2019 FIBA World Cup Day 1: Spurs Focus

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The 2019 FIBA World Cup officially kicked off Saturday in China with three San Antonio Spurs affiliated players taking part in the action. Current Spurs players Chimezie Metu and Marco Belinlli participated with their teams, Nigeria and Italy, while Spurs draftee Nikola Milutinov played with Serbia.

Detailed Notes on Metu

Since Metu wasn’t able to participate in Summer League, there hasn’t been much on his offseason progress after he barely played with the Spurs last season and spent most of his time in Austin in the G-League. Nigeria narrowly lost to Russia 82-77 and though Metu came off the bench, he ended up playing 21 minutes for Nigeria and some minutes in the fourth quarter. Let’s go through some quarter-by-quarter notes on his play in the game.

First Quarter – Metu got to the free throw line twice in the game, and one of his first sequences of getting to the line came in the first quarter, where he used a pump fake from three to drive in and get fouled.

Second Quarter – Metu got an open dunk during the second after an offensive rebound sequence. On a few possessions defensively in the second he would get switched onto a shooter and he would help too far in, leaving the shooter with an open shot from the outside.

Third Quarter – Metu once again got to the free throw line in this quarter by getting the ball in the post, facing up, then using a rip move to drive by his defender and get fouled. On an inbound sequence where his team turned the ball over near the opponent basket, Metu prevented a layup attempt by swatting the opponent’s shot.

Fourth Quarter – Metu scored early in the fourth by collecting an offensive rebound and finishing with a jump hook near the rim. He showed a good possession of lateral defense by switching onto a guard up high, then when the guard tried to get to the rim, Metu prevented him from getting a good shot attempt. One of his last scoring plays was on a pick-and-roll sequence with Josh Okogie of the Minnesota Timberwolves. You can see the clip below.

Metu ended up finishing with 10 points on 3/8 shooting from the floor, while going 4/4 from the free throw line. He also collected six rebounds, one assist, two fouls, and the one mentioned block. He primarily played the 4 and 5 for Nigeria while he was on the floor. Nigeria will continue their play in Group B on Monday when they face Argentina.

Belinelli, Italy cruise past the Philippines

Marco Belinelli and Italy picked up an easy win against the Philippines after a 108-62 victory. Belinelli finished with 9 points on 4/6 shooting, as well as 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in 20 minutes. Italy will face Angola on Monday as they continue group play in Group D.

Milutinov, Serbia crush Angola

Spurs draftee Nikola Milutinov and Serbia crushed Angola by almost 50 points with a 105-59 win Saturday. Milutinov played 12 minutes and finished with 14 points on 4/6 shooting, and 3 rebounds and one steal. Serbia will face the Philippines Monday as they continue their Group D play.

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