No proper recap today – all you need to know is that the quarter finals will be on Wednesday and it will be an awesome day of basketball with three grudge matches lined up! The schedule is as follows:
2pm – Russia v Lithuania
4.15pm – Spain v France
8pm – Brazil v Argentina
10.15 – USA v Australia
Loads of videos to get through! Firstly the best ankle breaker from the Olympics that you HAVEN’T seen! Shona Thorburn goes behind the back with the crossover and breaks Samantha Richards ankles leaving her on her back!
Next up we have the Play of the Day when Patty Mills hits the three point, buzzer beating, game winner when the boomers upset Russia:
USA v Argentina was a great game for so many reasons but mainly because so much weird stuff was happening, like this Andre Iguodala Dunk. Iggy throws it down and . . . well just watch the video!
Kobe Bryant gets called for charge, pats ref on the ass and smiles, vintage Kobe!
Russell Westbrook had the dunk of the day with this HUGE poster and Kevin Durant approves!
We also had some quality Gifs from the USA v Argentina game. Chris Paul had earlier taken a shot at Facundo Campazzao and at the end of the third he went for the ball-tap on Carmelo as he shot, and made, the three. Not quite the Olympic spirit on display here!
This game was actually very close in the first half but then Kevin Durant went postal (8/10 from deep) and topped it off with this ridiculous long range bomb:
France v Tunisia was the first game of the day with Parker and Batum once again leading the way for the French, but they didn’t get it that easy versus a Tunisia side seeking their first win. In saying that, it wasn’t quite as close as the final score may suggest. Tunisia closed the gap late when Hadidane went off for 15 fourth quarter points including a meaningless buzzer beating three.
Russia v Spain was the game most have been looking forward too, both sides undefeated and desperate for a win to avoid meeting the USA until Sunday’s final. From the first day of Olympic action I thought Russia had to be a favourite to pick up a medal, their ball movement and movement off the ball is the best of any team in the tournament. However, that movement was non-existent at the start of the game and they got out to a terrible start, going down 20-2 to a slick Spanish side. Russia looked in trouble but Fritzon had came to play, he went 6/6 from the field in the first half as he dragged Russia back into it whilst doing his best ‘Ray Allen on fire’ impression, curling off screens, spotting up and knocking down jumpers. Russia continued to chip away at the Spanish lead, switching randomly between man and zone defense was an effective tactic and they came all the way back to take their first lead of the game late in the third, 49-47. The fourth quarter swung back and forth but the Russians made the keys plays down the stretch to snatch this vital victory. and it now looks like it will be a Spain v USA semi final match-up
The game that everyone is talking about is the USA v Lithuania game where the Lithuanians had the audacity to actually run with the USA and even take a fourth quarter lead. The Lithuanians had a steady game plan of playing a pack man defense, clogging the lanes and allowing the USA to shoot from the outside, this has been touted as the only way to stand a chance versus Team USA and when they only hit two of their first 19 threes it looked like a pretty good strategy. Lithuania stayed close throughout but LeBron took over down the stretch and Lithuania had no answer as he closed out the game for the USA.
Lithuania gave Team USA their toughest challenge yet
There were two ‘non-event’ games today, China v Brazil and Argentina v Nigeria. Both games had the favourite (Brazil and Argentina) take an early lead and did not look back, not much else to report here other than the fact that China are now officially out of the tournament.
GB v Australia might have been the game with most at stake, as not only were both teams battling for a quarter final berth but it was a hugely significant game for the GB basketball program. GB need to have something to show for the last four years of funding and development and this was their chance to qualify for the quarter finals stage and a huge match-up, from a PR point of view, with Team USA. GB started the brightest with some great ball movement and everyone hitting shots in rhythm. GB put up their highest first half point total of the tournament with 46 points and things were looking good as they held a 10 point advantage over the boomers, however, a disastrous second half was just around the corner. The Boomers were on fire in the second half and put up an incredible 70 second half points while holding GB to 29. This 40 point swing was led by Patti Mills and his 39 points including 5/7 from deep. This was a devastating second half collapse and it’s long term effect on the GB basketball program remains to be seen.
Plays of The Day
While it was a great day in the men’s competition the women brought most of the highlights on day four! But first check out this nightmare minute for Marc Gasol in crunch time vs Russia. First Ponkrashov throws the bounce pass through Gasol’s legs for Mozgov to throw it down and then on the very next play Mozgov meets Gasol at the summit for the monster block leaving the Spaniard on his back:
By now you will have heard about Liz Cambage being the first woman to dunk in an Olympic game and you cancheck out our post here for the full video! But for the play of the day of game four we have to combine two plays as Celine Dumerc went super clutch for France vs GB. Firstly she hits the leaning, pull up three to tie the game at the end of regulation:
Then at the end of the first period of overtime she repeated her heroics with the step back three at the same spot to win the game for France:
So far we have seen a few variations of man defense and some 2-3 zone in the men’s competition, Tunisia tried a 1-3-1 defense for spells versus France – the first time I have seen a different look on defense from teams. Just pointing this out because I thought it would be more common place with over matched teams trying different looks and junk defenses to try and slow down some of the more powerful offenses.
Some surprising coaching decisions in the Spain v Russia game. Ibaka only played 9 minutes during the first half and didn’t get off the bench in the second and Shved only played 7 minutes all game. Will be interesting to see how many minutes they play going forward, especially Shved who was one of the best players in the opening three days of play.
Mike Carlson has got to work on his name calling – EVERY game he mixes up players, the worst example was in the USA game when he had Deron Williams making a great pass to “Johnson” – who the hell is Johnson!
Slow day for Gifs and ok it’s not basketball but it’s still worth posting because how often are you going to see someone Crip Walking at Wimbledon? Way to go Serena:
Why do guys like Klieza and Pocius look like all-stars for their country but could hardly get on the court in the NBA / NCAA Div 1?
Warm up routine? Line Dancing? I don’t know what Kevin Love was at, do you?
Day 3 was by far the best day so far in the men’s basketball competition at the London Olympics with some fantastic games, close finishes and of course USA’s record breaking destruction of Nigeria. The first game of the day was France v Lithuania and it was entertaining enough and closely contested through the first two and a half quarters as both sides traded baskets before France went on a huge run to finish the game off. Parker and Batum were excellent for France.
The boomers finally got some three pointers to fall in the Australia v China game similar to the first game after a close first half pulled away for a comfortable win. Argentina v Tunisia, not much to say, Argentina win easy enough with Scola, Ginobli and Delfino again leading the way. One point of note is that Mejri finally had his breakout Olympic game going for 19 points and 14 boards.
Brazil v Russia was the game of the day, and the tournament so far, Russia held a 8-10 point lead for most of the second half before a late Brazilian run allowed them to get all the way back and take a 5 point lead with just under two minutes to go thanks mainly to the play of Larry Taylor. (I haven’t researched this but I’m just going to assume he is their one naturalised player, Larry Taylor just doesn’t have a Brazillian ring to it!) Russia closed the gap to two points and then we had three huge plays in a row to end the game. Firstly Shved nailed a huge three pointer to tie the game before Huertas made an incredible lay-up to give Brazil a 2 point game with only 6 seconds remaining. For the final seconds of the game check the video below:
GB V Spain was another great game with GB almost pulling off what would have been a huge upset versus the second ranked team in the world. Joel Freeland looked like a proper NBA player for the first time of the tournament pouring in 25 points for GB to help out Deng who had 26. Spain looked lackluster in parts and when GB started making some huge threes in the last minute they could have stole the win.
Everyone knows the story about the record breaking USA v Nigeria game by now where the USA destroyed the Nigerians 156-73 with Melo going 10/12 from three on his way to an insane 37 points in 14 minutes. To be honest I was happy to see this to happen to the Nigeria, the worst team to watch in the tournament. This team have only 3 players from the team that participated in the Afrobasket competition last year, they imported a host of Americans to qualify for the Olympics and have not even set a foot in Nigeria as a team since their formation for the Olympic qualifying tournament.
Rachael was back on the court for GB v the hot shooting Russians and although she didn’t score she was effective in her 9 minutes of action picking up 5 boards, an assist and a steal.
Play of the Day
Ok so the play of the day is probably the Fridzon three pointer for Russia considering the time left, score, situation etc But you can see that in the video above and I like plays with a bit more flash for this section. Firstly I have to mention Rudy Fernandez as he had a slick behind the back pass to Ibaka for a dunk however I can’t source a video of this anywhere so check out the BBC “watch again” and skip to 2.30 to go in the third quarter if you want to see it.
There were lots of dunks in the USA Nigeria game and the pick of the bunch is this made in UCLA alley-oop be Westbrook from Kevin Love:
But my play of the day is actually, as ridiculous as it sounds, from the Nigeria team with this sick crossover that makes James Harden do the splits before Skinn knocks down the three, we see dunks and nice passes most games but it’s not often someone gets broke this bad in a proper game:
The main story from the France v Lithuania game, for me anyway, was the limited minutes of Jonas Valanciunas who only played 7 minutes. The 20 year old was expected to be one of the stars of this years Olympics but Raptors fans will be worried by his lack of production and minutes in each of the games so far.
Big Meech had a good day on the mic, during the Russia v Brazil game Shved was shooting free throws during the third quarter and Amaechi chipped in “Oh I have just noticed he has a goatee beard, I thought that was just some some dirt on his face.” He was then praising Archibald for a post move vs Spain and made a great point noting that he did a great job of “keeping his body between himself and his defender.” Is it possible to not keep your body between yourself and your defender? Or is it impossible to do? I’m confused?
If you are looking for one action to sum up Nigeria it would be in the play of Diogu and Oguchi as every time they made a basket they would turn and stare at the USA bench despite being down by up to 80 odd points. My favourite time was when Oguchi hit a baseline jumper near the end of the first quarter, turned and stared at the USA bench while Russell Westbrook, his man, was finishing off the fast break with a dunk at the other end, vintage Nigeria.
Some decent Gifs, we have Melo giving the Jordan shrug after hitting another three:
And Anthony Davis heading to the scorers table but forgetting to put his vest on and the rest of the squad finding it hilarious:
I thought Mike Carlson made a great point about Nigeria. . . “If I was coaching them I would have them play man to man full court for the whole forty minutes and use their athleticism.” Now I’m not sure if they could have lost to USA by more than 83 points but if it is possible then that would be the way to go! Trying to speed up Team USA, is you crazy!?
The USA bench players spent 80% of the game standing up hooping and hollering – how many technical fouls would John Hegarty have handed out!? We wouldn’t get that nonsense in BNI!
Russia coaching staff rocking the Levis red tab and trainers look
Spain v Australia started off much more competitive than expected mainly due to an extremely sloppy start by the Spanish who looked like they were still on a siesta. Spain looked better as the first half wore on and it was quite an exciting game with seven lead changes before the half. In the second half Spain picked up the tempo and put on a passing clinic allowing them to stretch the lead out to 20 points and hold off a late comeback attempt by the boomers.
After the disappointing opening day loss to Argentina Lithuania needed to pick up a win in their match-up vs Nigeria. Lithuania v Nigeria was instantly forgettable, it was never in doubt that Lithuania would get the win as Nigeria again tried to revolutionise the game with their “no-offense” offense. Yesterdays stat of the day had team USA have an incredible 27 assists on 31 made baskets, well just as incredible was Nigeria having 3 assists as a team in this one. There was one highlight for Nigeria that you can see in the play of the day below.
One of the games of the tournament was GB v Brazil as the crowd really got into it and created a great atmosphere in the basketball arena. On paper this game should have been a blowout but GB looked like a different team to the one that had struggled so bad against the Russians. Deng was still drawing a lot of attention but he was now distributing the ball and the GB supporting cast where knocking down shots. Dan Clark started the game well, he actually drew a non-sarcastic Larry Bird comparison from the commentators, as Brazil were ice cold on their way to an unimpressive four point first quarter total. Brazil came back in the second quarter, with Splitter doing most of the damage, and from this point the game remained close right up until the last two minutes when the Brazilians hit back to back threes to seal the victory.
France v Argentina was up next and it was one of the best games of the day with France managing to pull out the upset win. Scola and Ginobli were good again for Argentina but, after his game one heroics, Delfino showed why he can be a frustrating player as he went ice cold in this one. Parker was good for France especially in the fourth quarter and Wizards fans will be excitied about the play of new signing Kevin Seraphin.
The most interesting thing about USA v Tunisia was the first quarter where Tunisia led for most of the way before coach K subbed off the sleep walking starting 5 and brought on 5 from the bench who immediately picked up the pace and the USA cruised from there. Interesting note: Anthony Davis had 6 shot attempts – 5 were completed alley-oop dunks and one was a tip dunk in which he was fouled.
Play of the Day
There are a number of candidates for the play of the day from day two, Ibaka had a couple of nice dunks but this ridiculous fast-break, alley-oop, jam was the pick of the bunch:
Nigeria are the worst team to watch at this years Olympics but they did manage to come up with a nice highlight yesterday as Alade Aminu came up with the monster block on Jonas Valanciunas:
But for the play of the day we have to go to the women’s games and of course the crazy Belinda Snell buzzer beater from her own half! Check out the madness below:
After playing so well in the opening game it was a shame to see Rachael not get off the bench for GB v Canada.
GB coach Chris Finch could come in form some criticism after Mike Lenzy had to leave the Brazil game with a recurrence of his calf injury. Lenzy was injured just before the tournament and bringing him was a huge gamble that hasn’t paid off and leaves GB short of players at the guard position as Finch controversially cut the talented young Devon Van Oostrum from the Olympic panel.
During the GB v Brazil game the commentators made a, non-sarcastic, comment comparing Dan Clark to Larry Bird, wow.
Two things I love about the BBC coverage – 1) You get to see the full warm up of the teams playing in the second game of the sessions which is great from a coaching point of view and 2) They always seem to leave the mics on when the commentators don’t know.
Gif of the day is a no contest:
Favourite video of the day is easily Kobe’s reaction to this Tunisia dunk: WAS the Kobe video down below until I found this cracker of the Tunisia coach bitch slapping one of his players!
No great upsets during the first day of action with the favourites coming up with the win in each game. The first game of the day was Nigeria v Tunisia and it was painful to watch. Tunisia are the Wisconsin of Olympic basketball with a slow down style of game where they try and limit turnovers, run a patient half court offense and appear to have a severe phobia of anything that resembles a fast break. Nigeria are the total opposite, imagine a team of JaVale McGee and JR Smith clones being coached by Birdie from Above the Rim and you would be close. They run virtually zero offense and just seem to go one on five whenever they can’t force a turnover or get out and run. Tunisia’s game plan of a low scoring game was working pretty well – they only put up 15 first half points – although it turns out that this is not a very good plan if your aim is to actually win the game. The Aminu brothers lead the way for Nigeria and they held off a second half comeback by Tunisia to win by the quite depressing scoreline of 60-56
Next up was the Aussie Boomers against Brazil and this was a much better match-up that involved two point guards going at it. Patty Mills had to force the issue for Austrilia and he was their only real outside threat but Huertas absolutely ran the show for Brazil, dictating the tempo while scoring 15 points and dropping 10 assists. After a close first half Brazil opened up a double digit lead and looked to be cruising before a late comeback attempt by the boomers made it a one possession game. The Brazilians sank their late free throws and held on to win 75-71. (Luckily for them it wasn’t Splitter at the line…)
The game everyone was looking forward to was USA v France and there isn’t much to say really. As usual the underdog sticks with the USA early but then the Americans pull away for an easy win. USA destroyed France in transition outscoring them 25 to 6 in fast break points and the USA had the stat of the day as they assisted on 27 of their 31 field goals, that is an insanely high percentage of assisted field goals and if the USA share the ball like that can anyone come close? France couldn’t buy a three and you never felt like they really had a chance in this one.
Alexey Shved, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and AK47 – T-wolves will be fun to watch next season!
Spain v China was up next and this was one of the more entertaining games of the day with Yi going crazy in the first half and almost single handedly keeping China close, the NBA free agent looked like he was playing for a contract and finished up with a double double picking up 30 points and 12 rebounds on 13/19 shooting, but you always had the feeling that Spain just had too much quality and as the second half wore on they continued to increase their lead. Pau Gasol was the main threat finishing with 21 and 11 but it was a solid team performance by the Spanish side.
While watching GB v Russia there was only one thing going through my head – how fun is it going to be watching the Timberwolves next season?! The Timberwolves have picked up Russia’s Andrey Kirilenko and Aleksey Shved and these two destroyed the GB team. Shevd is great to watch and picked up 16 points and 13 assists whilst looking like he wasn’t even trying. AK47 had a monster game going for 35 points on a crazy 82% from the field and throwing in 3 blocks and 2 steals just for the craic. GB look like they will have to do more than just rely to Deng to get out of the groups and Russia have to be in the medal discussion.
The last game of day one was also the game I was most looking forward too, Lithuania vs Argentina. This could be the last chance for this ‘Golden Generation’ group of Argentina players who won the world championships in 2002 and followed it up with the 2004 Olympic gold medal defeating the USA in both finals. Lithuania have an amazing basketball pedigree having reached the semi-final of every Olympics that they have entered. The Argentinians were simply too good for Lithuania on the day, their ball movement was good, Delfino (Another player looking for a contract) was on fire from three, Scola looked like a world beater and Manu was Manu. B
Play of the Day
A lot of contenders here, Pau Gasol’s baseline dunk, Kirilenko’s amazing one handed tip assist and Salah Mejri made up for a disappointing offensive game with a thunderous dunk. As much as it pains me the play of the day has to go to LeBron James, how many players can throw a 50 foot, two handed bounce pass through two defenders? Not many! Durant does well to catch and finish the play – check out the video below!
I couldn’t get video of this online due to the Olympics crack down on Youtube but click here to check out the highlights of Brazil v Australia and skip to 8 minutes remaining in the third quarter. I want Paul Bullock to then come back on here and tell us that make up calls do not exist! Crazy sequence of events!
Rachael Vanderwal is the closest thing we have to an Irish person being represented in the Basketball at the Olympics so we are keeping a close eye on her progress at TCC. Rachael had played limited minutes in GB’s warm up games but after Steph Collins went down injured after seven seconds of their game Rachael was always going to be playing increased minutes and she made the most of her opportunity. She was GB’s most efficient player, joint top scorer with 11 points with an impressive 60% from the field. Hopefully this performance will mean increased minutes going forward.
Love how the Russian coaches just rock the T-Shirt and jeans look, sure isn’t in only the Olympics!
Hope to see more from Jonas Valanciunas going forward, never really got going vs Argentina.
Every coach need an etch-a-sketch!
So many empty seats is sickening!
I want one, I want one now.
Michelle Obama hugging entire USA basketball squad and their coaches!