• Today lacked the pure entertainment value of yesterday’s Day 2 but turned out some good stuff. The game of the day probably came from the women’s bracket as Canada worked to erase an 18 point third quarter deficit and snatch a win away from Serbia. On the men’s side, Australia looked impressive again and pulled away from Serbia late while France decided to show up tonight. And lest we forget the Teams USA who both cruised to easy victories, though the men’s squad decided to make things interesting for 10 minutes.

    Let’s jump in.

    Today’s Results

    Men’s

    Australia 95 vs. Serbia 80
    USA 113 vs. Venezuela 69
    France 88 vs. China 60

    Women’s

    USA 103 vs. Spain 63
    Canada 71 vs. Serbia 67
    Japan 82 vs. Brazil 66
    China 101 vs. Senegal 64

    USA (W) 103 vs. Spain (W) 63

    Third-ranked Spain hung in there, relatively speaking, but ultimately was no match for Team USA. The talent disparity is evident and insurmountable for anyone else in the tournament. The US are balanced and unselfish enough for everyone to play an active role and rack up stats. The usual suspects did their thing, with Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Sylvia Fowles hitting double figures. Everyone but Tamika Catchings collected points in another dominant win.

    Spain did have some bright spots, namely Alba Torrens (#7) who used a variety of quick dribble moves to get just enough space to launch shots over taller, longer defenders. On a team that lacked shot makers, Torrens’ ability to take and make stood out. Astou Ndour (#45) showed good range and was Spain’s only post presence. She couldn’t handle the American bigs but at least battled long enough to allow the defense to collapse on the post when the occasion called for it. Leticia Romero (#2) also had some strong moments and slipped some nice passes into tight spots, but it wasn’t nearly enough. They were close for the first eight minutes or so before the US went on a series of nice runs to put things out of reach.

    Top Performers

    USA SPAIN
    Points Taurasi 13
    Della Donne / Fowles 12
    Griner / McCoughtry 10
    Torrens 20
    Ndour 13
    Romero 9
    Rebounds Charles 6
    Moore / Bird 5
    Four with 4
    Ndour 8
    Romero / Nicholls 5
    Torrens 4
    Assists Bird / Charles 5
    Moore 4
    Augustus 3
    Dominguez 3
    Romero / Cruz / Torrens 2
    Four with 1

    Stray Thoughts:

    • Brittney Griner may as well be playing on an empty court; players just bounce off her in the post
    • The US athleticism is unbelievable; they have no fear of switching on any picks that Spain set- Spain works and works to draw mismatches that the Americans just accept and defend with ease
    • There’s a surprising amount of chemistry on Team USA considering the number of young players playing big roles
    • I don’t follow the NBA but I assume that the Minnesota Lynx are some kind of powerhouse
    • Nobody can challenge the Americans on the glass; rebounds were 51-32
    • Spain had a few instances of pressuring the ball early to try and force turnovers before the US could pick them apart with their usual sets; also sent two or three players as help whenever the ball went into the post- it’s not going to work with the immense size disadvantage but that’s probably the right play

    USA (M) 113 vs. Venezuela 69

    Venezuela started off well, actually playing the Americans to a draw in the first quarter. They came out with no fear, running their sets and taking it right to Team USA. That might have surprised the Americans who played a sloppy first quarter and sent Venezuela to the free throw line 10 times to offset their poor shooting. Venezuela’s game plan appeared to be to prevent the US from getting into rhythm. The choppy pace of play was helped along by a loose whistle and for the most part the Americans had limited fast break opportunities. Team USA bounced back from a lethargic first frame and went on a 21-2 run in the second that was sparked by a transition three from Carmelo Anthony to snap everyone back to reality. The US entered halftime with a 22 point lead despite committing 9 turnovers in the first half with many of the clumsy (i.e. Stupid) variety.

    To be quite honest, the dinner bell rang around halftime so I missed much of the second half. From the looks of things I didn’t miss all that much as the game finished as expected. Still, credit Venezuela for a strong start and laying a blueprint that more talented opponents might copy later on in the tournament.

    John Cox (#6, 19 points- he’s also Kobe Bryant’s cousin in case you watched the game on mute) led the way for Venezuela and paid homage to his cousin by firing up 20 shots. Gregory Echenique couldn’t slow DeAndre Jordan but did have a few nice moves in the post, working over DeMarcus Cousins and getting Jordan off his feet on another attempt. He’s got some decent skill on the low block but was stripped several times and just isn’t accustomed to the pace and tenacity that an opponent like the US brings.

    The Americans got a balanced scoring attack with double figure scoring from Kevin Durant, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Anthony and Jordan. Bulter also had some really nice defensive plays throughout (shocker, I know). Don’t sound the alarm yet, but Klay Thompson has looked horrendous in the first two games. Boogie fouled out but was definitely hurt by some soft calls in the early going. At the end of the day, Team USA was challenged briefly but quickly snapped out of their funk.

    Top Performers:

    USA Venezuela
    Points George 20
    Butler 17
    Durant 16
    Cox 19
    Echenique 18
    G. Vargas / Cubillan 10
    Rebounds Jordan 11
    Lowry / Cousins 5
    George / Green 4
    Echenique 7
    J. Vargas / Perez 3
    Four with 2
    Assists Lowry 8
    Durant 4
    Irving 3
    G. Vargas 3
    Echenique / Cox /
    Cubillan / Lewis 2

    Stray Thoughts:

    • Venezuela shot 10 free throws in the first, 15 in the rest of the game
    • Venezuela really tried to muck up the game; choppy flow with lots of whistles kept USA out of rhythm early
    • Coach K hasn’t dusted off Draymond at the 5 just yet, maybe he’s saving that look for the medal round
    • Strong defense carried over from exhibition game; VEN shot 8-30 in the first half and finished 22-64
    • DeMar DeRozan cheating for steals late in 4Q to throw down a monster jam on the break- I see you DDR

Fantasy News

  • Ricky Rubio - G - Utah Jazz

    Ricky Rubio put up 17 points with four rebounds, nine assists and four steals in a loss to the Rockets in Game 2 on Wednesday.

    He shot 7-of-17 from the field and had the unfortunate matchup against James Harden for much of this game. Harden hit him with a crossover that sent Rubio to the floor, but he missed the shot. The Jazz have been getting good performances from Rubio and Derrick Favors, but the inconsistent play from the remainder of their roster has left them with a two-game series deficit. The Jazz are heading back to Utah for Game 3 as they will try to steal their first game of the series.

  • Donovan Mitchell - G - Utah Jazz

    Donovan Mitchell had another poor shooting night as he went 5-of-18 from the field on his way to 11 points in a Game 2 blowout loss to the Rockets on Wednesday.

    Mitchell shot just 1-of-8 from 3-point territory and 0-of-2 from the stripe. He also had five fouls and four turnovers while playing a team-high 37 minutes. He did add six assists and two steals, but this was a disappointing performance from the second-year rising star. Eric Gordon has been outshining him, but Mitchell has a chance to rectify things as the Jazz head home for Game 3.

  • Derrick Favors - F/C - Utah Jazz

    Derrick Favors played well in his 22 minutes of action in a Game 2 loss to the Rockets on Wednesday, with 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.

    Although Favors is putting up good numbers in such limited minutes, you should not expect to see him go above 25 minutes at all in this series. He shot 7-of-11 from the field and missed both of his attempts from deep. Also, the Rockets play a lot of small ball as PJ Tucker is their power forward, so Favors is often at a defensive disadvantage when on the court.

  • Rudy Gobert - C - Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert did not have a great showing in Wednesday's Game 2 loss to the Rockets as he managed just 11 points and 12 rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting.

    He made five of his seven attempts from the stripe and added one assist and two steals to the stat sheet. He did not record a block in this one which is rare to see from Gobert as he averaged 2.3 blocks per game on the season. Clint Capela has been defending Gobert well, which is making things a lot tougher on the Jazz to score and rebound the ball. Gobert will look to bounce back as the Jazz head home for Game 3.

  • Royce O'Neale - F - Utah Jazz

    Royce O'Neale played well on Wednesday in a Game 2 blowout loss to the Rockets as he had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting with three triples and four assists.

    O'Neale stepped up as Joe Ingles managed just seven points on 3-of-8 shooting with five steals. He saw 27 minutes of action in this one after seeing just 15 minutes in Game 1. He has guarded James Harden on numerous possessions thus far and it seems as though Harden goes at him every chance he gets. This may be the best game we see from O'Neale all series, but he has given the Jazz some solid run off the bench thus far.

  • James Harden - G - Houston Rockets

    James Harden dominated the Jazz in Game 2 on Wednesday as he triple-doubled with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

    Aside from his eight turnovers, there was not much to complain about Harden’s performance. Rather, there were elements of Harden’s showing that deserve high praise such as his six triples, one block and toughness throughout the entire game. He would not back down from Ricky Rubio and actually crossed him up in the first half. The Beard is continuing his MVP-like season into the playoffs, which is no surprise given how truly great his 2018-19 campaign was.

  • Chris Paul - G - Houston Rockets

    Chris Paul put up 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting with two steals and two blocks in a blowout win over the Jazz on Wednesday.

    He made just one of his six 3-point attempts and turned the ball over six times. However, he did add four rebounds and three assists to the box score as well. James Harden is clearly the dominating force for the Rockets, but Paul's stability will be crucial for the team to continue their playoff success.

  • Eric Gordon - G - Houston Rockets

    Eric Gordon outplayed Donovan Mitchell once again in Game 2 as the Rockets beat the Jazz 118-98 on Wednesday.

    Gordon scored 16 points on an efficient 6-of-11 shooting and 3-of-6 shooting from long-range. He also contributed one rebound, two steals and one block to the stat sheet. Gordon is tasked with guarding Mitchell, which is the toughest defensive assignment on the Rockets and he is thriving in that role. He has held him to 30 points on 37 shots in the series thus far. This series could potentially end in four games if Gordon continues to play at this high of a level.

  • PJ Tucker - F - Houston Rockets

    PJ Tucker drilled four triples on his way to 16 points in a blowout win over the Jazz in Game 2 on Wednesday.

    He added two steals and four boards while converting five of his eight shots from the field. The Rockets have confidence in Tucker to fire from deep and he proved them right as he drilled four of his seven attempts from 3-point territory. Surrounding James Harden with 3-and-D wing players has been their formula for success and Tucker fits that mold perfectly. When Tucker is hitting his shots, the Rockets are likely to dominate the way they did tonight.

  • Clint Capela - C - Houston Rockets

    Clint Capela did not have to do much in the Rockets’ Game 2 blowout win over the Jazz on Wednesday as he had just seven points and 10 rebounds with three blocks.

    He shot 3-of-4 from the field and added one assist and one steal to the box score. Although the numbers were down in this one, he did what he had to do in his 29 minutes of action as he kept Rudy Gobert in check as well. Capela is an important cog in the Rockets’ formula for success, so even when he is not scoring as much he is still impacting the game in other ways.