• Mercifully we saw some close games and exciting finishes today. Dario Saric almost choked it away for Croatia but came up big at the game’s pivotal moment. Lithuania started strong and snoozed through the second half, narrowly dodging a defeat from the home team in Group B. The US Women unsurprisingly blew some doors off against Senegal but the rest of the women’s field looks competitive.

    If nothing else, Day 2 was a lot more fun than Day 1.

    Today’s Results

    Men’s

    Lithuania 82 vs. Brazil 76
    Croatia 72 vs. Spain 70
    Nigeria vs. Argentina

    Women’s

    USA 121 vs. Senegal 56
    Serbia 65 vs. Spain 59
    Australia 61 vs. Turkey 56
    France 73 vs. Belarus 72

    Brazil vs. Lithuania

    The first men’s game of the day looked like another blowout until an impressive second half rally from Brazil. The Brazilians entered with visions of keeping Jonas Valanciunas away from the basket and did a good job with that for the most part. Lithuania capitalized on some sloppy perimeter defense and ran their sets to perfection, ripping Brazil apart with their good shooters coming off excellent screens. Once Brazil paid more attention to the pick and pop game the paint opened up for Lithuania, who shot 72% from the floor and got whatever they wanted in a clinical first half performance. The second half was a different story; Lithuania scored just 24 points in the entire second half after posting 27 and 31 points in the first two quarters.

    There were strong performances up and down the roster despite the near-collapse. Knicks-bound Mindaugas Kuzminskas (#19) looked good off the bench while Antanas Kavaliauskas (#12) dominated the paint when Valanciunas sat. JV was disappointing; fouling out with just 6 points and 3 rebounds. While his output left a lot to be desired, Lithuania used his gravity to fire open shots from both the mid-range and deep. Paulius Jankunas (#13) was killer from the mid-range in the first half as Brazil selling out to protect the paint played into his skill set nicely. Long-time point guard Mantas Kalnietis led the way with 16 points while Jankunas turned in a nice all-around game with 16-7-3.

    Brazil started poorly and struggled to contain the bigger Lithuanians. Their defense was over-aggressive at times and they were stymied at the other end by a suffocating Lithuanian defense for the first 30 minutes. Poor shooting from the three point line (2-14) and charity stripe (22-35) also loomed large given their tremendous second half surge. A really nice 3rd quarter led by Leandro Barbosa closed the gap to 18 and got the crowd back into it for a massive push in the 4th that saw a deficit of 30 trimmed to just 4 points. Lithuania’s first half execution was just too much to overcome.

    They got impressive games from Barbosa and Jazz guard Raul Neto and the offense seemed to kick into high gear when they let those two create freely. The first half saw lots of plays forced into the post for Nene to poor results. Maybe Brazil enters their next game with a looser offense that will leverage Barbosa’s speed and creativity; their penetration turned Nene into a threat on the offensive glass and formed a much more balanced attack.

    Top Performers

    Lithuania Brazil
    Points Kalnietis 16
    Jankunas 15
    Seibutis 11
    Barbosa 21
    Neto 14
    Nene 11
    Rebounds Jankunas 7
    Maciulis 6
    Kuzminskas 5
    Nene 8
    Lima 6
    Felicio 4
    Assists Kalnietis 7
    Jankunas / Seibutus 3
    Valanciunas / Maciulis 2
    Huertas 3
    Nene/Barbosa/Marquinhos 2
    Neto / Lima 1

    Stray Thoughts:

    • Brazil did a great job of not letting Valanciunas get the ball in the post
    • Felt like Brazil wanted to funnel the ball to Sabonis; he looked tentative early and seemed surprise by Brazilian pressure. He did convert a huge and-1 to pretty much ice the game
    • Huertas has some fun game; it’s a shame he couldn’t squeak out more minutes in a meaningless Lakers season if only for the entertainment value
    • I don’t know what happened at halftime but Lithuania looked like a completely different team coming out of the locker room
    • Lithuania was battling the whistle in the second half; their first free throw of the half was Sabonis’s and-1 to extend the lead to 7 with about 1:20 left to go
      • Free throws: Brazil 22-35, Lithuania 15-18
    • Nene took a horrible foul to all but ice the game, hacking with 3 seconds left on the shot clock with 17.8 seconds to go. Awful decision making from one of the team leaders
    • Brazil still struggled to move the ball on their big run; 11:13 assist to turnover ratio shows the Iso-heavy reality of Barbosa as a lead dog
    • I suppose that’s the reward for dominating everyone, but it’s a shame Team USA won’t get to face off against these Group B teams. There could be some fun games in there

Fantasy News

  • Allen Crabbe
    SG, Atlanta Hawks

    Allen Crabbe (right knee) has been upgraded to probable for Sunday's tilt against the Hornets.

    Crabbe has missed his last two games following a minor surgical proceedure on his knee, but it seems like that stint on the sidelines is set to end today. He's not on the fantasy radar, and can really only be considered a fringe 3-point specialist at best.

    Source: Brad Rowland on Twitter

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    The 76ers have yet to submit an injury report ahead of their game against the Raptors on Sunday, the team expects Joel Embiid to be active after missing Saturday's game for rest.

    We'll have an update very soon, but it's encouraging that his teammates are saying that he'll play. Embiid will get a chance to avenge his 0-of-11 shooting night versus Marc Gasol from a few weeks ago. This is par for the course for Joel Embiid, but 18 games from the Process with a quarter of the season in the books is a win for both Philly and anyone who rosters him in fantasy leagues.

    Source: Mike Ganter on Twitter

  • De'Andre Hunter
    SF, Atlanta Hawks

    De'Andre Hunter (disloacted index finger) is now being listed as questionable ahead of Sunday's matchup with the Hornets.

    He was listed as doubtful yesterday so there is a chance he could see the floor in this one. His return would take shots from Cam Reddish, who is coming off his best game as a pro. Stay tuned for more updates.

    Source: Brad Rowland on Twitter

  • Devonte' Graham
    PG, Charlotte Hornets

    Devonte' Graham is averaging 19.1 points, 7.8 assists and 3.7 threes per game in his breakout sophomore season and he's starting to create buzz as a Most Improved Player award candidate.

    Graham is shooting 42 percent from three after tripling his attempts from behind the arc this season, joining the upper echelon of the league's sharpshooters at the ripe age of 24. He's not only an efficient scorer, but he's effectively raising the production of the Hornets' entire lineup when he's on the floor, adding nearly 20 points per game off of assists to his teammates. It's no surprise that he's jumped ahead in the MIP discussion. We've said it here before, but Graham is not a sell high player and congratulations are in order if you plucked him off the wire during that first week.

    Source: Charlotte Observer

  • Donovan Mitchell
    SG, Utah Jazz

    Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points with four rebounds, three assists and seven turnovers in a 126-112 blowout victory over the Grizzlies.

    The turnovers were the one blemish on this game for Mitchell. He is sitting inside the top-30 and should stay within that range with potential to climb into the top-20.

  • Bojan Bogdanovic
    SF, Utah Jazz

    Bojan Bogdanovic dropped 19 points on Saturday while shooting 5-of-13 from the field, 2-of-6 from deep and 7-of-7 from the line.

    Bogdanovic continues to roll, producing top-60 value with solid contributions in points, threes and free throw percentage.

  • Rudy Gobert
    C, Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert double-doubled with 19 points (8-of-9 from the field) and 11 boards on Saturday.

    Gobert was almost perfect from the floor and added five assists, but he failed to record a block. Gobert is top-40 on the season and could get back to second-round value if his blocks increase slightly.

  • Joe Ingles
    SF, Utah Jazz

    Joe Ingles double-doubled with 12 points, 10 assists, four steals and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes on Saturday.

    Ingles saw extra ball handling opportunity with Mike Conley (left hamstring tightness) sitting out, and he had a great connection with Rudy Gobert (19 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes). Ingles is still outside the top-150 in 9-cat rankings but keep an eye on him in case he can get some momentum.

  • Emmanuel Mudiay
    PG, Utah Jazz

    Emmanuel Mudiay scored 11 points with seven assists and two threes in 22 minutes on Saturday.

    Mudiay had extra opportunity with Mike Conley (left hamstring tightness) sidelined. Mudiay can be streamed for assists when Mike Conley or Donovan Mitchell are out, but he should be left on the waiver wire when the Jazz are at full strength.

  • Jeff Green
    SF, Utah Jazz

    Jeff Green drained five 3-pointers on his way to scoring 19 points, shooting 7-of-9 from the floor and 5-of-6 from behind the line in 26 minutes.

    Green joined the party tonight as the Jazz blew out the Grizzlies 126-112. Green can be a boom-or-bust streamer for points and threes but is too inconsistent to rely on. He should be left on the waiver wire.