The 2014 FIBA World Cup got underway for Brazil and France, with the two teams facing each other in Group A action. It was a close affair, with Brazil taking a lead midway through the second quarter and not relinquishing it in its 65-63 victory. France, for its part, was able to keep things close after trailing by 10 partway through the third quarter, but it was never able to come all the way back.
Marcelinho Huertas: A
The Brazilian point guard was the most effective player on the court. He had good ball movement, finding teammates for five assists. On top of that, he also got in on the scoring action, notching a game-high 16 points and spreading the floor by hitting two of his three-point attempts, which helped open up the paint for Brazil's frontcourt.
Huertas: "France is one of the hardest teams in the group, so this is a good step. Not a definitive step, but a good one." #Spain2014— EuroleagueBasketball (@Euroleague) August 30, 2014
He had a nice fourth quarter for Brazil. On one possession he hit a three-pointer, extending the lead to eight. Then a few possessions later he worked a nice give-and-go with Nene.
Anderson Varejao: B+
Varejao did what he does best, which is rebound the ball. He had a game-high nine rebounds, including five on the offensive glass in the victory. On top of that, he blocked one shot and got a steal for the Brazilians, as he was one of its most effective players in the paint. While he was only 2-of-8 shooting from the field, he was effective in getting to the charity stripe for a game-high six attempts.
Tiago Splitter: B
Like Varejao, Splitter did his best work in the paint. The center was a pest, especially matched up against NBA teammate Boris Diaw. He recorded six points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in a well-rounded effort.
Leandro Barbosa: C
Barbosa finished the game with eight points and two rebounds. He wasn't the most efficient in getting his points, as he only made two of his nine field-goal attempts. However, both of them were three-pointers, which helped to spread the floor and allow Brazil's frontcourt of Splitter, Varejao and Nene to work.
Marquinhos Vieira: B+
Other than Huertas, Vieira was the only other Brazilian in double figures. He finished the game with 10 points. He also brought down six rebounds and nailed one of his two three-point attempts in his team-high 26 minutes of action.
Rest of Team: B
Brazil also got solid efforts from the rest of its team. Nene had a nice game with five points and eight rebounds while shooting guard Raulzinho Neto notched six points, three rebounds and one steal in 17 minutes of action.
Boris Diaw: A
Diaw was far and away France's best player. He had a well-rounded game, scoring 15 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out six assists. He was also effective on defense, blocking one shot and recording one steal.
Perhaps his most memorable play came at the end of the game when he cut Brazil's lead to one with only one minute and twenty seconds remaining. Yet he also had a nice coast-to-coast lay-in in the third quarter to get France within five at the start of the fourth.
Nicolas Batum: A
As he's known to do for the Portland Trail Blazers while playing stateside, Batum was solid on both ends of the floor. No sequence displayed that better than one at the beginning of the third quarter. On the offensive end, Batum hit a corner three-pointer. Then on Brazil's ensuing possession, he blocked a Tiago Splitter shot while coming over as a help defender.
Batum finished the game with 13 points, four rebounds and one assist in a game-high 31 minutes of action.
Mickael Gelabale: C
Gelabale was third on the team in scoring, finishing the game with seven points in 24 minutes. He also added two rebounds, one assist and hit his only three-point attempt of the game, as well as three of his five total field-goal attempts.
Rudy Gobert: C-
Gobert's best work came in the paint matched up against Splitter. He did a solid job dissuading shots, as he finished with two blocks. He also tallied six points on 3-of-5 shooting to go along with three rebounds.
However, the center also committed a game-high four personal fouls in his 18 minutes of action. That's saying something since the officials largely let the teams play, with many questionable sequences that would normally be called a foul.
Antoine Diot: C
Diot was a pest on defense for France, finishing the game with two steals as well as deflecting another pass. However, he wasn't very active on offense, only scoring four points and taking four attempts in almost 19 minutes of action.
Rest of Team: D
France didn't get much from the rest of its team. Evan Fournier, another NBA player, didn't score any points or record any rebounds. His best play was using a foul to give in the closing seconds of the first half, which prevented Brazil from scoring on a fast-break opportunity.
Coming Up Next:
Both teams return to the court in short order. France takes on Serbia on Aug. 31 at 9:30 a.m. ET, while Brazil faces Iran on Aug. 31 at 12 p.m. ET.