• 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.

    Today’s Results

    Men’s

    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.

    Top Performers

    Australia Lithuania
    Points Mills 24
    Baynes 16
    Dellavedova 15
    Kalnietis / Kavaliauskas 12
    Seibutis 8
    Kuzminskas / Maciulis 6
    Rebounds Bogut 7
    Andersen 6
    Baynes 5
    Valanciunas 8
    Kuzminskas 6
    Sabonis 4
    Assists Bogut 6
    Ingles 5
    Broekhoff / Martin 4
    Kalnietis 5
    Seibutis 3
    Kuzminskas/Grigonis/Jeskevicius 2

    Stray Thoughts:

    • 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

Fantasy News

  • Terry Rozier
    PG, Charlotte Hornets

    Terry Rozier (left knee soreness) practiced in full on Tuesday.

    Rozier missed the Hornet's final game heading into the All-Star break, but it wasn't considered to be a long-term concern. Feel free to get Rozier back into all lineups ahead of Thursday's game against the Bulls.

    Source: Rod Boone on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Coach Terry Stotts said that he wouldn't put a timetable on when star point guard Damian Lillard (right groin strain) would return, but he is expected to be re-evaluated on Tuesday or Wednesday.

    Lillard was given a timetable of 1-2 weeks last Wednesday, as the All-Star break came at an ideal time. Lillard has a shot to avoid any missed time if his re-evaluation shows progress, but owners should prepare for a scenario in which he misses a handful of games. The Blazers have five games remaining in February.

    Source: NBC Sports

  • Dario Saric
    PF, Phoenix Suns

    The Suns expect Dario Saric (left ankle) to be available to play against the Raptors on Friday.

    James Jones said that he expects everyone outside ok Frank Kaminsky to be available for Friday's game, meaning Tyler Johnson will be out there as well. While Saric has been out, Mikal Bridges has seen his role expand while Kelly Oubre Jr. has played a lot of PF. Keep an eye on how the rotation shakes out now that the Suns are healthy shakes out.

    Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter

  • Aron Baynes
    C, Phoenix Suns

    James Jones said that he expects Aron Baynes (left hip soreness) to be available for Friday's game against the Raptors.

    Baynes will be joining Deandre Ayton and the rest of the injured Suns' players in returning for this one. Baynes hasn't played in roughly a month and should be seeing a minimal role off the bench down the stretch. He can be left on the waiver wire unless something happens to Ayton.

    Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    James Jones said that he expects Deandre Jordan (left ankle soreness) to be available to play against the Raptors on Friday.

    Ayton missed a few games to close out the first half, but it looks like the second-year big man will be good to go when the Suns return to action. Ayton was putting up top-12/16 per-game value in 9/8 cat leagues in the 13 games before going down, and owners have to be ecstatic to get him back in their lineups. Cheick Diallo will revert to a deep reserve role.

    Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter

  • Cody Martin
    PF, Charlotte Hornets

    Cody Martin (concussion protocol) fully participated in Tuesday's practice session.

    Martin found himself in the starting lineup before going down a few weeks ago, as he has started to earn a bigger role in coach James Borrego's rotation. With Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out of the picture, Martin should have a reasonably safe role for the second half of the season.

    Source: Rick Bonnell on Twitter

  • Clint Capela
    C, Atlanta Hawks

    Clint Capela (right heel) did not participate in Tuesday's practice.

    Capela doesn't have a specific target date as he continues to fight the heel issue. With Capela out, Dewayne Dedmon will continue to absorb the bulk of minutes at C with Damian Jones backing him up. Over his past four games, Dedmon has averaged 8.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 3.8 blocks and 1.0 trey in 28.3 minutes per game.

    Source: Chris Kirschner on Twitter

  • Otto Porter Jr.
    SF, Chicago Bulls

    Otto Porter Jr. (left foot fracture) returned to Bulls practice on Tuesday.

    Porter added that he felt good and will return to game action when is 100 percent healthy. It was being reported earlier this week that Porter is eyeing a return before the end of the month, and this would be in line with that projection. It is unclear what type of minutes Porter can handle down the stretch, but his versatile skillset makes for an upside stash in fantasy circles.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • Wendell Carter Jr.
    C, Chicago Bulls

    Wendell Carter Jr. (right ankle sprain) resumed practicing on Tuesday as he eyes a return to game action.

    Carter is hopeful of playing when the Bulls return to action against the Hornets on Thursday. The Bulls may take a cautious approach and let him get in a few more practices before clearing him, but Carter's arrow is pointing straight up right now. If he is lingering on your league's waiver wire, go grab him.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • Kyrie Irving
    PG, Brooklyn Nets

    Brian Lewis of the New York Post is reporting that Kyrie Irving is expected to see a shoulder specialist as it is still bothering him.

    Irving is currently out with a knee injury, but that is said not to be an issue and is recovering fine, but the shoulder is still causing him problems. This is a glaring red flag as Irving missed 26 games earlier in the year because of the shoulder. Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert would stand to benefit the most should Irving's shoulder forced him to miss additional time.

    Source: Brian Lewis on Twitter