Tall Actors trample Tall Blacks
Spain could have earnt their win against the Tall Blacks. But some impressive acting and strange calls led to a tidal wave of whistles against the Tall Blacks, which secured Spain’s sixteen-point win over New Zealand in their opening FIBA World Championship match.
In fact, the time spent not throwing themselves onto the floor dramatically before looking sharply at the referees seems to have been spent reminding the officials that every call against Spain results in a thousand-dollar decrease in their bri—I mean, bonus—for that game. The first quarter saw a call which would cancel a Spanish basket reversed, at the protest of Spaniard Pau Gasol, and converted into a three-point play for Spain.
Some soft calls—the type that’s overlooked in many high-level basketball games—meant that Kirk Penney picked up his second foul before the thirty-fifth second (yes, second) had elapsed: the beginning of giant foul frenzy which allowed Spain to power ahead to secure the win in the third quarter. An apparent misunderstanding of the concept of advantage/disadvantage kept this ball rolling: few of the fouls involved (of the ones that were fouls in the first place) disadvantaged Spain in any way. Get this: by the latter half of the third quarter, Penney, Pero Cameron, Phill Jones and Casey Frank were all in foul trouble—three fouls or more each. Early in the fourth quarter, all of these players were on four. The lack of scorers on the court during and after the third quarter prevented the Tall Blacks from doing anything of any substance. These players returned to the court in the fourth quarter, as they would, and Jones and Cameron would both foul out.
Spain’s win must also be credited to their incredibly sharp field goal shooting (but not free throws) and their ability to execute an effective offense. Their standard of play makes it no surprise that they are a favourite to take this year’s title. But their win would be more respectable if it were not punctuated with overdone hollywoods, flying onto the floor from anything from normal contact within a game to, well, a lack of it.