In the group stage of Olympic basketball, a team’s overall performance is nearly as important as the outcome of a game.
Brazil vs. Australia revealed so much more than a winner and a loser. Here are three things that we learned from the Brazilians' 75-71 victory on Sunday.
3. Australia Isn’t a Pushover
Australia entered the Olympics as a major underdog—and for good reason. They have just two players on their entire roster with any NBA experience: Patty Mills and David Anderson.
Despite facing off against a fairly stacked Brazil team, though, Australia held its own and actually could’ve won if it weren’t for a late-game gaffe.
The Aussies possess the ability to challenge every team that they face in London and could pull off a shock or two.
2. Marcelinho Huertas is Brazil’s X-Factor
Brazil’s frontcourt of Nene, Anderson Varejao and Tiago Splitter receives all the attention when it comes to the squad’s strength. Their backcourt with Leandro Barbosa and Marcelinho Huertas is just as strong, though.
Huertas carried the Brazilians’ offense, scoring 15 points and dishing out 10 assists in the contest. The floor general looks like one of the most underrated players in the tournament. He could provide Brazil with the spark that it needs to make a medal push.
1. Neither Team Can Shoot
Is Brazil a legitimate threat to Spain?
Australia and Brazil took a combined 37 shot attempts from beyond the arc on Sunday. They made grand total of six.
Each team had plenty of success scoring inside, but their long-distance shooting will prove to be an Achilles' heel if things don’t shape up.
Barbosa and Mills are strong three-point shooters—Barbosa at 39.1 percent for his career, 42.9 for Mills last season—so they have the potential to turn it around. But if they fail to do so, they’ll get trounced by Spain.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.