FIBA World Championship 2006 - Unofficial Blog

Saturday, September 02, 2006

USA got the bronze medal over Argentina

Dwyane Wade netted 18 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter as the United States bounced back from a tough semi-final loss to edge a very good Argentina 96-81 on Saturday. The bronze medal of the 2006 basketball World Championships goes for the Americans.

The Team USA were hoping to return to the top of international basketball after finishing sixth at the 2002 competition and taking bronze at the 2004 Olympics. The popular "Dream Team" however once again had to settle for third place in Japan.

We must remember that still in Argentina, the United States beat the team which eliminated them from the Athens Games in the semi-finals.

"It feels really good. We put a lot of hard work into this. We're happy with the progress we've made," American small forward Carmelo Anthony admitted.

"Unfortunately we couldn't do what we came here to do, which was win the gold. But at least we all won a medal. We still have next year and we still have the Olympic Games in 2008."

It's important to remember that the United States were picked apart by European champions Greece 101-95 while Argentina lost to Spain 75-74 after Argentina forward Andres Nocioni missed an open jumper for the lead with less than five seconds remaining.

And on Saturday, Argentina led the entire first half until Anthony's three-pointer just before the half-time buzzer. In fact, the Americans never trailed the rest of the way.

Mike Krzyzewski's men were ahead 69-62 going into the fourth quarter when Wade took over, scoring from every where on the field - three-pointers, dunks, acrobatic lay-ups.

"On our team any one can take over. Tonight it was Dwyane Wade's night. He came out on fire and took over that fourth quarter. And that's something we were looking for throughout the whole match, somebody to get hot," Anthony added.

We have to mention Dwayne Wade, who nearly out-scored the Argentineans alone in the fourth quarter as the 2002 finalists could only muster 19 points in the period.

Cavaliers player LeBron James collected 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Anthony added 15 points.

Luis Scola scored 19 points in just 21 minutes before fouling out in a losing cause. Nocioni added 18 points and Carlos Delfino chipped in with 13.

Now lets talk about the other encounters. In the game for fifth place, France beat Turkey 64-56, thanks in large part to a five-point possession with four minutes remaining.

Turkey, who were playing without injured veterans Serkan Erdogan and Ibrahim Kutluay, suffered through a dismal shooting performance, hitting 24 percent from the field - 15 of 62.

In fact, Turkey finished a best ever sixth place with a young squad and have plenty to build on for the 2010 World Championships, which will be played in Turkey.

Finally, the 2006 tournament ends Sunday with European champions Greece facing a strong Spanish squad which will be missing center Pau Gasol, who may need surgery after a serious injury to his left foot.

The first match on Sunday has Germany playing Lithuania for seventh place of the tournament.

  Serbia & Montenegro
  New Zealand
  Puerto Rico