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Just The Sports: FIBA World Championship Round-Up (Semi-Finals)

Just The Sports

Friday, September 01, 2006

FIBA World Championship Round-Up (Semi-Finals)

So I was wrong about both of my predicted winners, which I warned you I would be, but I was not completely wrong about how the games would play themselves out. For the Greece-USA match, my thoughts were that the team who performed better on its weaker side of the court would go on the win the game. That was an empty cliche, which means very little, but it was still applicable and turned out to be true. However, it was Greece who did so and not the USA team. The Greece squad picked the perfect moment to play their second-most efficient game on offense of the tournament, putting up numbers the USA would be jealous of by picking-and-rolling until their hearts were content. They had an offensive rating of 131.4 and a floor percentage of .61 on the way to victory.

The kryptonite of USA was their inconsistent defense, something I acknowledged and subsequently ignored. Instead of playing the sort of defense they had over the last three games, they chose to play the defense they did against Puerto Rico, only worse. To say their defense is the result of a lack of practice time together is no doubt accurate, but I would not want to take anything away from Greece's performance.

Continuing their trend of intimidating opponents on the free throw line, the players Greece fouled in the act of shooting only shot 58.8% from the charity stripe, even though Greece allowed the USA the highest number of foul shot attempts of any team they have faced in the World Championships.

The Spain-Argentina game turned out to be as close as their stats suggested and Spain came away the victor by one point. The game was so close in fact that Spain won despite having a lower offensive rating than Argentina (98.4 to 104.9). Spain did manage six more possessions than Argentina, based on their higher number of free throw attempts, which turned out to be the deciding factor in this game and allowed Spain to recover from being out-offensive rebounded and turning the ball over five more times than Argentina. Now Spain will go on to face Greece.


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