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Just The Sports: FIBA World Championship Round-Up (Day Two)

Just The Sports

Sunday, August 20, 2006

FIBA World Championship Round-Up (Day Two)

Like on day one of the FIBA World Championships, there were twelve games on the slate and I will be breaking down each of them. There will probably be some repetition because teams usually win in the same manner so just scroll down to the team or teams that most resonate with you.

Group A

Venezuela 84, Nigeria 77

Venezuela put up a much better offensive performance in today's game than they had in yesterday's match against Lebanon, increasing their offensive rating from a paltry 84.7 to a respectable 104.4. Their good defense remained about the same and helped them win the game.

Nigeria continued their cold shooting, hitting only 42.3% of their field goals and also shooting a poor percentage from the free throw line. Nigeria did, however, turn the ball over less and win the offensive rebounding battle, but allowing an opponent to have an effective field goal percentage of 64.2% will rarely translate into a victory.

Argentina 107, Lebanon 72

Getting away from the slow-paced Frenchmen helped the Argentines play more efficiently on offense, but it was their defense that really did the trick for them today holding Lebanon to an offensive rating of 87.6. Of course, Lebanon has not shown they can play good offense yet so maybe I am overstating the way Argentina played defense.

Still, Argentina did hold Lebanon to a worse shooting percentage than the team had on day one of the tournament. Lebanon only had a 43.8 eFG% and 52.9 FT%, but on the bright side, they had a high offensive rebounding percentage. It would have helped them more had they been able to throw the ball into an ocean.

France 65, Serbia & Montenegro 61

France found themselves in another close contest today, but this time they were the ones to come out the victor. It was not a pretty win, though. In fact, it was butt ugly. Not only did these two teams not score much, but the points they managed to score were done so in the most inefficient manner. France's 85.7 offensive rating would have lost them most games, but Serbia & Montenegro did them a huge favor with their own 83.1 offensive rating.

As expected both teams shot poorly from their field looking at their effective field goal percentages, but surprisingly, Serbia & Montenegro shot the ball better than France. France's saving graces were their lower turnovers, high offensive rebounding prowess, and the four extra free throws they made. Tony Parker needs to return soon if France wants to advance far in this tournament.

Group B

Angola 87, Japan 62

Angola continues to be one of the most dominating teams over the first two days. Against Japan, they increased their offensive efficiency (116.4) even revved up their already good defense, holding Japan to an 88.6 offensive rating. This margin was even greater than their actual victory margin.

The scariest part of Angola's offense is their skill behind the 3-point line. Hitting nineteen 3-pointers while taking care of the ball and rebounding your own misses at a high level is a good recipe for a win.

Germany 80, New Zealand 56

Let's just say New Zealand is not long for the FIBA World Championships. Germany helped to embarrass New Zealand by posting a 118.9 offensive rating. New Zealand managed only 91.7 offensive rating. The problem with New Zealand is the problem with most teams who are not efficient offensively; they shoot a low percentage from the field even when you give add in the extra weight of the 3-pointers they make. In each game so far, they have had a 42% floor percentage in both games, meaning they are struggling to score at least one point per possession.

Germany really only accumulated their high offensive rating by hitting sixteen 3-pointers. Since the likelihood of repeating such a feat is low, they will need to work on shooting better from the other parts of the court.

Spain 101, Panama 56

Had Panama not shown up for this game, no one would have faulted them. Had they not bothered to show up for the second half after only scoring twenty-seven points, I'm sure the viewers would have understood. Yet, Panama persevered and were rewarded with an offensive rating of 69.0. Remember, those are the total number of points Panama would have scored had they had 100 possessions. There are probably middle school teams that are more efficient offensively. Another shameful aspect of their performance is they only managed to score at least one point on 34% of their possessions.

Their opponent, Spain, had a bit of a better day with an offensive rating of 127.2, giving Spain the award for most impressive victory of the day. Their high offensive rating came not from superb shooting, but from rebounding their misses well and not killing possessions by committing turnovers.

Group C

Brazil 97, Qatar 66

If your team's offense is struggling, come play the Qatar national team. That's what Brazil did and look at how well it turned out for them. From game one to game two, Brazil increased their offensive rating from 96.6 to 122.7 and kept themselves in contention for moving out of the Group C pool.

There is not much good to say about Qatar and their 85.8 offensive rating. Oh yeah, there is one thing. They made ten 3-pointers.

Turkey 76, Australia 68

Turkey wins another close game and they did it in basically the same way as when they defeated Lithuania by two yesterday. Turkey and Australia has basically the same offensive rating (96.4 to 96.0), but Turkey had eight more offensive possessions in the game. Turkey then translated their extra eight possessions into eight extra points. Besides that, Australia shot much better from the field than did Turkey, but sometimes quantity can be better than quality. This was one of those instances.

Greece 81, Lithuania 76

Having to play a team not named Qatar put a bit of a damper on Greece's offensive rating, but their defense remained constant enough to keep the drop-off in production from leading to a loss. Greece held Qatar to 87.6 points per 100 possessions; Lithuania did not better, scoring only 87.7 points per 100 possessions. However, Greece kept their opponent down in different ways. In the game against Qatar, they forced a lot of turnovers. Against Lithuania, Greece kept them from shooting well from the field. Either way Greece turned in a dominating defensive performance in both games.

Group D

Puerto Rico 88, Senegal 79

Puerto Rico maintained a high offensive rating (113.1) and even decided they would try their hand on defense, although not of the perimeter sort. Part of their improvement on the defensive side has to do with the fact their opponent is Senegal, who will never be confused with an offensive juggernaut even if they wore the US's uniforms for a day.

One interesting note is Senegal shot worse across the board in this game than they did in the previous game, but came out of this loss with a slightly higher offensive rating. Methinks their eleven 3-pointers may be the answer to this riddle.

Italy 80, Slovenia 76

Italy regressed back to the mean as I thought they would and this regression was the result of more turnovers, less offensive rebounds, and not being able to play the Chinese national team again. The Italians were still able to win because Slovenia scored their points in an even less efficient manner and had a lower floor percentage.

USA 121, China 90

The US continue to lead the tournament field in offensive rating, helping themselves to a 138.9 offensive rating against China, who have been torched for the second game in a row. Even though the US increased their offensive rating and floor percentage, they actually shot considerably worse from the field in this game. So how did they do it? Well, the answer is they shot more free throws at a higher percentage and barely had any turnovers for the number of possessions they had during the game.

The US also played much better defense against China, holding them to an offensive rating of 106.8. With the way in which the US plays offense, that is certainly low enough for them to win every game they play.


  • Well, since I am Greek, I guess I have to support Greece. Our team plays very well defensively but we certainly lack the great personalities to lead the offence when needed. Greece is a solid team with plenty of alternative solutions –no one is irreplaceable- which can perform a great game from time to time, however to go further on the tournament we urgently need to improve ourselves in free-throws (we missed nearly 20 yesterday)and rebounds.

    If Greece had a player as good as Dirk NOWITZKI or Pau Gasol, then, I think, we would be the first favourites to win the world championship. When disciplined and well organized teams face difficulties from the unorthodox game of their opponents and nothing seems to be functioning according to plan, their only hope to win the game is Deus ex Machina.

    By Blogger BadlyDrawnBoy, at 6:20 AM  

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