Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The final 8 are set

Bargnani is having a flash back to last years NBA summer league

Well it would have been nice to see Andrea get a few more high intensity games in before training camp, but it just was not meant to be. Germany beat Italy 67-58 to move on into the quarter-finals and I am not suprised. In the 5 games leading up to today, Italy lost to Slovenia/France and Lithuania. I am not saying that they needed to beat all three, and Lithuania and Slovenia is looking great, but if Italy was a legit contender they would have won at least one of those game. Part of the problem for Italy has been a horrible offense. Except for a 84 point game against Turkey, Italy has scored 68/62/79/74 and now a 58. Bargnani did not produce well this tournament, adding in today a 10 point, 6 board game today with 3 for 12 shooting. When trying to figure out the problems Bargnani had in these Euros, one part of the problem is obviously the back injury that limited his time preparing for the Euros, and therefore being very unfamiliar with his teammates and system Italy uses. It was suggested that Italy plays a lot slower of a game then the Raptors do. And perhaps Bargnani is just more suited for the faster paced game. Although if I was Italy, and maybe it was tough because Bargnani was unavailable in the build up and also the fact that this is the first time Andrea has played on the national team, but I would consider using a star like Bargnani to the fullest potential. Compared to the other teams, Italy is near the bottom for # of shots per game, so perhaps playing a more uptempo game that fits the style of the star player would be the wise move. As for Bargnani's Italian teammate and Golden State Warrior Marco Belinelli had a great scoring game with 25 points including 10 for 10 from the FT line. In fact, except for a weak opener and a poor outing against Lithuania, Belinelli had a good tournament, this 25 point game plus a 20,17 and a 15. As for Nowitzki, a 15 point, 10 board game and off to the quarter finals to take on a well rested Spain team.

Turkey was playing for respect, France was playing for better seeding in the quarter finals. Respect lost out today as France easily beat Turkey 85-64. How easy was it? Tony Parker who has been the man for France so far in the tournament only had 6 points. Looks like they figured they would give Boris Diaw a shot at being the man, with Diaw having his best game with 18 points and 5 boards. For Turkey, Turkoglu had 9 points, 4 boards and 3 assists while Mehmet Okur ended his poor showing in the Euros with 5 points and 6 boards. It's funny how I sometimes question Bargnani's performance, but compared to Mehmet Okur who is an all-star center for Utah, Bargnani is golden. This sets up a nice match-up tomorrow of France vs Russia in the quarter finals.

And the winner of the last man standing game, the battle of the undefeated, is Lithuania, 80-61. I wouldn't read into this that much though. While a victory is a victory, I don't think that Slovenia really brought the A game. They are both moving on to the quarter finals, and as for the placement in standings and who they play in the first round, there is no big difference between Greece and Croatia to battle over. I am not saying that this game was a NBA pre-season game, but based on the results of this battle, I would still not make Lithuania the hands down favorite to beat Slovenia if they play again in a few days. Rasho Nesterovic who has played so well for Slovenia, only went 18 and a half minutes. Saruis Jasikevicius who has played well for Lithuania only played 15. If anything, this game was about Lithuania dominating the long ball, shooting

Alright, so the final 8 are:

Spain vs Germany
Russia vs France
Greece vs Slovenia
Croatia vs Lithuania

Gotta go for the higher seeds in these matchups, Spain, Russia, Lithuania and Slovenia.

No comments: