Today we saw in action two teams that have big chances to win against the USA and won the World Cup gold medals. Spain managed to stop Serbia`s offensive appetite and won the game 81-69. That was the first loss of the tournament for Serbia.
The match started with Serbia winning the first quarter 20-13 and everything seems to be in their favour as Spain shot percentage were very low. But in the second quarter, the Iberic team bounced back and won it 32-17, scoring 6 out of 12 at the three-point line, while Serbia had 0-6. After this quarter Spain took control of the game and proved that their defense will be very hard to be broken. Serbia finished with 3 shots made beyond the arc from 19 attempts. Spain had more assists, rebounds, blocks or steals, while Serbia had more turnovers.
The best performers for Spain were Ricky Rubio (19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists), Victor Claver (14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists) and Marc Gasol (11 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists). For Serbia, Bogdan Bogdanovic had a stellar performance finishing with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists with 9-14 shots made. But despite this great achievement, his team lost because nobody was able to score in double digits and all his teammates combined scored only 1 three-pointer! Also, the Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was ejected in the third quarter and finish the game with only 6 points and 5 rebounds.
The story continues for both teams in the gold medal chase, Spain facing Poland, in a match that all the money is on the Spanish team, while Serbia will face another big test against Argentina in the Quarterfinals. For Spain the plan is very clear as they need to continue their very good job on defense but Serbia must pay attention to those mistakes made in the game and try to fix them before the game with Argentina, because they are very dangerous, with a very good squad and won`t be the biggest surprise if Jokic and co. gets eliminated before the big final.
Photo credit: http://www.fiba.basketball/basketballworldcup/2019
Bogdan Vasile Tirc
Spain trashed Serbia and proved their unexpected strength