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Rudy Fernandez And Spain Eliminated From FIBA World Championships

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Serbia eliminated Rudy Fernandez and Spain from the 2010 FIBA World Championships in dramatic fashion today, winning 92-89 on a three pointer in the quarterfinal match's closing seconds. Fernandez had been the last Blazer standing in the tournament as both Nicolas Batum (France) and Patty Mills (Australia) were eliminated Sunday.

Today's game was another uneven performance from Fernandez, although there were some flashes of brilliance. Once again, he started slow and struggled to make an impact on the game in the first half before increasing his activity and touches in the second half. Fernandez finished with 15 points (4 of 10 from the field, 7 for 7 from the stripe), 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal but he missed all five of his three point attempts, including 3 in the game's final 7 minutes. 

  • Rudy Fernandez's final tourney statistics: 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists in seven games, making more than half of his field goal attempts and connecting on 38.7% of his three pointers. 
  • Batum's final stat line: 12.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 6 games, shooting 42.9% from the field and 32.1% on threes. 
  • Mills's final stat line: 13.8 points, 1.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 6 games, shooting 39.4% from the field and 31.4% from deep. 
A few plays stood out for Fernandez.  First, here's a video of a well-executed drive-and-kick in the first half. Fernandez looks more comfortable off the dribble here than he has recently and he makes a very good decision, delivering a nice pass.

Second, enjoy this aggressive offensive put-back in traffic, which displays some of the leaping ability and aggressive instinct that we didn't often see last season.

Nate McMillan and Team USA face Russia in the round of 8 tomorrow morning at 8 AM on ESPN.

Read the blow-by-blow Spain/Serbia reaction in the gameday open thread.

Update: 4:54 PM

I should have been more careful with my wording earlier. Fernandez and Spain were eliminated from gold medal contention with today's loss but were not eliminated from the entire FIBA World Championships.  Instead, they now move to the consolation bracket (I'm not totally sure what that is but I think it's a fancy European invention) and will aim for fifth place.

As penance for the mistake, click through for more Rudy Fernandez video.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

Here's video of a great Fernandez sequence in the final two minutes of this game: he leaps high for a defensive rebound then takes his man off the dribble to the rim for the finish at the other end.

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-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter