Want to know who'll win? Read on
Well , it would appear the east-to-west jet lag takes a wee bit longer to get over than I recall. Sorry this is a bit later than usual but we’re getting back to some level of normal around here, if such a thing exists.
This didn’t seem to make the paper or the website so you’ll get the first crack at a look at the quarter-finals:
Spain vs. Serbia
The defending world champions from Spain are like a train gathering speed as it rolls through the tournament; really slow start but they’re going full bore now … It’s guys like Sergio Lull and Juan Carlos Navarro, hardly household names on a team with Marc Gasol. Rudy Fernandez and Ricky Rubio who are doing a lot of the damage … Serbia edged Croatia in the round of 16 and is anchored by Nenad Krstic, who is the key in a post-oriented offence … Solid guard Milos Teodosic was a non-factor in win over Croatia and will have to have a big game.
Spain by 10.
Turkey vs. Slovenia
There’s something about 15,000 singing, chanting, screaming fans that can create a homecourt advantage almost second to none and unbeaten Turkey is rolling … Hedo Turkoglu shrugged of a so-so start to the tournament with 20 points in a rout of Greece France and Turkey seems pre-ordained to play for the medals … Slovenia, which includes a handful of ex-NBAers is good but holding off the onslaught of the Turks in an overwhelming atmosphere is likely too much to handle … They do have a balanced roster so maybe one guy can step up.
Turkey by 15
United States vs. Russia
The Americans haven’t played a game that’s been remotely close in almost a week … USA had best three-point shooting game of the tournament in playoff-opening rout of Angola and if they keep that up, they’ll be tough to beat for anyone, the question is if they can against a good defence … Russian 7-foot centre Timofey Mogrov, who’ll play for the Knicks next season, could have an impact against smallish Americans … Lots of drive-and-kick stuff from Russia, which stands a shooters’ chance of pulling off a major upset.
United States by 18
Lithuania vs. Argentina
It’s been Linas Kleiza, Linas Kleiza, Linas Kleiza for Lithuania, he had 30 point in a round-of-16 win over China and as the Raptors forward goes, so goes his team … 7-foot centre Robertas Javtokas is back and looking good after suffering an ankle injury in the first game of the tournament … Luis Scola of Argentina has been an unstoppable force – he’s got the inside track on tournament MVP now – and his 37-point game against Brazil in knockout game was a gem … Time-hardened Argentines also getting great play from Carlos Delfino.
Argentina by two.
Thank goodness I got home in time.
The WNBA final starts on the weekend and I can really get to cheering for my beloved Seattle Storm.
It’s them and the Atlanta Spirit Dream in the best-of-five final that starts Sunday and if there’s a better basketball day than the worlds gold medal game and the WNBA final starting, I’m not sure what it is.
Seriously, the worlds game will be something not to be missed.
So my man Chris Sheridan says the game Luis Scola had for Argentina against Brazil yesterday was one of the best individual games he’s ever seen internationally in person and it got me thinking.
How about me?
Now, I will preface this by saying I also didn’t see Oscar in his prime (just a few times at the end of his storied career), nor did I see Arvydas Sabonis when I’m told he had amazing athleticism as well as the best passing skills a big man may ever have had.
But I did see:
Zeljko Rebraca in the gold medal game of the ’98 worlds in Athens. He was, in a word, incredible. I seem to recall he had, or almost had, a triple double and was dominant all night
That memory might have been clouded by time but I recall it being unreal.
Back to women for a minute, if you don’t mind.
Our national team is off in Europe getting ready for their world championships which begin later this month in the Czech Republic.
They play a couple of tuneup games in France starting tomorrow and a couple in Athens after that before the worlds.
Timing made it difficult for me to do much on them in their final stages of preparation but we’ll get that rectified now that things are a bit normal.
I’ve struck out, so far, on finding any kind of establishment that might have a good enough satellite to find the world championship games that don’t involve the United States and that really bites.
But the search goes on and we’ll let you know what comes of it as soon as I can.
Okay, I think I actually have to stop by my office, find out what they might have in store for me and try to figure out how we augment coverage of the Raptors this year since we’re less than three weeks away from the start of camp.
Oh joy, oh joy.