August 17, 2016, 8:59 pm
The men’s games didn’t have nearly the same theater (not to disparage the late game between Serbia and Croatia) as the women’s bracket yesterday, and that’s okay. What we got instead was some tournament favorites rounding into form as well as a final farewell to one of the international basketball scene’s finest cores. On one hand, three of the games were basically two quarters long. On the other, it looks like the big boys are heating up at the right time.
The semifinals are shaping up to be quite fun.
Australia 90 vs. Lithuania 64
Spain 92 vs. France 67
USA 105 vs. Argentina 78
Serbia 86 vs. Croatia 83
Australia 90 vs. Lithuania 64
Australia continued to look dominant today, dispatching Lithuania with ease in the first game of the afternoon. Australia got a three pointer from Matthew Dellavedova on their first possession and never relinquished the lead. Australia executed its offense to perfection with superb screens and backed it up with tenacious defense.
Australia continued to put on an offensive clinic; they are expert at running Patty Mills all around the floor until he can get stuck in a mismatch or find an open lane. Joe Ingles, Andrew Bogut and Dellavedova can all dish nicely and they knew which players to target on the defensive end. It was another tremendous outing that only cements Australia’s reputation as at least the second best team in Rio. Their physical defense got Lithuania off their game early and allowed the Boomers to build up a big lead that turned most of the second half into garbage time. The lead was cut down to the mid-teens at times but it never felt as though Lithuania could come back.
Mills had 24 points and 5 threes on 8-15 shooting, Dellavedova battled through a leg problem for 15 points, Aron Baynes shot 7-9 and put up 16 points of his own. The ball movement was once again brilliant as the Aussies worked to get Mindaugas Kuzminskas (#19) matched up on Mills and then stuck him on screens that led to open shots or over-rotations from the defense. Whenever Baynes flashed into open position, he got the ball. They absolutely carved up their opponents and look like a basketball cyborg headed into the semifinals.
Lithuania’s tournament started so well but they have now had three bad games in a row. They totally unraveled today and looked frustrated by the game’s physicality from the jump. Jonas Valanciunas ranged from ‘bad’ to ‘pedestrian’ despite gathering in 8 rebounds, many of them in dogfights with Baynes and Bogut. He really needs to develop a jumper, as Bogut completely sagged off him outside the paint and paid no price; Valanciunas never even looked at the basket despite 10 feet of space between him and his defender.
Mantas Kalnietis (#5; 12-3-5 today) had emerged as Lithuania’s go-to guy but was shut down by some terrific off-ball defense. That led to some bad passes and poor decisions as other players were forced to handle the ball; Lithuania had 17 turnovers and just 14 assists on the day. I watched this game on replay and was credited with a contact steal. It was a game where the Lithuanians looked frustrated at best and clueless at worst.
Australia Lithuania Points Mills 24
Kalnietis / Kavaliauskas 12
Kuzminskas / Maciulis 6
Rebounds Bogut 7
Assists Bogut 6
Broekhoff / Martin 4
- Ingles with great defense on Maciulis to start
- Bogut just destroyed Kalnietis with a screen on the second play of the game; he was cheating to help in the paint and ran right into Bogut when Ingles’ skip pass got to the corner; beautiful execution by Australia
- Tried a little clear out action to open up a driving lane for Maciulis but Mills didn’t bite at all; drew the charge for Maciulis’ 2nd foul in 90 seconds
- Australia had 18 points off turnovers in the first quarter; Lithuania had no chance today
- Some weak calls against Lithuania while Australia got lots of leeway early on, but really no excuse for the performance
- Lithuanians are missing all kinds of rotations on defense; they were totally worn out by the physicality
April 20, 2019, 6:26 pmBlake Griffin - F - Detroit Pistons
Blake Griffin (left knee soreness) is feeling "much, much better" according to coach Dwane Casey and is will go through warmups to determine his status for Saturday's game.
Detroit has not been able to make the first two games of this series competitive and it would make sense for them to let him give it a go for the home crowd. Either way, the Bucks look to be in total control of this series.
Source: Keith Langlois on Twitter
April 20, 2019, 6:22 pmSpencer Dinwiddie - G - Brooklyn Nets
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 18 points with four boards and one steal in Saturday's 112-108 loss to the Sixers.
Dinwiddie continues to play well off the bench along with his fellow guards Caris LeVert and D'Angelo Russell. The Nets let this one slip away and will now have to win in Philly to keep their season alive.
April 20, 2019, 6:17 pmJarrett Allen - C - Brooklyn Nets
Jarrett Allen scored 21 points with seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block in Saturday's Game 4 loss to the Sixers.
Allen had a nice final stat line, but he was getting worked by Joel Embiid all game. He also had a costly turnover at the end of the game when Tobias Harris, Embiid and Ben Simmons trapped in on the block – Harris may have gotten away with a foul.
April 20, 2019, 6:10 pmD'Angelo Russell - G - Brooklyn Nets
D'Angelo Russell scored 21 points with six assists, seven boards, two steals, one block and four 3-pointers in Saturday's loss to the Sixers.
Russell played well in this game outside of his 2-for-10 shooting on two-pointers, and even hit a few clutch shots down the stretch. He continues to give the Sixers fits on offense, but the Nets came up just short in this one.
April 20, 2019, 6:04 pmCaris LeVert - G - Brooklyn Nets
Caris LeVert played 42 minutes in Saturday's Game 4 loss scoring 25 points with five rebounds, six assists, one setal and three 3-pointers.
LeVert was expected to play more in this game after only logging 23.7 minutes per game over the first three. He once again looked healthy and commanded the game at times. After watching today's game you could not have guessed he suffered a gruesome injury earlier this season.
April 20, 2019, 5:53 pmJoel Embiid - F/C - Philadelphia Sixers
Joel Embiid was unstoppable in the Sixers' Game 4 win posting 31 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and six blocks on Saturday.
Jarrett Allen had absolutely no chance against a one-legged Embiid. He's clearly the best player on the floor in this series and the Nets will have to get creative in defending him, or hope for an injury, if they want any chance at coming down from a 3-1 deficit.
April 20, 2019, 5:49 pmTobias Harris - F - Philadelphia Sixers
Tobias Harris tallied 24 points, eight boards, six dimes, one block and one steal in 43 minutes of work in Saturday's win against the Nets in Game 4.
Harris seemed fairly quiet in this one but he still managed to come away with a great line, as he does sometimes. We'll see if he's tired for Game 5, but they will get an extra day of rest for travel.
April 20, 2019, 5:41 pmMike Scott - F - Philadelphia Sixers
Mike Scott logged 27 minutes and hit a go-ahead three with 19.7 seconds left in the game and the Sixers held the lead to take a 3-1 series lead.
Scott also grabbed eight boards in this one and played a lot down the stretch with Jimmy Butler out due to ejection. The Sixers could not get past the four or six point mark for most of the game but finally closed the gap and took the lead towards the end. This game was surely the most exciting of the playoffs so far.
April 20, 2019, 5:00 pmJimmy Butler - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers
Jimmy Butler was ejected in Game 4 in the third quarter for escalating a fight started by Jared Dudley, who was also ejected.
Butler was protecting Joel Embiid after Dudley shoved Embiid following a foul on Jarrett Allen. Butler was 4-for-6 from the field with 11 points, four boards, four assists and two steals and the Sixers will certainly miss him as they try to come back against the Nets in this one.
April 20, 2019, 4:55 pmTorrey Craig - F - Denver Nuggets
Torrey Craig will start Saturday's Game 4 over Will Barton.
This was somewhat expected as Barton has disappeared so far in the playoffs. Craig will give the Nuggets a lot of defense in the starting lineup and will hopefully let Barton do his thing off the bench.
Source: Harrison Wind on Twitter