I’ve got Slovenia by 3. Let’s get it:
-Slovenia’s got the lead early 6-5. Then Splitter has to spoil the fun before I can press ‘Update.’ Buzz kill.
-Dragic scores on his buddy from Phoenix (Barbosa…but you knew that). Slovenia’s up 10-9.
-The build-up to this game hasn’t quite been what I’d hoped. Maybe with the USA-Brazil match and then yesterday’s Greece-Turkey rivalry, not to mention Lithuania’s Spanish inquisition, this one has just fallen off the radar a little. I’ve been looking at this for a while though. It’s Brazil’s quick vs. Slovenia’s strong. I like it.
-If Gasper Vidmar is too quick for Splitter then he’s in for a rough 82 games in San Antonio next year. Second time Gasper’s gotten the shot he wants, but this time he finishes like a man.
-My voice just got higher than a 12-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert with that last Dragic move. Euro step, behind the back then scooped underneath Varejao. Almost wet myself.
-Vidmar got floored for over a minute yet FIBA-TV refuses to show a replay, leaving me clueless as to what happened. Thanks diplomacy.
-Barbosa loses it on the drive with 4 seconds on the clock, Becirovic picks it up and sends it ahead to Dragic who drops in the 12-foot running floater. They review it: no basket. I’m willing to bet the Slovenian fans are not convinced. And though Dragic doesn’t get those two points in the stat book, he makes twice that in Freaknick’s Street Cred Dollars. That sort of thing doesn’t happen every day.
-20-18 Slovenia’s up after the first period.
-Jaka Lakovic kind of reminds me of a friendly young Frankenstein. Like, before he got all fried out and irritable.
-Nachbar with a Kukoc-esque dish to Brezec for the finish. Drives to the bucket palming the ball and then just wrists it downwards to Primoz. Muy pretty.
-Time for a score update: 30-18 Slovenia. Yup, it’s like that. Crazy energy from the Slovenians. Both sides should be emotionally exhausted after their last ones, but only Brazil looks it.
-Anderson needs to realize that tipping the ball and rebounding it are not the same thing. Two-handed boards get you to heaven.
-I wish I understood Portuguese. Marcelo Huertas is being more vocal than he’s been this entire tournament. Probably pretty pissed right about now: Slovenia 44-30 Brazil at the half.
-Guilherme Giovanonni with the pulse check. Triple plus the ol’ “stand up” arm wave. Well-executed, at that.
-Tiago with the breakaway dunk and Brazil brings it back to single digits. A good place to only 1:31 deep into the second half.
-Sani Becirovic is another one of those guys who looks much bigger in person. Not clunky really, but definitely a wider lower half than you’d think. On TV he looks so jittery quick.
-Every time one of the Slovenian bigs gets a bucket they celebrate by complaining to the referees. Just bask in the glory instead of getting your panties in a bunch.
-Dragic and Alex Garcia with a Matrix-esque midair collision. Dragic gets the worst of it, clutching his back. At least he’s going to the line.
-Garcia gets rrevenge with a pair of lay-ups, the latest on the break. Slovenia’s still up 8 but they need to kick it up. 58-48.
-Thank you, Bostjan Nachbar. Long two puts it back up to ten. On a team with plenty of good players, Boki’s the clutch scorer, and Memi Becirovic is perfectly fine with that.
-Slokar had position, yet still felt the need to wrap his arm around Varejao while calling for the ball on the post. Just let him go brother. You’ll still get it.
-Varejao finally makes an athletic play but it’s after the whistle on a Splitter miss. Tiago proceeded to miss both free throws. Just like I predicted, it’s a 67-51 blowout after three quarters.
-Jaka! Flocka! Flocka! Flocka! Crossed him somethin’ serious and then leftied it right in there.
-A Nachbar pass leads directly to a Marcelo Machado jumper. That was huge for Brazil, putting them down 70-59 with under 8:00 left.
-A Barbosa deuce in transition’s looking just as big, maybe bigger. Lead back down to 9.
-How did this Slovenia team give the USA more trouble? They play hard, they play pretty smart, now suddenly they’re playing defense.
-Maybe I’ve spoken too soon. Six straight for Brazil after Machado puts in another on the break, uncontested. 70-63.
-Two offensive boards by Brazil and Tiago makes them count. In 5:53, a 16-point lead has been cut to a single bucket. Crazy.
-Uros Slokar and Anderson Varejao are getting into it down low. Arms tangled, words exchanged all the way down the court.
-Jaka (who else?) calms things down with a three to shove the lead up to 73-68.
-Gasper Vidmar comes in and instantly shows more springs on the boards than Slovenia’s had since his departure with the shoulder injury.
-JJJJJJAAAAAAAAAKKKKAAAAAA!!! He hits another one and it’s 76-68 with 2:12 to go. This dude is clutcher than clutch itself.
-Nachbar says, “GAME OVER” with a three in the corner with 20.2 remaining. Terrific possession for Slovenia. Dribbling up with a 5-point lead and 40-something seconds on the clock, they play it safe, keep it simple and attack with :08 on the shot clock. Lakovic finds Nachabr with about:04 and Boki took it form there. It’s 79-71 with 20.2 left. Brazil needs a Marcelinho miracle.
-Machado hits a three with 15 seconds on the clock, and he might’ve gotten fouled. He didn’t get the call, but Slovenia needs to be more careful.
- I don’t know why Nachbar felt the need to foul Machado on his desperation three with 1.1 left in the game, but he did anyways and fouled out. Maybe he just wanted to hear his ovation as he walked past the cheering section to the bench.
-Oh wait, did somebody say Slovenia by three? I think they just might have. 80-77 is your final. That’s why they pay me the big bucks.
Slovenia: Lakovic 20, Brezec 16, Nachbar 15, Dragic 10
Brazil: Machado 20, Splitter 19, Barbosa 12, Huertas 8 points and 7 assists