The Week That Was: "And Then He Dropped The Bracelets..." Edition
9.5 The Cooler

Spain, Serbia set up title game rematch; Shaq is talking reckless

By 09.05.10

Rudy Fernandez


NBA TV almost got it right. For the first day of knockout-round play at the FIBA World Championship, they realized the single-announcer thing wasn’t working. So they rolled out a pair of talking heads — only they still had The Worst Announcer In The History Of Basketball involved. Viewers of the Spain/Greece game were among the unfortunate victims. Again, the action itself was good, but you’d have been better off watching on MUTE. With six minutes left, Spain was up by one before Rudy Fernandez sparked a 9-0 run to stretch the lead to double-digits. Greece got within a couple of shots a few times after that, but J.C. Navarro would either answer with a bucket, or Spain just wouldn’t miss their free throws. Down the stretch it really came down to Spain’s zone D forcing Greece to jack threes that weren’t falling … The calmer soccer announcer was fine, but his partner was terrible as usual. It was like Best In Show when Fred Willard was being a clown in the announce booth and the other guy was doing all he could to hold the show together. Dude was on play-by-play, yet he’d go minutes at a time without saying anyone’s name, just “Spain” and “Greece.” He actually kind of reminded us of back when Vince McMahon used to announce for the WWF. He introduced Spike Lee as someone “who loves basketball. And potato chips,” then wondered if Spike was at the game because he was planning a movie on international basketball. Yeah, we can totally see I’ll Take More Butter: The Baby Shaq Story as a Spike Lee joint … Although if Spike ever made a movie about Vassilis Spanoulis, he could have Russell Crowe play the lead … Serbia/Croatia came down to the last second. It was back-and-forth the whole time before Serbia went up by seven midway through the fourth quarter. Croatian PG Marko Popovic scored 11 points over the last part of the quarter — mostly at the free-throw line — and had it tied with 11 seconds left. Aleksandar Rasic scored to give Serbia the lead with nine seconds left, then after Popovic tied it with two more FT’s, Rasic got fouled with one second left. He iced the first one to send Serbia to the next round … That sets up a Spain/Serbia matchup, a rematch of the ’09 Eurobasket title game. Marc Gasol and Nenad Krstic will go at each other’s necks in the paint, but the best matchup will be between Spain’s backcourt (Navarro and Ricky Rubio) and Serbia’s led by Rasic … Rudy Gay hurt his groin in the Tunisia game, but went through a whole practice yesterday and will mostly likely be fine for the Angola game. If there ever was a knockout-round opponent against which you could rest a key player, it’d be Angola, but Team USA may not be able to afford anybody sitting out. Rudy could be the X-factor that makes the U.S. unbeatable in this tournament, but people have been waiting for him to turn on the “Takeover” part of his game ever since UConn … One of our guys is actually in Turkey, and send us this last night: “In Istanbul at a club named Reina. Notables in attendance: Marc Gasol, Krstic, Rubio, Andy Varejao, Barbosa, Jimmy Goldstein, Spike Lee and Bono from U2.” … Would it shock you to learn Shaq is already throwing his ex-teammates in Cleveland under the bus while acting like the Celtics are the greatest team in the world? “When I was with Cleveland, guys who couldn’t even play were worried about shots,” Shaq was quoted in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Why was Mo (Williams) taking 15 shots, and I’m only taking four? If LeBron takes 20 shots, that’s cool.” Odd how Shaq hasn’t dissed LeBron yet, but you know it’s happening sooner or later … We’re out like more butter …


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