2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup

FIBA World Cup roundup (Sept. 5): Greece, Australia, Czech Republic get big wins

Recap all of the action from an eight-game Thursday in China

From NBA media reports

The 2019 FIBA World Cup is under way in China, with opening round play running from Aug 31. to Sept. 5. While we closely track the U.S. Men’s National Team, here’s a quick look at all the action from FIBA World Cup play on Sept. 5.

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Australia 87, Lithuania 82

San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills drilled a clutch 3-pointer with 32.9 seconds left over the outstretched arm of Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas to keep Australia undefeated in FIBA World Cup play. Mills’ shot pushed Australia’s lead to 83-78 in an eventual 87-82 victory that closed out first round play for both teams.

Australia and Lithuania are both moving on to the Second Round, but Australia finished undefeated while Lithuania went 2-1. In Saturday’s Second Round play, Lithuania will play France while Australia will take on the Dominican Republic.

Both Lithuania and Australia boast a bevy of NBA players and several of them came through with standout performances in one of Thursday’s best games.

For the victorious Australians, Mills led the way with 23 points (on 8-for-16 shooting) and was boosted in the frontcourt by the play of big man Aron Baynes of the Phoenix Suns. Baynes finished with 21 points, nailed a trio of 3-pointers and had 13 rebounds. Starting point guard Matthew Dellavedova of the Cleveland Cavaliers was also solid (10 points, five assists).

 

Indiana Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis was one of Lithuania’s top performers with 12 points, three rebounds and four assists while Valanciunas finished with seven points and seven rebounds.

Greece 103, New Zealand 97

Reigning Kia MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo showed up in a big way in a game Greece needed to win to advance to Second Round play at the FIBA World Cup.

In his best game to date in FIBA World Cup play, Antetokounmpo finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals to power Greece’s 103-97 win against New Zealand that assured it of Second Round game against the United States on Saturday. After some quiet scoring performances to open FIBA play, Antetokounmpo was dominant all game long and had a clutch and-one sequence in the fourth quarter to help push Greece to its victory.

Antetokounmpo’s brother and new teammate on the Milwaukee Bucks, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, delivered 10 points and three rebounds. Former Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes operated the offense well, finishing with 14 points, four rebounds and five assists. Up next for Greece is Team USA, whom it will face on Saturday.

New Zealand finished 1-2 in first round play and will not advance to the Second Round. Corey Webster was the top performer for New Zealand, finishing with 28 points (on 10-for-16 shooting) and four assists in the defeat.

Brazil 84, Montenegro 73

A red-hot Cristiano Felicio was too much for Montenegro to handle on Thursday. The Chicago Bulls big man was sizzling all game long, dropping in 14 points on perfect 7-for-7 shooting performances from the field and free throw line. He also added eight rebounds and two assists as Brazil stayed perfect in FIBA World Cup play, improving to 3-0.

Brazil will face the Czech Republic on Saturday in Second Round play

Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Marcelo Huertas was equally solid on Thursday, dropping in 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting along with six assists. Former NBA standouts Leandro Barbosa (eight points, four assists) and Anderson Varejao (nine points, four rebounds) were instrumental in Brazil holding a 43-31 edge in bench scoring vs. Montenegro.

Orlando Magic big man Nikola Vucevic had a quiet game for Montenegro, scoring eight points and collecting six rebounds in 13 minutes of play. Derek Needham paced Montenegro with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

USA 98, Japan 45

The United States Men’s National Team completed first round play at the FIBA World Cup with an easy, 98-45 win over Japan on Thursday.

After surviving a major scare against Turkey two nights earlier, the U.S. (now 3-0) took care of business early against the winless Japanese. The Americans started the game with a 13-0 run by holding Japan scoreless on its first eight possessions. The U.S. led by 33 at the half and by as many as 62 late in the fourth quarter.

Jaylen Brown led five Americans in double-figures with 20 points, featuring two highlight, fast-break dunks.

Team USA now moves on to Shenzhen, where it will play 2-1 Greece (with NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo) on Saturday and 3-0 Brazil on Monday in the second round.

Czech Republic 91, Turkey 76

Behind a strong inside game and a solid fourth quarter, the Czech Republic is moving on to the Second Round at the FIBA World Cup for the first time ever. Forward Vojtech Hruban (18 points, four rebounds, four assists) and center Ondrej Balvin (17 points, 11 rebounds) set the tone for Czech Republic as they shot a combined 16-for-21 overall and 14-for-16 at the line to help seal the victory.

Overall, Turkey was outscored 48-20 in the paint and while the game was close throughout, the Czech Republic pulled away in the fourth quarter by outscoring Turkey 25-16. Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky was solid at the controls for the Czech Republic, finishing with 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The Czech Republic (2-1) joins USA from Group E in advancing to Second Round, where the Czech Republic will face undefeated Brazil (3-0) next.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman led Turkey with 24 points (on 8-for-14 shooting). Milwaukee Bucks big man Ersan Ilyasova had a particularly difficult game, finishing with just six points while going 0-for-9 from the field. Philadelphia 76ers swingman Furkan Korkmaz was solid off the bench for Turkey, finishing with 16 points, four rebounds and three steals.

France 90, Dominican Republic 56

In another matchup of undefeated teams from the same FIBA World Cup group, it was France who remained undefeated with a robust drubbing of the Dominican Republic on Thursday.

Both teams were 2-0 in Group G play, but France used a balanced attack of solid games from its NBA contingent to put away the Dominican Republic, 90-56. Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and a block to pace a solid all-around effort for France. Evan Fournier of the Orlando Magic finished with 10 points and five assists. Former San Antonio Spurs guard Nando De Colo added 15 points off the bench while New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina finished with eight points and four assists in a starting role.

On Saturday, France will take on Lithuania in Second Round play while the Dominican Republic will play against Australia as well.

Victor Liz was the top performer for the Dominican Republic with 12 points.

Canada 82, Senegal 60

After faltering in its first two FIBA World Cup games, Canada finally got a win to stay alive for a spot in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Sacramento Kings guard Cory Joseph led the way for Canada with 24 points on 9-for-17 shooting and three assists.

Maurice Ndour, who played 32 games for the New York Knicks in 2016-17, had one of the better performances for Senegal with nine points and 12 rebounds. Mouhammad Faye paced Senegal with 14 points, while Lamine Sambe chipped in with 10 points.

The win marked Canada’s first at the FIBA World Cup since 2002. However, even with the victory, Canada (1-3) can no longer qualify for the Second Round of the FIBA World Cup after an 0-2 start. Sengal (0-3) is also out of consideration for Second Round play, too.

Germany 96, Jordan 62

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder came through with a strong performance to lift Germany to its lone win in the first round of FIBA World Cup play. Schroder finished with 10 points and 11 assists as Germany (1-2) kept Jordan winless in a game that was never in doubt.

 

After building a 28-17 lead in the first quarter, Germany outscored Jordan each quarter thereafter, including a 30-13 performance in the fourth quarter. Aside from Schroder, former Chicago Bulls guard Paul Zipser was solid in the win (12 points, three rebounds) and Dallas Mavericks big man Maxi Kleber dominated with 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting. (Zipser and Kleber also connected on a pretty sweet alley-oop in the win, too.)

Ahmad Al Dwairi led Jordan with 17 points and eight rebounds.

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