Serbia looked like Team USA’s prime threat in the FIBA World Cup.
But if the Americans beat France in tomorrow’s quarterfinal – no easy task itself – they will avoid Serbia.
Argentina upset Serbia, 97-87, in another quarterfinal Tuesday. Now, Argentina will play the United States-France winner Friday.
The Argentinians were confident and cohesive – traits they showed in their earlier giant-killing days. If the U.S. caught a break not having to face Serbia, it’s not much of one. Argentina (6-0) is dangerous.
Without players like Manu Ginobili and Andres Nocioni, Argentina might not be as talented as before. But this is also far from Team USA’s best roster.
Facundo Campazzo (18 points, 12 assists and three steals Tuesday) has proven to be a real sparkplug. Luis Scola (20 points) is still humming. Argentina shot 60% on 2-pointers and 44% on 3-pointers.
Serbia’s top NBA players – Nikola Jokic (16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists), Bogdan Bogdanovic (21 points) and (Nemanja Bjelica (21 points) – played well. But not nearly well enough. Serbia was too sloppy with the ball, too content to force bad shots and too lax defensively.
After winning its first four games (over Angola, Philippines, Italy and Puerto Rico) by more than 40 points per game, Serbia has lost two straight (to Spain and now Argentina). Now, Serbia will play for fifth place – a disappointing finish in a tournament it entered with medal expectations.