Even though the NBA regular season is still more than a month away, that doesn’t mean we have to do without basketball. Three interesting games are happening today.
Spain vs. Slovenia
1:30 pm CDT
This should be a fun match up. Spain is the defending champions and are likely the deepest, most talented team at this tournament. They struggled a bit in the quarters against Germany, but still have to be the favorites to win the title. This is probably the last go around for the core of an iconic international team—it’s doubtful we see Pau Gasol at another major tournament. Juan Carlos Navarro is also reaching the end of his international career.
Slovenia is led by Goran Dragic, who is terrific and will be a handful for Ricky Rubio and Sergio Rodriguez, and wunderkind Luka Doncic. The 18 year old is having a major impact at Eurobasket, which is amazing at his age, and has solidified his place as one of the top basketball prospects in the world.
Senegal vs. Angola
2:30 pm CDT
Having swept through their group, Senegal is one of the favorites to win Afrobasket. They lost in overtime in the semis to eventual champion Nigeria last go around, and will be looking for better this time. Gorgui Dieng is obviously the player of interest here, and he is a star for his national team. Though not putting up the absurd numbers he did at the 2015 tournament, he’s still showing his inside-outside game, and is a much less reluctant scorer for Senegal than he is in the NBA. Hopefully his willingness to shoot threes will carry over to the Wolves.
Lynx vs. Mystics
7:00 pm CDT
These two teams are back at it in game two of their best of five semifinal after the Lynx won a blowout in game one, behind absurdly hot shooting from the perimeter. It starts, however, with Sylvia Fowles down low, who commands immense attention and frees up other players. The Mystics will have to figure out a way to control all of Minnesota’s weapons, a difficult task that very few teams were able to accomplish last season.
The Mystics need more from their stars. Elena Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman had their moments in game one, but they need to dominate for the Mystics to have a chance. Kristi Toliver was the focus of the Lynx defense, and only managed 1-7 and three points. They need her shooting to loosen things up.
Following Lynx-Mystics will be Sparks-Mercury in game two of their semifinal. The Sparks overcame a bit of a slow start and won game one 79-66. They will also be looking to take a 2-0 lead at home and bring us a step closer to a rematch of last year’s WNBA Finals.
It’s a great day of basketball, even without the NBA.