Spain and USA dominate opponents on opening night of tournament…
The FIBA World Cup 2014 tipped off on Saturday, and while there were wins for both Spain and Team USA, there was plenty of great action elsewhere.
All 24 teams opened their tournament on Day 1, with the favourites Spain and USA winning comfortably against Iran and Finland respectively.
It is undeniable that both nations are on a different level compared to their other rivals, and the opening day of the World Cup perhaps proved that it is a mere formality that the pair will meet in the final.
Anthony Davis impressed for the Americans, and while the likes of Derrick Rose and Klay Thompson made highlight reels, it was the defence from Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team which was highly impressive too.
USA held the Finnish to just two points in the second quarter, and essentially that killed the game for them as the margin of victory continued to grow thereafter.
Meanwhile, the hosts were also in a dominant mood with Pau Gasol ending the win over Iran with 33 points and eight rebounds. However, Ricky Rubio struggled with his shot which will be a concern moving forward while Serge Ibaka sat out with a hamstring strain.
The Oklahoma City Thunder star will arguably not be needed until the later rounds, so it may well be worth the Spanish resting him and allowing his injury to fully heal.
Elsewhere, Slovenia were led by point guard Goran Dragic in their win over Australia, although the Boomers are expected to improve as the tournament goes on. However, they had no answer for the Phoenix Suns star as he will be integral to his nation’s hopes.
Greece were also impressive with Giannis Antetokounmpo excelling in his opening game, but in contrast it was a poor start from Euro Basket 2013 champions France.
Without Tony Parker, Les Bleus struggled against Brazil in a low-scoring game, and it could spell trouble for the remainder of the tournament.
Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas shined on the opening day with 17 points and five rebounds in his World Cup debut, while Argentina dealt with the absence of leader Manu Ginobili with a solid win over Puerto Rico.
Croatia 81-78 Philippines
Ukraine 72-62 Dominican Republic
Angola 80-69 Korea
Egypt 64-85 Serbia
New Zealand 73-76 Turkey
Australia 80-90 Slovenia
Puerto Rico 75-98 Argentina
France 63-65 Brazil
Mexico 74-87 Lithuania
Greece 87-64 Senegal
USA 114-55 Finland
Iran 60-90 Spain