• 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.

    Today’s Results

    Men’s

    Brazil 66 vs. Spain 65
    Lithuania 89 vs. Nigeria 80
    Argentina 90 vs. Croatia 82

    Women’s

    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.

    Top Performers

    Brazil Spain
    Points Huertas 11
    Marquinhos 10
    Lima / Garcia 9
    Gasol 13
    Llull 11
    Rodriguez 10
    Rebounds Lima 10
    Marquinhos 5
    Nene / Huertas / Garcia 4
    Gasol 10
    Mirotic 8
    Rubio / Claver 4
    Assists Huertas 7
    Nene 5
    Neto / Garcia 2
    Rodriguez 5
    Fernandez / Mirotic 2
    Gasol / Claver / Reyes 1

    Stray Thoughts:

    • 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

Fantasy News

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    The NBA "would like to have a champion crowned by Labor Day weekend," per Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Wojnarowski was on "Get Up" on Tuesday morning with host Mike Greenberg when he gave the latest timeline that he is hearing. Woj made it a point of emphasis that this is the ideal timeline that the NBA is hoping to complete this season by, and added that if this comes to fruition there is no question that the start of next season would be delayed. This is the latest timeline that we are hearing about, and we will have to see how realistic this is as time passes.

    Source: ESPN

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    NBA teams will not be allowed to conduct in-person or live video workouts for NBA Draft prospects but will be allowed up to four hours of virtual meetings per prospect.

    Whenever the draft happens, it will be with the least amount of research in quite a while. Teams will be without tournament game tape for college prospects and without the ability to watch live workouts. Combined with a lack of consensus on who the best players are, this could lead to a wild draft with the eventual best players going much later than usual.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Adam Silver said there will be no way to know the NBA season's fate until at least May 1st.

    It's not much of a surprise to hear that Silver doesn't expect to have enough information to make a determination about the season until next month at the very least. He also mentioned that the NBA has looked a lot at games without fans.

    Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter

  • Tyrese Maxey
    SG, College

    Tyrese Maxey has declared for the NBA draft.

    The freshman from Kentucky finished the college season with averages of 14.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 dimes, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks and 1.1 threes per contest. Maxey is gifted with a tremendous knack for scoring and has the looks of a lottery selection, though obviously this draft season could be a very strange one.

    Source: Malika Andrews on Twitter

  • Dennis Smith Jr.
    PG, New York Knicks

    Marc Berman of the New York Post is reporting that with new leadership in place for the Knicks, the team is likely to shop Dennis Smith Jr. this offseason.

    Knicks President Leon Rose has no attachment to Smith, and with head coach David Fizdale and assistant coach Keith Smart no longer around to justify his retention, there is little reason for the Knicks to continue relying upon DSJ's services. He struggled all season, from a back injury, to the loss of his stepmother, to an obscure oblique injury, and a concussion in February. Smith will be worth a flyer for another team to roll the dice on, but it is unlikely he gets a real chance to be the Knicks point guard of the future again. It will be difficult for Smith to become a standard league option no matter where he is playing next season. He is simply too lousy a shooter from the field and free-throw line. His turnover rate also remains an issue in 9-CAT formats.

    Source: NY Post

  • Ashton Hagans
    PG, College

    Sophomore point guard Ashton Hagans announced his intention to leave Kentucky and enter the 2020 NBA Draft.

    Hagans is projected to be a late second-round target for the draft and is unlikely to make noise as a rookie in the NBA. One has to hope he lands on a team devoid of point guard options to let Hagans emerge with much fantasy value as a rookie. He averaged 11.5 points, 6.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game while serving as the starting point guard throughout this season with the Wildcats.

    Source: UK Athletics

  • Theo Maledon
    PG, International

    French point guard Theo Maledon has completed all of the required paperwork to make himself eligible to be selected in the 2020 NBA Draft.

    Maledon is an up-and-coming prospect who will be only 18 years young on draft day. He was a contender to take home the Rising Star award based upon his play in the Euroleague this season before the action was cut short due to the coronavirus. He's been in the French system since he was 14 and is considered a pick just outside the NBA lottery on many draft boards. He was averaging 7.1 points and 2.3 assists in 17 minutes of action.

    Source: ESPN.com

  • Zach LaVine
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Pacers GM Chad Buchanan declined to interview for the Bulls' top basketball operations position.

    Buchanan said he and his family are happy in Indianapolis and he is not interested in leaving. The Bulls are clearly moving fast with building their new front office after the announcement that GM Gar Forman and VP of Basketball Ops John Paxson are expected to move to different roles in the organization. A change in the front office and coaching staff could only be positive for fantasy purposes as the Bulls rank 29th in offensive rating this season. Hopefully a change would bring a more fantasy-friendly system with an emphasis on developing the younger talent on the roster.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    The NBA and ESPN are working together to televise a H-O-R-S-E competition with several high-profile players.

    Woj reported that the details of this competition are still being finalized, but it sounds like players will shoot in isolation, most likely in their home gyms. This would be a much needed source of entertainment for everyone who loves the NBA and, with bragging rights on the line, we would likely see some stellar performances from the NBA's best players.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Lauri Markkanen
    PF, Chicago Bulls

    According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Lauri Markkanen had been unhappy with the direction of the Bulls organization even before the league went on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Markkanen was so displeased, in fact, that he went on to state that if the situation were to remain unchanged, he'd prefer to be elsewhere. The Bulls power forward was a fantasy mess in 2019-20 and some of that could be attributed to the coach and some of it, to his injuries. Still, his statements put the team in a rough spot. considering Markkanen has been widely regarded as a core piece of their future plans. The Bulls are already shaking things up though, making moves towards freshening things up in the front office. The Markkanen-Bulls relationship is a must-watch storyline, especially given his potential in fantasy hoops.

    Source: Chicago Sun-Times.