. Uruguay had plenty of chances to tie or take the lead after that, but they missed their final eight shots.

Rautins hit four of his six treys overall, but the star of the game for Canada was Levon Kendall, who scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. That helped make up for the absences of Joel Anthony (ankle) and Aaron Doornekamp (concussion).

Despite the absence of Anthony, the Canadian defense was still strong … or maybe the Uruguayan offense was just awful. Either way, Uruguay shot just 32 percent from the field, with Esteban Batista connecting on just one of his seven shots.

To finish fifth, Canada needs to beat Panama on Thursday (which shouldn’t be a problem) and have Uruguay beat Venezuela.

Venezuela 110, Panama 74 (Box Score)

Venezuela remains in position to finish fifth and grab a spot in the Olympic qualifying tournament thanks to an easy victory over Panama, who clinched eighth place with the loss.

The Venezuelan offense has been ridiculously good from the start. They lead the FIBA Americas tournament in offensive efficiency, scoring 119 points per 100 possessions. But their defense has allowed nearly as many. On Thursday though, they face the Uruguayan offense, which has been worse than Panama’s.

The fifth-place scenarios for the final day of pool play are simple, assuming that Canada beats Panama (a pretty safe assumption) in the 10:30 a.m. ET game. If Venezuela beats Uruguay (at 1 p.m. ET), they finish fifth (holding the head-to-head tie-breaker over Canada) and play in the Olympic qualifying tournament next July. If Uruguay beats Venezuela, then Canada finishes fifth.

Brazil 73, Argentina 71 (Box Score)

Exactly one year after they gave us a thriller at the World Championship, these teams gave us more quality basketball, just with smaller stakes and a little less offense. That elimination game was won by Argentina, sending Brazil home from Istanbul. This game of little consequence was won by Brazil, despite an 0-for-7 performance from Tiago Splitter.

With Splitter in foul trouble, Rafael Hettsheimer came to the rescue, scoring 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting and grabbing eight rebounds in 22 minutes. Marcelo Huertas played all but one minute of the game and added 17 points.

Argentina cooled off considerably after shooting 18-for-28 from 3-point range against Venezuela. After combining to shoot 12-for-15 from downtown on Wednesday, Manu Ginobili and Pablo Prigioni shot 3-for-11 from beyond the arc on Thursday. Luis Scola led the hosts with 24 points and 11 rebounds, but he turned the ball over six times.

The bad news for Argentina came before either team scored a basket. For some reason, Andres Nocioni jumped center for the hosts, and when he came down from the jump, he landed on Splitter’s foot, turning his right ankle. Nocioni left the game and probably won’t play Thursday against the Dominican Republic. His status for Saturday’s semifinal is unknown.

Puerto Rico 79, Dominican Republic 62 (Box Score)

Despite a quiet game from Carlos Arroyo, Puerto Rico kept pace with Argentina and Brazil. It was a five-point game late in the third quarter when Puerto Rico put it away with a 14-0 run spanning the third and fourth.

J.J. Barea picked up some of Arroyo’s slack with his best game of the tournament, scoring 14 points and dishing out seven assists. Alex Galindo continued to shoot well, hitting five of his 11 threes and leading Puerto Rico with 16 points.

Francisco Garcia was pretty awful for the Dominican Republic, shooting 1-for-10 from the field and 0-for-7 from 3-point range.

So here are your scenarios for Thursday, when Argentina will face the Dominican Republic and Brazil will face Puerto Rico…

  • If Argentina and Brazil win, then Brazil (1st) will face the Dominican Republic (4th) and Argentina (2nd) will face Puerto Rico (3rd) in Saturday’s semifinals.
  • If Argentina and Puerto Rico win, then Argentina (1st) will face the Dominican Republic (4th) and Puerto Rico (2nd) will face Brazil (3rd).
  • If the Dominican Republic and Brazil win, then Brazil finishes first and second, third and fourth place will come down to point differential in games played between Argentina, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
  • If the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico win, then Puerto Rico (1st) will face Argentina (4th) and the Dominican Republic (2nd) will face Brazil (3rd).

Reminder: The two winners of the two semifinals qualify for the Olympics. The two losers will join the fifth-place team (Venezuela or Canada) at the 12-team Olympic qualifying tournament in early July. The top three finishers in that tournament will qualify for the Olympics.

Top Four Clinch Semifinal Spots At FIBA Americas

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – With two more days of pool play left, we already know the four teams that will be playing for two berths in next year’s Olympics. Thanks to wins on Tuesday, Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have all clinched spots in the semifinals of the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Those two games will take place on Saturday, with the two winners earning trips to the Olympics and the two losers being relegated to the Olympic qualifying tournament in early July. But we still don’t know who will be playing whom (the other three teams would surely like to avoid Argentina), and we still don’t know who will finish fifth and earn the final spot in that Olympic qualifying tournament.

Trending up: Venezuela (2-4)
Trending down: Dominican Republic (5-1)

Puerto Rico 79, Canada 74 (Boxscore)

Canada came oh so close to putting themselves in position to finish fifth, coming back from a 17-point deficit to tie the game with two minutes left. But they couldn’t get over the hump and now will surely need some help to qualify for meaningful basketball next summer. Canada needs to beat both Uruguay (Wednesday) and Panama (Thursday) and hope that Uruguay can beat Venezuela (Thursday).

Puerto Rico lost control of this game with both Carlos Arroyo and J.J. Barea on the bench early in the fourth quarter. But Arroyo saved them with two huge pull-up jumpers in the final two minutes.

  • Arroyo is clearly the better FIBA player of Puerto Rico’s two NBA guards. He finished with 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting on Tuesday. Barea did add five rebounds, six assists and four steals to his 11 points, but he simply hasn’t found a groove offensively.
  • Joel Anthony, nursing a bad ankle, did not start for Canada. So for the second straight game, Daniel Santiago provided a size advantage for Puerto Rico. But Santiago was lost late in the first quarter with his own injury. Santiago is out for the rest of the tournament with a plantar fasciitis tear in his right foot.
  • Anthony did play six minutes in the second quarter, but was not moving well and didn’t play at all in the second half.
  • Andy Rautins had his best game of the tournament, leading Canada with 18 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.
  • Puerto Rico is missing wings Larry Ayuso and A.D. Vassallo, but they may have found a suitable replacement in Alex Galindo, who has been their secondary scorer in each of the last two games. Against Venezuela and Canada, Galindo has totaled 31 points and hit six of his 10 attempts from 3-point range.

Dominican Republic 84, Uruguay 76 (Box Score)

The Dominican Republic had an up-and-down first round, but opened the second round with a strong win over Panama on Monday. A day later, they looked to be down again, or at least slow to recover from the gruesome injury Edgar Sosa suffered at the end of the Panama game.

Uruguay led this one by 11 midway through the second quarter, but the Dominican took a two-point lead into halftime thanks to Elpidio Fortuna‘s buzzer-beating three off a full-court baseball pass from Al Horford. The teams traded runs and it was still a one-possession game early in the fourth. But the Dominican got big shots from Luis Flores and Sosa’s replacement Ronald Ramon down the stretch to hold on for the victory.

  • Horford filled the box score with 23 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block.
  • Charlie Villanueva had his second straight solid game, scoring 11 points on 4-for-8 from the field.
  • Martin Osimani was the star for Uruguay, scoring 22 points on 9-for-19 shooting.
  • Uruguay is still alive for a chance to qualify for the Olympics. If they win their last two games against Canada and Venezuela, they’ll finish fifth and play in next summer’s 12-team Olympic qualifying tournament.

Argentina 111, Venezuela 93 (Box Score)

This was a matchup of the best offensive team in the tournament thus far (Venezuela) vs. the best defensive team (Argentina). The defensive team won, but as you can see from the score, it was very much an offensive game.

Venezuela hung tight and was down just five early in the fourth quarter, but Argentina relentlessly picked apart their zone and pulled away with their long-range shooting. The hosts were a ridiculous 18-for-28 from 3-point range for the game, and that included an 0-for-4 performance from Carlos Delfino.

Check out these numbers… Manu Ginobili: 6-for-8 from downtown. Pablo Prigioni: 6-for-7. Andres Nocioni: 4-for-5. And with Luis Scola doing his typical work (17 points on 7-for-11 from the field) inside, it didn’t matter how good the Venezuelan offense was.

Venezuela needs to take care of business against Panama on Wednesday and then they should be playing for fifth place against Uruguay on Thursday.

Brazil 90, Panama 65 (Box Score)

Brazil picked up its third straight easy victory, again allowing its stars to stay fresh. It gets tough from here on out though, as they’ll face Argentina on Wednesday, Puerto Rico on Thursday, and then play the semifinals on Saturday.

The Argentina game (5 p.m. ET) is a rematch of a terrific round-of-16 matchup at last year’s World Championship (arguably the best game of the tournament) and should certainly be entertaining. Of course, Brazil has fewer NBA players on their squad this year (no Leandro Barbosa or Anderson Varejao) and Argentina has more (Ginobili and Nocioni were not in Turkey last year).

Venezuela Picks Up Big Win As First Round Wraps Up

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – On the final day of first round action at the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata, Argentina saw just one matchup of any interest. But it was a very important game regarding the standings and Olympic qualifying.

After a day off, the eight teams remaining will proceed with the second round on Monday. There’s still a lot to be determined, but a clear hierarchy has begun to develop.

Trending up: Venezuela (2-2)
Trending down: Canada (2-2)
Going home: Cuba (0-4), Paraguay (0-4)

Venezuela 103, Canada 98 (OT) (Boxscore)

Other than the two semifinal games next Saturday (which will determine which two teams qualify for the Olympics), this was probably the most important game of the tournament. Here’s why…

  • The teams that finish third, fourth and fifth in the FIBA Americas tournament qualify for next summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament, where the top three teams (of 12) will qualify for the Olympics. A berth in that tournament would be a big step forward for either Canadian or Venezuelan basketball.
  • Now that the first round is over, the top four teams from each group will each play the top four teams from the other group in the second round. So Canada and Venezuela will each play two teams they should beat (Uruguay and Panama) and two teams they shouldn’t (Argentina and Puerto Rico).
  • After the second round, only the top four teams qualify for elimination-round play. Those four teams should be Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Fifth place (and that final spot in next year’s qualifier) will be determined only by the round-robin results.
  • A Canada win would have put them two games ahead of Venezuela in the standings and virtually ensured them of that fifth spot. But a Venezuela win ties them with Canada in the standings and gives them the head-to-head tiebreaker, putting them in the driver’s seat for fifth.

Appropriately, this was the most exciting game of the tournament. There was an ugly stretch in the second quarter and both teams botched their final possession of regulation, but it was otherwise entertaining.

In the end, it was probably Canada’s mistakes that made the difference down the stretch. They committed four turnovers in the fourth quarter and another two in overtime. They were down by just one when Greivis Vasquez fouled out with less than three minutes to go, but Venezuela scored on each of its next five possessions to go up six and pick up the win.

  • Vasquez had another huge game, scoring 29 points on 8-for-18 from the field. At one point in the second quarter, he had 15 of his team’s 30 points and had a hand in another seven via three assists.
  • But Vasquez got a lot more help in this game than he did in Venezuela’s previous three. David Cubillan dished out 10 assists and hit a huge three in overtime. And Gregory Echeniquerecorded a double-double that included a couple of put-back dunks down the stretch.
  • But the player of the game for Venezuela had to be Hector Romero, who scored 28 points on 7-of-9 from the field and 11-of-14 from the line. Romero finished great around the basket all night and even drained a three early in overtime. His biggest play was an interception of an Andy Rautins cross-court pass that he took the other way for a dunk that gave Venezuela a six-point lead with two minutes to go.
  • That costly turnover was just part of Rautins’ rough afternoon. He shot just 3-for-9 from the field and missed three crucial 3-pointers down the stretch.
  • Carl English carried Canada in the first quarter, but Jermaine Anderson took over after that. Anderson scored more points on Saturday (28) than he did in Canada’s previous three games combined (23).
  • Joel Anthony had a couple of Canada’s late turnovers, but his defense around the rim was critical in getting them to overtime. Anthony finished with nine points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

Uruguay 79, Paraguay 66 (Boxscore)

Uruguay may be the team that can take that fifth place standing away from Venezuela. And they’ll get a chance in the next round after finishing third in Group B. Esteban Batista recorded his third straight double-double in this game that was never really close after Uruguay took an 11-point lead early in the third quarter.

Paraguay finished 0-4 and can look back at Guillermo Araujo‘s missed free throws at the end of Thursday’s loss to Panama as the reason they’re going home.

Brazil 93, Cuba 83 (Boxscore)

The final score of this was closer than it should have been, but the result was never in doubt. Brazil led by 15 at the half and by 22 at the end of the third quarter, allowing both Tiago Splitter (four points in 10 minutes) and Marcelo Huertas (six assists in 15 minutes) to get plenty of rest.

Like Paraguay, Cuba goes home without a win. They lost their four games by an average of 24.8 points.

Argentina 90, Panama 71 (Boxscore)

This was another game that was never in doubt and another display of Argentina’s terrific teamwork. The hosts didn’t shoot particularly well, but had five guys in double figures and assisted on 24 of their 34 field goals. Luis Scola led the way with 19 points and 14 rebounds and Pablo Prigioni made Panama pay for leaving him alone on the perimeter, connecting on five of his seven attempts from 3-point range.

Panama advances to the second round thanks to that narrow escape over Paraguay on Thursday, but looks destined to finish eighth in the standings.