• This was the final day of the group stage in Rio and the three games on the slate certainly shook up the standings. Lithuania and Argentina had nothing to play for besides seeding but the other four teams in action all had a shot at advancing into the medal round. The games were less entertaining in actuality than they looked on paper, but Day 10 still had its moments.

    Today’s Results

    Men’s

    Brazil 86 vs. Nigeria 69
    Spain 92 vs. Argentina 73
    Croatia 90 vs. Lithuania 81

    Brazil 86 vs. Nigeria 69

    Brazil kept their hopes alive by picking up a necessary win and eliminating Nigeria in the process. Brazil controlled most of the game and pulled away late with a big 23-8 run in the final quarter to earn a 17 point victory.

    Brazil actually got off to a slow start thanks to a 1-10 mark from deep in the first quarter. Nene, as he did all day long, kept his team afloat with 3 big offensive rebounds in the quarter. He was part of an all out assault on the offensive glass that corralled in 20 offensive rebounds; even if follow up opportunities were missed it wore out Nigerian defenders and produced long stretches where Nigeria simply couldn’t get into any type of offensive rhythm. Nene finished with 19-7-4 as well as 3 steals and a block. He’s really come on after a slow start to the tournament and made a handful of nice dishes as the hub of the Brazilian offense today. A chunk of those passes went to Alex Garcia (#10), who racked up many of his 13 points on quick cuts to the rim. Marcelo Huertas was his usual crafty self with 12 points and 11 assists and has shown really well in Rio so far.

    Brazil went with a different rotation today, trotting out big man Rafael Hettsheimeir (#30) who went for 12-6 with 3 triples. He was the entirety of Brazil’s three point attack in the first half and did well to keep them within shouting distance when the normal sources of offense dried up. Vitor Benite (#8) had another great second quarter with 10 points on 4-6 shooting (he ended with 15 total); this after he scored 13 points in the second quarter against Argentina on Saturday. Augusto Lima, the usual backup big man, picked up a DNP-CD today but might be needed against Team USA if Brazil can sneak into the medal round.

    Nigeria just couldn’t keep up with Brazil’s second chances and shot themselves in the foot with a slew of sloppy turnovers in the second half. They had a chance in the third quarter when Brazil’s offense sagged when Nene hit the bench but turnovers kept Brazil’s lead in the 7-11 range. Josh Akognon (#8; 16 points, 3 triples) and Ben Uzoh (#4; 15-4-2) led the way and really picked up the slack for a starting backcourt that struggled mightily. Michael Umeh (#5) and Ebi Ere (#7) combined for just 14 points on 12 shots and committed 5 turnovers compared to 3 assists. Umeh came into the game got but just didn’t have his shot today.

    Ekene Ibekwe (#15) flashed more great rim protection, blocking three more shots while deterring a few other looks at the rim. Ike Diogu (#6) had his hands full with Nene and struggled to the tune of 9 points on 3-8 shooting. It was a tough end for Nigeria but they had some very nice moments throughout their tournament. The first-time FIBA Afrobasket Champions acquitted themselves well on the Olympic stage.

    Top Performers

    Brazil Nigeria
    Points Nene 19
    Benite 15
    Garcia 13
    Akognon 16
    Uzoh 15
    Aminu 10
    Rebounds Nene 7
    Hettsheimeir / Felicio / Huertas 6
    Giovannoni 5
    Aminu 7
    Uzoh / Umeh / Ibekwe / Diogu 4
    Gbinije 3
    Assists Huertas 11
    Neto 5
    Nene 4
    Uzoh / Umeh / Aminu / Diogu 2
    Ere / Oguchi / Gbinije 1

    Stray Thoughts:

    • More great blocks from Ibekwe; tournament’s block leader
    • Fran dropping Ben Uzoh triple double knowledge!
    • Nene with 3 offensive boards in Q1; kept Brazil afloat with second opportunities early on
    • Alade Aminu (#14) has stretches of great activity but then disappears
    • Nice 2nd unit production from Brazil; Benite wasn’t used often in the first two games but earned more time if they advance
    • Brazil’s offense really sagged when Nene sat down to end Q3; it’s amazing how polished a passer he is when he gets the chance to show off
    • Nigeria seems to just fire up bad shots if the play gets busted; didn’t seem like they re-set too many times
    • Really good showing for Nigeria all things considered

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.