Now that all the riff-raff is out (yeah Tunisia, I'm looking at you), we got to the knock out stage of the tournament. There are four games in the first round, and the four winners go on in the next round. And then in those two games that play the winners go on for the Gold Medal. You know how these things work. The Knockout stage is the "Elite 8" for you March Madness fans out there.
We had USA vs Australia; Brazil vs Argentina; Russia vs. Lithuania; and France vs Spain.
Who won? (well, spoilers, the USA did) But to read about these matches click onwards, brave reader!
- Game 1: Russia 83 - Lithuania 74 -- All your Breakway republics belong to Andrei Kirilenko. Our oft misused AK-47 had 19 points (off of 8 shots, I see you Big Al), 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and 3 steals - and only one turn over. Tomofey Mozgov added 17 points and 4 rebounds. He and Sasha Kaun need to bring it because they will be facing off against the Gasol brothers in the next round. Alexey Shved continues to be "not efficient" as he had 6 assists and 4 turn overs. Sergei Monya and Victor Khryapa both did it. Viktor had 12, 8, and 6; while Sergei had 10, 3, and 1. Both made two threes. Lithuania's starters got shut down (Linas Kleiza only had 4 points), but got 7 made threes from Kaukenas and Kalnietis off the bench. Again, though, it was Russia's defense that won this game - locking Lithuania down to 37.3 fg% as a team.
- Game 2: Spain 66 - France 59 -- I was wrong, because I thought France would stay hot and win this. Instead they busted my balls with this loss. Nic Batum also tried to bust Juan Carlos Navarro's balls at the end of the game. France SHOULD have won this game, a game they lost due to fouls and free throws down the stretch, except they scored only 6 points in the fourth quarter. The Gasols played big and got it done in the paint and from the line. Together they served up 24 points, 19 rebounds, and 11 FTAs. Marc Gasol even drained a three, and Pau Gasol had 3 assists and 2 blocks. It must be nice when Serge Ibaka doesn't even need to get off the bench for more than 13 total minutes in a "win or go home" type game. Tony Parker went 6/20 and that's pretty much the game. That, and the fact that Spain went to the line +17 more times, and won by 7 points. So yeah. Boris Diaw added 15 / 8 / 5 and three threes. When Boris Diaw is your best player you're going to lose the game. Spain moves on to play Russia.
- Game 3: Argentina 82 - Brazil 77 -- In the last of the three regional grudge matches we actually have one that is 'serious business'. Huertas and Barbosa both had 22 points (and 7 made threes) but no one was playing defense, and Argentina's balance won this game. Ginobili and Delfino both had 16 points (and 5 made threes), but had 15 rebounds, from the guard spots. Everyone was passing, shooting, and rebounding for Argentina, while Brazil's big men looked like they couldn't wait to go back to their magical tropical paradise with spicy food and big booty babes. (Rainy London England? Not so hot.) Argentina moves on to play the USA.
- Game 4: USA 119 - Australia 86 -- LeBron James had a triple double. Kobe Bryant had to "release the Mamba" (his quote, not mine). The game was close after three (only up by 14), but well, we kind of knew how this was going to end before it started. They will sharpen their claws on Argentina - a team that really thinks they can beat the US.
Tomorrow we get USA vs Argentina, and Russia vs Spain. Woo!