FIBA Update: All Wins For International Mavs
It wasn't quite Israel for Dirk and Germany as they had a much more difficult test today against Italy. Meanwhile, King of Puerto Rico JJ Barea and his bunch took on Uruguay. And Rudy Fernandez helped his country against their neighbor, Portugal.
And nobody can beat the Dallas Mavericks. Still.
Ze Germans knew they weren't going to walk against the Italians like they did yesterday and it certainly was more difficult even though the score suggests otherwise. The game was close all night until the 6:16 mark of the 4th quarter when the game was tied 53-53. Germany proceeded to finish the game on a 23-9 run to win it 76-62. Obviously they rely heavily on Dirk, but the German Nationalmannschaft had a much more well-rounded effort today against Italy.
Of course, Dirk did do his part with 21 points on 7/15 shooting, 12 rebounds (apparently it was needed today), 2 assists, and 1 turnover in 35 minutes. He also went 1/1 from beyond the arc and 6/7 from the line. The Azzurri featured much more size to throw at Dirk than the Israelis did, but that size includes Andrea Bargnani and Danilo Gallinari. I don't know if you watched many Knicks/Nuggets or Raptors games this year, but those two aren't exactly known for their defensive chops.
"It was really a team effort today." German point guard Heiko Schaffartzik said. "But at the end of the day ya know, it really helps the mental strength when there's a player on your team who just makes fadeaway shots off the right leg with the backboard against three players. It gives you like, an edge."
Yeah, I'd agree with that Heiko. That skillset -- featuring the One-Legged Euro Lean-Back -- gives your team like, a huge edge.
Rudy Fernandez had a much more productive and positive day against Portugal as he again started for Spain. Spain beat their neighbors 87-73 and Rudy contributed 9 points on 4/9 shooting with 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. An interesting scenario would present itself if Spain and Germany meet somewhere along the line during Eurobasket 2011, because it would mean Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka would each get another crack at checking Dirk after he dismantled them both during the playoffs.
Pau and Serge probably aren't as psyched about that idea as I am.
Back over in the Americas, Puerto Rico won again, this time over Uruguay to push their record to a clean 3-0. Barea only shot 1/8, but still ended with 14 points, 3 assists, and 6 rebounds in the 74-64 victory. It wasn't his best showing, but it's satisfying enough for him if Puerto Rico is winning. In case you care, Puerto Rico's win puts Dirk, Rudy, and JJ's teams at a collective 7-0 in FIBA competition so far in these tournaments.
Special Petteri Koponen Update: Petteri started again for Finland, which lost 81-61 to Greece, but he was the game's high scorer with 21 points in 30 minutes on 8/17 shooting with 3 assists and 3 rebounds. I don't know much about the guy, but he is producing every time I check in on him. So there's that.
More breaking FIBA coming your way tomorrow from DB.com.
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