FIBA World Championship 2006 - Unofficial Blog

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Argentina and Spain reach the semifinals

Two favorite teams made it to the semifinals. One of them is Argentina, whose second straight semifinal appearance in the FIBA World Championship will mean its toughest test in this important competition.

We must mention that Andres Nocioni of the Chicago Bulls scored 21 points and Argentina dominated Turkey, 83-58, in a quarterfinal match yesterday in Saitama, Japan.

As we know, Argentina (7-0) lost to Yugoslavia in the final game in 2002, and followed that by winning the gold medal at the Athens Olympics.

With most of the players back from those sides, Argentina will face Spain (7-0) on Friday in the semifinals. It's alos important to say that Spain beat Lithuania, 89-67, in yesterday's other quarterfinal.

"These are two of the best teams in the world and they play similar games with smart basketball players," Argentina Coach Sergio Hernandez said of the final four matchup. "It will be a great, great encounter and fans will enjoy it and nobody can say before the game who will win."

According to reports, iin Spain's victory over Lithuania, Memphis Grizzlies star Pau Gasol had 25 points and nine rebounds and Juan Carlos Navarro scored 22 points.

Team USA crushed Australia to face Germany

In a very powerful demonstration, the United States Basketball team defeated Australia 113-73 Sunday, sending an unmistakable message to the FIBA world championships. This isn't the squad that proved an embarrassment in recent international competitions.

"We wanted to make a statement coming into the round of 16," forward Chris Bosh announced, who grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

In fact, this was a day that every American scored. Carmelo Anthony led the U.S. with 20 points while Joe Johnson added 18 and Dwyane Wade 15.

Granted, the Australian team wasn't much of a test. They went 2-3 in group play and have few weapons beside Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut, who scored 20 points.

However, the Americans made it look almost too easy, turning a tight game into a laugher by outscoring the Australians 32-6 in the second quarter.

Now the U.S. can look forward to its quarterfinal -up Wednesday night against Germany, another team with a star NBA center and a mostly anonymous supporting cast. Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas is third in tournament scoring, averaging 24.5 points.'

Given the way the Team US is playing, it might be more fair to make them face Bogut and Nowitzki together.

"I think our biggest opponent is ourselves right now," Johnson admitted. "We've just got to keep our intensity up."

Asked if the U.S. is unbeatable when its shots are falling, Johnson said, "No doubt. When our shots are falling and when they're not falling."

Powerful Nowitzki ready to face Team USA

German star Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points and made a key defensive play in the closing seconds to lead his country to a 78-77 triumph over Nigeria on Sunday in the second round of the FIBA world championship.

It's important to remember that Germany will face the United States, who beat Australia in the quarterfinals.

Spain 87, Serbia & Montenegro 75: Pau Gasol had 19 points and 15 rebounds to help Spain win. The 7-foot Gasol, who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, won the matchup of NBA big men, outplaying 6-11 Darko Milicic of the Orlando Magic, who had 18 points and 15 rebounds.

Turkey 90, Slovenia 84: Turkey went 5 for 5 from three-point range over the final 4:22 after missing nine of its first 11 shots from beyond the arc.

Lithuania 71, Italy 68: The squads combined to miss all nine free throws they attempted in the final seven seconds. Lithuania missed the first four but managed to twice get offensive rebounds, the second converted for a 71-68 lead. Italy then went 0-for-5 from the line in the final 2.1 seconds.

  Serbia & Montenegro
  New Zealand
  Puerto Rico