UPDATE: Despite a wild late comeback, Team France came up short against Serbia, 90-85. Serbia will play Team USA for the FIBA Championship, and France will play Lithuania for the Bronze medal. Batum had 35 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter comeback attempt.
In a shocker, Nicolas Batum and Team France upset heavily-favored Team Spain, 65-52. Batum had 9 points in the victory, which opens up the tournament for now-favored Team USA. France joins Team USA in the semifinals.
FIBA World Cup 2014 is underway! Hang out here if you'd like to chat about all of the games, especially the ones featuring the Blazers. Here is the full schedule.
Elimination Games start this weekend! Here is the full bracket. These are the games relevant to Blazer fans (Pacific Time):
- Saturday, 7am: United States easily defeated Mexico, 86-63 to advance to the quarterfinals.
- Saturday, 9am: Nicolas Batum and France beat Croatia, 69-64. Despite a poor shooting night, Batum led France with 14 points and 4 steals.
- Saturday, 1pm: Spain blew out Senegal, 89-56. Victor Claver scored no points in minimal playing time.
These games are single-elimination, win-or-go-home games!
From Batum after the victory over Croatia:
Games especially relevant to Blazers fans:
9/3: Victor Claver and Team Spain destroyed Nicolas Batum and Team France, 88-64.
Spain won all four quarters in a complete blowout. Claver was irrelevant, scoring 2 points in limited time, and Batum had a rough day, shooting 5-15 for 11 points with 0 assists.
8/31 Spain Thumps Egypt 91-54 As Victor Claver Watches From the Bench
This game was never close, as Spain took control early and never looked back. They were led by former Blazer Rudy Fernandez, with 14 points, 2 assists and 2 steals, and OKC's Serge Ibaka with 15 points and 8 rebounds off the bench. Claver rode the bench most of the night, but finished with a flair in garbage time with some highlight moments, for 6 points, 2 rebounds and a steal. Spain is now 2-0, and looks headed for an eventual battle with Team USA.
8/31 Team USA Easily Beats Turkey, 98-77, After A Close First Half
Turkey actually led at halftime, 40-35, but Team USA took control in the second half. Their big men, Kenneth Faried (22 points, 8 rebounds) and Anthony Davis (19 points, 6 rebounds) took control as the US men took care of business, as expected. Derrick Rose was generally irrelevant. Team USA is 2-0 and looking good.
8/31 France edges Serbia, Batum registers another middling game
France evened their World Cup record at 1-1 by defeating Serbia 74-73 via last-minute free throws. Nicolas Batum shot 50% from the field (5-10) but once again had trouble connecting from beyond the arc (1-5). His 11 points stood 4th on the team. He tied for team-high in rebounding with 6 total boards, mixing in 2 steals and 3 turnovers in a game-leading 34 minutes of play.
8/30 Brazil beats the Nicolas Batum-led France, 65-63
Nicolas Batum scored 13 points in 35 minutes on 4/10 shooting from the field. He hit only 2 of 7 shots from the 3-point arc. He finished second on his team in rebounds with 5 but led his team in turnovers committed with 4. France hit a triple with 1 second remaining to close the margin to 64-63 but couldn't get a clean look at a game-winner after Brazil hit a free throw to provide the final 65-63 margin.
8/30 Spain and Victor Claver defeat Iran, 90-60
Victor Claver played 20 minutes, hitting 1-4 from the field and 3-4 from the foul line for 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 turnovers. As expected, host country Spain wiped the floor with the outmatched Iranian club. Spain shot 56% from the field, forced 20 turnovers, and owned every statistical category.
8/30 United States mows over Finland, 114-55
The only Trail Blazer connection in this game was 2007 draft pick Petteri Koponen. The Finnish point guard shot 5-10 for 12 points but dished only 4 assists while committing 4 turnovers. The U.S. distributed playing time fairly evenly, with every player on the roster finishing between 10 and 24 minutes on the night. They were afforded that luxury by following up a 31-16 first quarter with a 29-2 demolition in the second, leading to a 60-18 halftime advantage. The U.S. shot 67% to 32% for the Finns, forced 31 turnovers, earned a 32-5 fast break advantage, and eventually pushed their lead to 62 points before settling for the final 59-point margin.
Enjoy some basketball! -- Tim