Thursday, July 1, 2010

FIBA America's Cup 2010 -- USA Beats Brazil 81-78

The Gold...Just Barely
Seed and Grouping trumped efficiency in San Antonio last night as Team USA took the gold in the FIBA U18 America's Cup, beating Team Brazil by 3 points, 81-78. The USA Basketball recap notes the American squad had to overcome a five point deficit (63-58) going into the fourth quarter, but went on a 16-5 scoring run to take and hold the lead going to the end. The Brazilians, who have netted three Bronze medals in U18 America's Cup play to this point, tied the game at 78, but Team USA's Quincy Miller, a 6-8 #4/#5 out of Winston-Salem, NC canned a three with 35 ticks left to seal the win. The Brazilians provided the Americans with the toughest competition they faced in this tournament, as they were only one of five teams who held a lead over the Americans coming out of a quarter of play. And this was the only game where the Americans were outscored in more than one of the game's four quarters. The four factors breakdown of the game...

Team USA77.9103.948.539.418.029.91.07
Team Brazil100.147.935.116.717.80.99

The pace (possessions) was a bit below the average used by Team USA (about 84 possessions per game for the tournament), but well within the Brazilian's comfort zone (about 75 possessions per game for the tournament). Team Brazil did better from beyond the arc than Team USA's other opponents. Given their difficulties inside the arc, they might have attempted more than 28% of their shots from outside. Team Brazil managed to offset their shooting difficulties with a lower-than-the-USA percentage of turnovers. Had they matched the USA's number of trips to the line, they may well have had enough scoring opportunities to themselves over the top. That Coach Capel left two players (front court players LeBryan Nash and Amir Williams) on the bench for the first time in five games suggests Team USA valued field goal conversions (their lowest conversion rate in the five game tournament) over rebounds or blocked shots. The player (possession-based) breakdown suggests several players, Trevor Cooney, Vander Blue and Quincy Miller (late game heroics noted) had very different games from the previous four. All three had conversion rates much lower than previous games...

Kyrie Irving92.532.994.447.113.116.929.41.09
Vander Blue62.529.775.650.
Austin Rivers80.022.4112.470.83.814.325.01.43
Josh Hairston37.513.
Pat Young70.07.1159.9100.08.726.0300.02.16
Abdul Gaddy10.
Trevor Cooney12.520.
Quincy Miller55.028.697.935.
J. Richmond42.523.1113.566.
Tony Mitchell37.517.444.

Abdul Gaddy and Trevor Cooney saw more action than LeBryan Nash and Amir Williams...but not much more, as each logged five or fewer minutes. Typically the starters logged between 38% and 45% of the available minutes, with the seven other squad members splitting the balance. Against Brazil, the staff kept the starters in for 68% of the minutes. Turnovers continue to plague Vander Blue, negating his 6-13 (0-1, 6-12) night. Austin Rivers posted good numbers, combining efficiency 70.8% eFG%) with prolific shooting (7-12, 3-6, 4-6), but the other "high efficiency" contributors tended to function as the #3 or #4 option on offense.

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