August 9, 2016, 9:15 pm
Brazil dug themselves a big hole against Lithuania in their first game, trailing by 30 in the third quarter before embarking on a furious comeback that came up just short. Spain was in command of their opener against Croatia but slowly gave back their lead until they trailed by two in the final seconds and had their final attempt swatted into the ether by Dario Saric.
Today was the same script with a twist for both, as Brazil still required a late-game push to get the job done but converted thanks to a putback. Spain were the ones to defend the crucial play this time but failed again, allowing Marquinhos to slip into the paint and put a major dent into Spain’s medal hopes.
The home fans were happy and Argentina’s old guys outlasted Croatia’s youth as a competitive Group B owned Day 4 in Rio. Dive on in.
Brazil 66 vs. Spain 65
Lithuania 89 vs. Nigeria 80
Argentina 90 vs. Croatia 82
Australia 89 vs. France 71
Belarus 65 vs. Brazil 63
Turkey 76 vs. Japan 62
Brazil 66 vs. Spain 65
Brazil rode an impressive home court advantage to knock off the second ranked Spain this afternoon. The crowd was raucous from opening tip and pushed Brazil to a strong start that Spain just couldn’t overcome despite some timely surges. This was a back and forth affair and featured a few second half runs that kept it close when Brazil was on the verge of pulling away. The Brazilians came out with tremendous defensive intensity and did well to limit Pau Gasol throughout the game.
Brazil received a masterful outing from Marcelo Huertas (11-4-7). The veteran point guard was in command all day long, picking apart Spain’s defensive schemes with a series of cheeky floaters, runners and precision passes. He and Raul Neto showed tremendous patience in the pick and roll, drawing the lumbering Gasol out of the paint and opening up the lane for drives and cuts. Spain tried to cover up for Gasol’s deficiencies by showing some zone looks but was still victimized by backdoor cuts. Both Nene and Augusto Lima (#23) did a great job keeping Gasol out of the post, denying him the ball in several instances and holding on long enough for help to arrive in a handful of other moments. Marquinhos (#14) had the winner, sneaking behind Nikola Mirotic to tip in a Huertas floater with 5.5 seconds to go after the inbound pass snuck past Gasol under the rim. Ultimately, Brazil played a smart game and won the backcourt battle; Huertas in particular was key in the victory.
Spain struggled to generate much on offense all day long and finished shooting just 19-52 (36.5%) against a smart and active Brazilian defense. They had some silly turnovers in the form of bad travels and bungled passes. They finished with 13 turnovers to 12 assists and really couldn’t cope with Gasol’s rough day. Gasol led the team in scoring but was a major liability on defense, at times caught standing with arms spread and no player to guard in sight. He also shot an uncharacteristic 5-12 from the free throw line on a day where even one make could’ve vastly changed Spain’s fortunes. Ricky Rubio fouled out after another invisible performance while Mirotic couldn’t find his stroke, finishing 2-8 from the floor and 0-4 from deep.
One of the few players to look good was Sergio Llull (#23; 11 points, 2 triples) who hit a big time shot to give Spain the lead with about a minute to go. He was also trusted with the ball on Spain’s final possession and tried his best to generate offense while most of the team looked stuck in mud.
Spain is now in some serious trouble in Group B. At 0-2 they’re on the outside looking in alongside Nigeria and won’t own the tiebreak against perceived weakling Brazil. Spain could finish at 3-2 if they win out against Nigeria, Argentina and Lithuania but will need some major help to get through. It’s a shocking defeat after Spain fell to a game Croatian squad in their Rio debut.
Brazil Spain Points Huertas 11
Lima / Garcia 9
Rebounds Lima 10
Nene / Huertas / Garcia 4
Rubio / Claver 4
Assists Huertas 7
Neto / Garcia 2
Fernandez / Mirotic 2
Gasol / Claver / Reyes 1
- Spain looked so bad on offense in the first half; they picked Croatia apart but can’t handle Brazil?
- Ricky Rubio fouled out in another bad game, Sergio Rodriguez has to be on his tail
- Rubio and Gasol seems like a bad combo to run; teams help off RR so easily so Sergio’s shooting is a better fit
- Navarro (#7) had a real rough day, missed some good open looks and fired up a few bad shots
- Would like to see more of OKC’s Alex Abrines moving forward but Spain might trim the rotation with things looking dire
- Cristiano Felicio looks much slimmer; nice effort off the bench today
April 20, 2019, 11:20 amTony Snell - G - Milwaukee Bucks
Tony Snell (ankle) would be in an "emergency role" if he does play according to coach Mike Budenholzer.
Snell is still progressing according to the coach but he will not be rushed back after missing almost a month of action. The Bucks have routed the Pistons in each of the first two games in their series while Pat Connaughton and Sterling Brown should not be affected by Snell's return just yet.
Source: Matt Velazquez on Twitter
April 20, 2019, 9:14 amJuwan Howard - Team - Miami Heat
The Lakers will interview Juwan Howard on Tuesday for the vacant head coaching position.
Howard, an assistant coach with the Heat since 2013, will be the third candidate the Lakers interview after Tyronn Lue and Monty Williams. It has also been reported that Lue and Williams will both return for second interviews that include Jeanie Buss and other senior management. Howard is the only one of the three without head coaching experience but his extensive tutelage under Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra should pay dividends and he does have the most playing career accolades.
April 20, 2019, 12:48 amRussell Westbrook - G - Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook out dueled Damian Lillard on Friday as he notched a double-double with 33 points, 11 assists, five rebounds, four triples and one block as the Thunder beat the Blazers 120-108.
The four threes were a welcome sight for Westbrook who described his play in this series prior to Friday night as "unacceptable." After being highly inefficient in the first two games, Westbrook shot 11-for-22 as he hit shot after shot in the fourth quarter to ice the win down the stretch. Oklahoma City will hope for more of the same as they look to even the series on Sunday.
April 20, 2019, 12:40 amPaul George - F - Oklahoma City Thunder
Paul George labored through a 3-for-16 shooting night to score 22 points (14-for-17 from the free throw line), six assists, six rebounds and two threes on Friday.
Friday's game marked the second time in three games that George has struggled with his shot, adding to the speculation that his right shoulder injury is holding him back. Fortunately for Oklahoma City, he stayed aggressive attacking the basket and was able to chip in 14 points from the charity stripe as well as his customary lockdown defense down the stretch.
April 20, 2019, 12:36 amJerami Grant - F - Oklahoma City Thunder
Jerami Grant scored a playoff career-high 18 points on 6-for-7 shooting also contributing four threes and two blocks in Friday's win over the Blazers.
Grant caught fire at the perfect time as the shooting woes that plagued Oklahoma City in the first two games disappeared on Friday night. He was one of five teammates to make two or more threes as Oklahoma City was able to cruise to a victory.
April 20, 2019, 12:32 amDennis Schroder - G - Oklahoma City Thunder
Dennis Schroder logged 32 minutes with 17 points, six assists, five rebounds, two triples and two steals on Friday night.
Shroder and the Oklahoma City guards were able to exploit Enes Kanter routinely in this one as the steady diet of points ultimately led to them notching their first win of the season. This group is much more confident at home – look for the same intensity as they attempt to even the series at two games apiece on Sunday night.
April 20, 2019, 12:27 amDamian Lillard - G - Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard had 32 points, six assists, three triples and two steals as the Blazers fell to the Thunder by a score of 108-120 on Friday night.
Lillard went back and forth with Russell Westbrook all night as the home team once again prevailed in this series. The animosity between these two makes for very entertaining competition. Expect Lillard to come out firing on Sunday as Portland has another opportunity to steal one on the road.
April 20, 2019, 12:19 amCJ McCollum - G - Trail Blazers
CJ McCollum did a little of everything on Friday night with 21 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, five threes and one steal.
After missing the end of the season for Portland with a left knee injury, McCollum is consistently posting huge lines in the playoffs.McCollum's play is a big reason why Portland is leading 2-1 in this series. Look for another strong night on Sunday in Game 4.
April 20, 2019, 12:12 amEnes Kanter - C - Trail Blazers
Enes Kanter scored 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting while adding five rebounds on Friday night.
Kanter had a good night scoring the basketball, despite a nagging right hand injury. Unfortunately for Portland, any good done by his offensive performance was undone on the defensive end as he was frequently targeted by the Oklahoma City offense and failed to offer much resistance.
April 19, 2019, 11:43 pmKyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irivng contributed 19 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, three threes, one steal and one block in Friday's 104-96 victory in Indiana.
Irving has been sensational so far in the playoffs for Boston looking locked in and focused on setting up his teammates as he's notched at least seven assists in every game so far. After a season that led many to question his loyalty to this team it's good to see Irving step up and lead Boston.