The 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain kicked off on Saturday August 30 and the NBA was well represented. Almost every team in contention has multiple NBA players if not All-Stars or future stars in addition to some of the best overseas talent. However, the studs were not limited to the NBA and neither were the duds on the first day of action.
The Raptors young center Jonas Valanciunas was hit with two early personal fouls and Lithuania had to overcome a rough start, but Valanciunas shot a perfect 8-8 from the field for 17 points as Lithuania blew out Mexico 87-74 with stifling defense in the second and third quarters.
The Bulls newest All-Star Pau Gasol led all-scorers on day-one with 33 points on 12-20 shooting, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocked shots as Spain dismantled Iran 90-60. Hamed Haddadi had 16 points and 15 boards in a losing effort.
A pair of scoring studs did their best to give the game away when Croatia overcame the Philippines 81-78. The Nets free agent Andray Blatche filled up the boxscore as a ringer with the Philippines netting 28 points and grabbing 12 boards, but he did on 10-24 from the field and turned the ball over 7 times. New Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic shot better scoring 26 points on 9-18 shooting, but he turned the ball over 6 times. Someone had to win.
The Timberwolves Jose Juan Barea scored 24 points for Puerto Rico in a 98-75 losing cause against powerful Argentina as the FIBA veteran and current Pacers power forward Luis Scola had 20 points and 9 boards.
Suns starting point guard Goran Dragic had 21 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists to lead Slovenia past Australia 90-80. Spurs free agent Aron Baynes had 21 points and 7 boards for the Aussies. Jazz rookie Dante Exum was a disappointing 0-2 from the field for 0 points and 2 rebounds.
Other studs from Day One include:
New Zealand: Cory Webster 22 points
Mexico: Francisco Cruz 21 points
Senegal: Timberwolves Gorgui Dieng 21 points, 14 rebounds
As expected, the USA ran roughshod over Finland 114-55, but only two US players went over 20 minutes in the game. Warriors Klay Thompson led the US in scoring with 18 points. Pelicans Anthony Davis had 17 points in 14.3 minutes.
Check out all of the leading scorers at the FIBA World Cup here.