Brazil have won third place in Group B, with a 92-74 win over Croatia in the final game in Istanbul’s Abdi Ipecki Arena.
“This was the best game for Brazil.” Wellington Dos Santos stated after the game.
“All the players read the rhythm of the game, and it was the better game for Brazil.”
In the only game of the day that brought any meaning at all – it was Brazil who got off to an early 7-0 run, finished by a hook shot by Anderson Verejao.
Croatia responded with an 8-0 of their own, as they took an 8-7 lead. Their big man, Luksa Andric was forced to be subbed early on due to a knock – and it showed, as Brazil went on a run – a pair of Splitter foul shots, extending the lead to 20-12.
A Kresmir Loncar led 9-2 run helped Croatia to within three at the end of the first quarter. Brazil leading, 22-19.
Alex Garcia opened the second period with an open triple, then once Bogdanovic scored, Marcelo Machado hit three foul shots, to give Brazil a 28-21 lead early in the second.
An excellent assist from Huertas, mid-way through the second quarter to an open Giovannoni, for the lay-up gave the Brazilians a 33-24 lead, and it grew to double-digits with a triple from Machado.
By then, Croatia didn’t have an answer for any Brazil attack. Another three-pointer from Machado, his third in the half – and a bucket from Giovannoni forced Croatia coach, Josip Vrankovic to call his troop in for a timeout.
Brazil at this stage were comfortable, and led at the break, 48-35.
The third was complete one-way traffic, Tomic fouled out on a technical, whilst clashing with Verejao, and Barbosa capped a 9-0 run, which forced coach Vrankovic to call a timeout.
Brazil though had pulled away – Leandro Barbosa, breezing past a lazy Croat defence to lay the ball home. Brazil were 72-50 to the good going into the final quarter of the group stage.
Croatia tried chipping away at Brazil’s margin, but found no spark, as Brazil, though Barbosa and Joao Batista scored easily inside to give the South Americans a 20-point advantage (76-56).
Brazil had beaten Croatia to third place, with this win. Croatia will face Serbia, whilst Brazil lock-horns with Argentina – in two grudge matches.
“That is a great match.” Dos Santos commented on the upcoming game with Argentina.
“Argentina are a strong team, a strong team. But for this game, Brazil are strong too – and I think Brazil will win.” Dos Santos confidently stated.
John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net – in Istanbul