Another Blowout: Brazil Over Venezuela by 26 (101-75)
Well, I'm afraid I can't give a complete game recap tonight, because at my house at least, the game ended early. With six minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the internet feed from NBA.com stopped and absolutely refused to start again. By the time I remembered "hey doofus, the second half of the game is on FSN!", it was pretty much over. So apologies to any fans of the players who were on the floor in the final minutes. If your guy made an awesome play that I failed to mention, just blame NBA.com. Now, on with your regularly-scheduled postgame commentary...
First things first--this was definitely not Leandro Barbosa's night. He shot miserably in the first half, and despite ending up as the second leading scorer on his team with 15 points, this game was really more about the other Brazilians playing well to overcome his early struggles. By the time Leandro got going in the fourth with back-to-back three pointers, Brazil already led by 18. LB ended up shooting 5-13 from the floor, 2-4 from the free throw line, and added three assists. But his line in the boxscore looks better than his actual impact on the game. Still, that doesn't mean it was a total waste of time for a Suns fan looking for a taste of "home". Even without a major game from Leandro, this was still a fun game to watch, as both teams got out in transition as often as possible with three-pointers galore and some nifty passing to boot.
The first half featured scrappy play from both teams. Unlike Wednesday against Team USA when they appeared to not even put up a fight, Venezuela actually seemed to give it their best shot for the most part tonight, especially early in the game. Hector Romero led the way with 21 points, seven rebounds, and two assists. He shot only 5-13 like Barbosa, but got himself to the line for 10-15 free throws, and really kept his team in it early on. Miguel Marriaga also had a nice line with 12 points on 5-9 shooting to go with seven rebounds, two assists, and a block. The game got away from them in the third quarter, but all total, a much better effort by Venezuela this time, even though the final result was still a blowout loss.
Brazil was led by Marcelinho Machado whose outside shooting set the tone early on. He ended up with 20 points on 6-12 shooting with 5-9 from three. Murilo Becker Da Rosa also stood out from the crowd a bit with 6-7 shooting for his 12 points. But this was really a team effort from Brazil. Tiago Splitter showed Suns fans some of what they missed out on when the Suns chose to pass on Splitter this summer in favor of selling their #24 pick. Nene had some very nice moves for a guy his size, in particular a sweet behind-the-back assist, and an athletic save to tap the ball to a teammate as he was going out of bounds. Nezinho Dos Santos made an impact with hustle and energy, refusing to take his foot of the throttle even when it was clear the game's outcome had been decided. Lastly, Guilherme Giovannoni went for extra dramatics with his only two makes of the game by dropping them in at the buzzer to close out the first and third quarters. A very nice effort by Brazil all around. I'm still not convinced they're going to give Team USA any significant amount of trouble on Sunday, but they're fun to watch, and they definitely got it done tonight.
Player of the Game: There are several guys who could go here, but I'm going with Marcelinho Machado for the dead-eye three-point shooting that brought back memories of Raja Bell's string of 4+ three pointer games last season.
Runner-Up: Hector Romero easily gets this spot for Venezuela.
Random Thought: NBATV announcer Rick Kamla said before the game that Nene is the best sixth man in the tournament. I think Suns fans might beg to differ on this one (although Nene definitely made his presence felt tonight).