The 2010 FIBA World Championship kicked off today in Turkey and for San Antonio Spurs fans, eyes were on Brazil, France and Lithuania as Tiago Splitter, Nando de Colo and Robertas Javtokas played for their respective countries.
Here is how they did today in their opening round games.
Though the French national team pulled off the upset to defeat Spain, the defending World Champions, de Colo had a game to forget.
He played in the first half but did not see action in the second half. He drew the tough defensive assignment to guard Spain’s Ricky Rubio but it was the Spanish defense on de Colo which seemed to throw him off his game.
Though he did show flashes of aggressiveness going to the rim in the first quarter when he drove strong into the lane against Spain’s Marc Gasol but missed the shot.
He finished the game scoreless, got one steal which led to an easy score for France and drew a charge on the defensive end.
Javtokas did not have a good game as well as Lithuania faced New Zealand. He played four minutes, shot 50% from the field, grabbed one rebound, had one blocked shot and scored two points.
Splitter had the tough assignment of guarding Iran’s big man Hamed Haddadi who also plays for the Memphis Grizzlies. On two occasions, Haddadi blocked Splitter’s shot attempts.
Splitter did show an all around game which should bring a smile to Spurs fans next season. He used his body well in the paint to get to the basket and even picked up the “and 1” in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Splitter showed he can pass out of the paint when he found a Brazilian player at the opposite end of the court for an easy score. He also showed a knack for getting steals and scored most of his points in the paint.
At the half he scored seven points.
In the third quarter, Splitter showed he can run on the break and got a slam-dunk for Brazil but he continued to have the tough defensive assignment on Haddadi.
In the fourth quarter, Splitter had a huge dunk off a fast break and in the next play he ran the floor for an easy lay-up on a Brazil fast break.
What he showed was he can run up the court on fast breaks, cut to the rim, footwork in the paint and is constantly moving around the basket.
He finished the game with 13 points, shot 60% from the field, made 1/1 free-throws, grabbed four rebounds, had one assist, one steal and had one blocked shot in 23 minutes of play.