A bit of deja vu is on the menu tonight for those of us following the FIBA Americas tournament from a Suns fan's perspective. Team USA and Brazil will switch opponents from last night's action. Brazil will face Mexico at 5:30pm Pacific/8:30pm Eastern, followed by USA vs. Puerto Rico at 8:00pm Pacific/11:00pm Eastern. The Brazil-Mexico game will be on NBA.com, and USA-Puerto Rico will be on ESPN2.
After yesterday's major gaffe, I'm hesitant to make any predictions, however if both Brazil and Mexico play like they did last night, it could be a long night for Leandro Barbosa and crew. Brazil simply must come to play from the opening tip if they want to avoid a three-game losing streak. No more of this let-down stuff, or whatever it was that made them seem as if they weren't as focused last night as they should have been. Meanwhile, if Mexico can keep up the energy they somehow maintained against the hopeless cause that was Team USA, they have a good shot at picking up their second win in this tournament. The Suns fan in me hopes Leandro can repeat last night's 34-point performance, and use it toward a win this time. But if Mexico pulls it off, I won't be too disappointed (they deserved better than a 27-point defeat with the effort they showed last night). Either way, I expect a fairly tight game, with the outcome in suspense until the end.
Team USA should be able to deal with Puerto Rico, despite hints of complacency in last night's effort against Mexico. They have shot-blockers in the middle waiting for Peter John Ramos, and perimeter defenders to handle Larry Ayuso, not to mention plenty of firepower at all five positions. As good as Puerto Rico played in their game against Brazil, I don't think they can handle a USA team that will likely be smarting a bit from the perception that they gave a somewhat sub-par effort last night (margin of victory not withstanding). I'm not saying we'll see that 80-point lead I joked about yesterday, but I do think after tonight Team USA's record in this tournament will be 6-0. Now, will Puerto Rico make me eat crow for the second night in a row?