Yesterday’s confrontation between Team Spain and Team Brazil was to determine the lone 1st place spot in Group A, and was expected to be a pretty close contest. Instead, said contest saw a 19-point difference in the final score.
And France’s 94-55 victory over Egypt, coupled with Serbia’s 83-70 win over Iran has rendered the losing teams of both contests winless after 3 games. As a result, Team Spain’s 82-63 win over Team Brazil (their 3rd win in this year’s tournament) has officially punched their ticket to the knockout round.
Serge Ibaka wasn’t overly effective in Team Spain’s victory, but it’s not like he stunk the joint out either. In 17 minutes of play, he scored 5 points off of 2-for-5 (40%) shooting, including missing his lone attempt from downtown (0%). He also ended his night 1-for-2 (50%) from the charity stripe, while adding 5 defensive rebounds and 2 personal fouls.
Pau Gasol put up his 2nd MVP performance in 3 games with 26 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists. Ricky Rubio led Team Spain in assists for the 3rd straight game with 6, bringing his total to 18 over a 3-game span. And finally, 3 players tied for the steals lead (Rubio, Marc Gasol, and Juan Navarro) with 1 apiece.
Leandrinho Barbosa was Team Brazil’s top performer with 11 points, 2 assists, and 1 steal. Nene Hilario led the team in rebounds with 5 (1 off, 4 def), while recording Team Brazil’s lone shot block. Raulzinho Neto led Team Brazil in steals with 2.
So now we take a look at the standings after 3:
In FIBA, teams get the same 2 points for every win, but they still get 1 point for a loss, because there are no ties in FIBA. As the current standings show, Team Spain’s ticket to the Knockout Round of 16 is already punched with 2 games remaining. Team Brazil, Team France, and Team Serbia are now all sitting one win away from the Knockout Round of 16 at this time. Therefore, as Team Iran and Team Egypt are both still winless, both teams will now be forced to win out in order to have any chance of moving on.
None of that matters to Team Spain, however. They can forfeit their remaining games and still make the Knockout Round. Although I doubt that will happen. Team Spain is too proud of a squad. Hell, I see them trying to manhandle both Team France and Team Serbia just to send a message to the other teams in the Knockout Rounds. And the message is:
Team Spain is coming to eat your lunch. Just try and stop us. We dare you.