As Washington Wizards fans, nearly all of us were highly anticipating how Rui Hachimura and the Japan men’s national basketball team would do. Also, since Hachimura is playing as his country’s cornerstone player, a strong performance by him in the Olympics could help us see what’s in store for next season.
While Japan lost to Spain in their first Group C match today, 88-77, we can remain convinced that Hachimura more than held his own. As you might expect, he scored 20 points on 8-of-21 shooting, including 4-of-11 from three. Toronto Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe added 19 points.
The Japanese were able to keep the game relatively close in the first half and even tied the game at 26-all with 5:56 left in the second quarter. However, the Spanish went on a 22-2 run for the remainder of the half and even led by as many as 24 points before the Japanese chipped away at the lead for the rest of the game.
For Spain, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio scored 20 points and dished 9 assists while not committing a single turnover.
Japan’s next game is on Thursday when they play Slovenia. Tip-off is at 12:40 a.m. ET.
Other men’s basketball games
- Slovenia 118, Argentina 100 in Group C - Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic scored 48 points for the Slovenes, including 31 in the first half to overwhelm the Argentines!
Women’s basketball games
- Spain 73, Korea 69 in Group A — An early scare for the Spanish, who are still reeling from a poor performance at Women’s EuroBasket, at least for their standards.
- Serbia 72, Canada 68 in Group A — The Serbians were in control for the game but never led by more than 11 against a Canadian squad that’s quite loaded with WNBA talent.
- The American women’s 3x3 team have finished all but one game of round robin play and remain undefeated. The odd part is that they are the 8th seed because their players do not have as much 3x3 experience. Their last round robin game is against Japan at 12:30 a.m. ET. They will then play in the quarterfinals later that day. The semifinals and medal rounds will be on Wednesday, if they win their quarterfinals match.
- In the men’s pool, Serbia remains undefeated beating any non-FIBA Europe team handily. The only teams they haven’t dominated are the Netherlands and Belgium, who are second and third place, respectively. Like the women’s pool, the men have played all but one group stage game which is tomorrow along with the quarterfinals. The semifinals and medal rounds are also on Wednesday.
And check these photos out!
Looks like Tina Charles and Ariel Atkins are happy to let you know they’re doing just fine in Tokyo while preparing for Team USA’s games in the women’s tournament.
chilling in the village #TogetherDC x #USABWNT pic.twitter.com/e0XTj7HkgG— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) July 25, 2021
Okay, it gets better. They had a multi-team practice with …. Belgium yesterday. Not the Belgian Lions team that got crushed by Rui last week (since male practice players are used quite often in the women’s game). They practiced with the Belgian Cats, and they spoke to … you know who!!!
Tina and Ariel doing their part in the second WNBA Free Agency race!— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) July 25, 2021
Will the Belgian Beast return?
(Ok, we’ll stop speculating.)
H/T @usabasketball who posted the photo earlier this morning pic.twitter.com/Wej0vin82v
In all seriousness, the Mystics are currently lottery-bound. They will need Meesseman back if they hope to make the playoffs in the post-Olympic break. We’ll find out soon enough if our prayers are answered!