Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The end of the preliminary round for the Euros

And here is the answer to the question... "What was Dirk Nowitzki doing during the 2007 NBA finals?"

Today is the last day for the preliminary round. Let me try to explain this the best I can, cause it is confusing.... There are 4 countries in each of the 4 groups. Atfter playing each team in a group during the preliminary round, the top 3 in each group will move on to the qualifying round. The qualifying round has the top 3 teams in group A and group B playing against each other, as does Group C vs Group D. From the standings of those games, it will determine the 1-8 seeding for the quarter finals (the bottom 4 teams are out).
Here is a visual aid if you need it.

Israel beat Serbia today, 87-83 in a loser goes home game. Both teams were 0-2 going in so the winner, Israel, will move on to the qualifying round. Proof that having NBA players doesn't always mean victory, as Serbia went winless despite having both Darko Milicic as well as Marko Jaric of the Minnesota Timberwolves on the team. Can't blame those two for not trying though, as Jaric has 11 points to go with 6 assists vs Israel, and Darko had a nice 18 point, 13 board game. In fact, both players had a weak first game vs Russia but played much stronger against Greece and Israel, although I do argue that the competition was lighter in those two games. Israel on the other hand, with zero NBA players will move on although one has to question this lone victory as being lucky, seeing how Serbia played yesterday in a overtime battle with Greece leaving them tired down the stretch of this game. I don't expect much from Israel in round 2.

Lithuania finished 3-0 with a 84-80 victory over Dirk Nowitzki and his German team. While going unbeaten so far must be nice to see for Lithuania, nearly giving up a 21 point lead with around 15 minutes to play is not so nice. Germany trailed 60-39 midway through the third quarter but proceeded to drain six three-pointers to pull back to within two, 70-68, early in the final period. But a win is a win at the end of the day. Disco Dirk had 28 and 9 continuing his very strong performance so far, averaging now 29 points over the 3 games with 8.7 boards and 1.7 blocks. As for NBA players on Lithuania, Sarunas Jasikevicius who plays for Golden State, finished the first round with 14.3 points per game and a very nice 7 assists a game average. He had 10 in todays game.

In the battle of the 2-0's, and the battle between our own Rasho Nesterovic and Tony Parker, Rasho won as Slovenia beat France in a tight as they come score of 67-66. Parker continued to kick all sorts of ass with 25 points, averaging around 26 over the three games, but Parker does have a weakness which us fantasy basketball players know all about, which is that his free throw shooting is spotty. Well with Parker at the line with .1 seconds left, team down 2 points and needing both free throws to get the game into overtime, Parker goes 1 for 2. But of course, who really cares as both teams already knew they were moving on going into the game. Rasho finished with 12 points and 4 boards, which continued his decent play, as he has averaged 7.3 boards over 3 so far with one block and shooting at 52%

As for Portugal vs. Latvia, Portugal was 0-2 going into the game and Latvia was 1-1. I am just going to make this easy on me and cut and paste the report by Eruo Basketball... "
Portugal beat Latvia 77-67 but failed to leapfrog them in the Group B table, leaving their hopes of reaching the next round hanging by a thread. Needing to win by 15 plus points, the Portuguese stunned their opponents with a remarkable three-point shooting exhibition (nine of 18, 50%) and actually led 61-44 with 9:02 remaining in the game after a Paulo Cunha three-ball. Jorge Coehlo's 12 points and five rebounds helped lead Portugal.
But Kristaps Janicenoks replied with a three-pointer for Latvia to spark a 10-0 run for the Baltic country and they ultimately lost by 10. “I wasn’t thinking about the 17-point margin when I took the shot,” Janicenoks said, “and I actually didn’t see the score. “It’s just embarrassing to lose to Portugal. I think they were better than us in every position.” Portugal left the court still with a chance of advancing if Croatia were able to upset Spain. That would leave Croatia and Spain at 2-1, and Latvia and the Portuguese at 1-2. Portugal would advance by virtue of their win over Latvia."
Andris Biedrins from the Warriors, had a super nice 14 point, 18 board game with 3 blocks and a steal. Although overall his numbers are a mixed bad, with a nice 10 rebounds a game and over a block a game. But 43% from the floor as well as 55.5 from the FT line, plus over 3 turnovers a game puts balance to the good with the bad.

In another battle of the 2-0's, or as I like to call it, the "Andrei Kirilenko strikes back" show, Russia beat Greece 61-53. Jerry Sloan right now is changing quite a few of his plans for this upcoming season, as Kirilenko finished this game with 12 points and 17 boards. Well let's not go overboard here just yet, the good with the bad comes into play as he shot a weak 4 for 16, and had 5 turnovers to counter his 1 assist/1 steal/1 block game. Still, over 3 games with numbers of 17.5 PPG, 14 boards, 3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2 blocks, those are NBA 2005-2006 season type of numbers. Let's see how Kirilenko does when the competition steps up in round 2.

In another battle of the 0-2's, or as I like to call "just noticing that Hedo Turkoglu is playing", Turkey moves on to the second round with a 80-72 win over the Czech Republic. Mehmet Okur had a better game with 16 and 10, while Orlando's Turkoglu finished with 22 and 5.

What's that you say? You want another game between 0-2 teams? And involves Andrea Bargnani? Well good news, Bargnani will continue to sharpen up before the NBA season as Italy beat Poland 79-70. More good news, Andrea had a solid 19 and 7 game. Marco Belinelli of the Golden State Warriors added 20 points. So Bargnani didn't get much time with the team before everything got started, due to a sore back, and his production has increased every game, especially the boards which went from a pathetic one against Slovenia up to 3 vs France and now 7. The turnovers though...2 in the first game, 6 vs France and today 5. This could be similar to the New Jersey Nets series, as he was rusty in the first bunch of games and got stronger near the end vs the Nets. The difference here is that while the Raps had depth and other players to lean on, Italy needs Bargnani to produce.

And Spain!!! Whats going on??? The host country, and world champion Spain team lost today to Croatia by a 85-84 score. Can't blame Pau Gasol on this one, with Gasol getting 26 points. Jose Calderon added 10 and Garbo had 8. Croatia was well balanced with 5 players hitting double figure scoring. Based on these results, Portugal is into the second round! The numbers in all three games have not been anything special when looking at Calderon and Garbo, but Pau Gasol is the main man of the team, so those two are the role players on the team. Hard to figure out if they are successful with the roles they have with out seeing any of the games. Even though I can only go on numbers, not getting any of the games on TV, the numbers don't tell the whole story. As for Spain losing, they were already moving on, so perhaps this is more of a wake up call that they might have needed.

A day off for everyone, then on friday it's time for the Qualifying round. Games to watch are Italy vs. Lithuania to see if Bargnani continues to improve and France vs. Germany to see Tony Parker vs. Dirk.

I unfortunately will not be around until possibly sunday as it is time for me to hit the cottage scene one last time before the nice weather is gone. I hope that when I get back I will be able to get back into the loop with this Euro ball because I can tell, even with out watching it, that this is some good basketball.

1 comment:


It seems you put in nice amount of work over here. Not even the NBA and ESPN care about the FIBA games as much as you.

I myself have been starved for basketball, so I'll watch anything at this the way, the WNBA doesn't count as real basketball in my book.

Thanks for the comment over on our Magic Blog. We've got a great group of bloggers and knowledge over there and it seems to keep a nice balance.

However, I think you're writing is a little more my style. Let's just say, I relate to the way you see things.

EXAMPLE: Kobe Bryant.

BUT: I'm not a fan of Lebron either.

As for the Raptors... I think I was one of the few people that predicted them making the playoffs last season. Once I found out how they put together a "Euro Team", combined with a star, I knew things would pick up fast in Toronto. The NBA neglects TEAM BASKETBALL far to much. More often than not, teams are looking to land who they consider "stars", rather than assembling a team that compliments one another.

Obviously Toronto still has a little work to do, but they're definitely heading in the right direction.