Team Spain and Team Brazil both had great weekends. Spain crushed Iran 90-60 on yesterday, then routed an overmatched Egypt 91-54. And while 10th-ranked Brazil survived a close one against 8th-ranked France 65-63 yesterday, today was a much easier go as they defeated Iran 79-50.
Tomorrow, the battle for 1st-place in Group A tips off as the last remaining unbeatens square off.
Team Brazil is not a team to take lightly. Their roster features 4 NBA players: Tiago Splitter (Spurs), Leandrinho Barbosa (Suns), Anderson Varejao (Cavaliers), and Nene Hilario (Wizards). That’s only 2 shy of the number of NBA players on Team Spain.
Plus, Team Brazil has already faced a tough test in 8th-ranked Team France. France also has 4 NBA players on their squad: Boris Diaw (Spurs), Nicolas Batum (Blazers), Evan Fournier (Nuggets), and Rudy Gobert (Jazz).
Therefore, don’t expect Team Spain to steamroll through this game like they did the others. Team Spain’s previous 2 opponents are the ones expected to drop out from Group A after the 1st round, so they haven’t even really been tested as of yet. Tomorrow, Team Brazil will give Team Spain its first major competitor of the 2014 FIBA World Cup, and we may finally get to see their mettle tested.
Also, I’d expect to see Ibaka get some more playing time, as Team Spain may have to utilize every player they have to keep Team Brazil at bay.
Team Spain is 9-4 all-time against Team Brazil. They had previously won 7 straight match-ups against Team Brazil before suffering an 88-82 loss back on June 8th of 2012. Prior to Team Spain’s winning streak, the two nations were alternating wins, starting with Team Brazil’s 72-69 squeaker back on May 29th of 1972.
Keep checking back with Thunderous Intentions for more updates on Serge Ibaka and Team Spain.