Brilliant Brazil power past Latvia to qualify for Paris 2024

    5 min to read
    Game report
    Brazil made it to the Olympic Games

    Off to a perfect start, Brazil never turned around against Latvia as they sealed a return to the Olympic Games.

    RIGA (Latvia) - A whole arena, city, and nation was ready to celebrate a historic night, finally heading back to the Olympic Games - it was 88 years in the making.

    But Latvian hearts were full of desperation rather than joy at the end of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2024 as Brazil claimed a vibrant 94-69 success.

    Unlike their previous three games, Brazil started the Final resoundingly, staying ahead from the first to the very last minute.

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    Turning Point

    It may look like it was too early into the encounter, but Brazil found the turning point in the opening minutes.

    With Aleksandar Petrovic giving Georginho De Paula playmaking duties, finding Bruno Caboclo on the pick-and-roll for the one-handed dunk, the green-and-golders escaped away.

    From that moment on, they indeed entered a scorching 19-0 run to finish the first quarter up by 23 points at 34-11. That saw them already putting one foot and a half into the 12-team poll for Paris 2024.

    Their three-point shooting efficiency was just on another level in the first period. Entering the Final with struggles at 32.1% from deep, they looked like a completely different team as they shot the lights out from downtown. They looked Olympic-bound kind of team.

    TCL Player of the Game

    Brazil showed a different face and attitude from the very beginning.

    And, it was also thanks to Leo Meindl, who converted the first three-pointer of an unstoppable 8/8 run from beyond the arc in the first quarter.

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    The 31-year-old forward continued his good showing throughout the whole game,, almost finishing with a double-double at 20 points and 9 rebounds, shooting 4/7 from deep and 8/9 at the charity stripe.

    Alongside Bruno Caboclo - who contributed a super 21 points - he was clearly the most important player on the court.

    Read about Caboclo TISSOT MVP Award

    Caboclo claims TISSOT MVP award at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2024 Latvia

    Stats don't lie

    Previewing the big showdown between Latvia and Brazil, it was important to underline the X-Factor regarding three-point shots in the last 40 decisive minutes in Riga.

    With those 8 of 8 from long-range in the first quarter, the Brazilian national team displayed an élite three-point performance to spoil the home party.

    Last year in Jakarta, when the Baltic side eliminated Brazil from Quarter-Finals contention, Latvia shot 16 of 33 (48.5%), while the opponents converted 7 of 24 (29.2%) from the three-point line.

    Tonight, the roles were reversed, with Brazil shooting 13 of 24 (54.0%), while the hosts had a disappointing 8 of 29 (28.0%) instead.

    Bottom line

    Waiting for the other final showdowns in Greece, Spain, and Puerto Rico, the home team curse potentially continues in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.

    Just like Lithuania in Kaunas, Victoria in Canada, Belgrade in Serbia, and Split in Croatia in 2021, Latvia couldn't make it as hosts of the competition in Riga.

    Brazil love that Paris feeling

    Taking revenge from the competition's latest edition in 2021 in his home country of Croatia, where Brazil lost to Germany in the final in Split, Aleksandar Petrovic brought his team back to the Olympics. He already disappointed the hosts in Italy in 2016.

    Davis Bertans scored the first and unique points of his night with a shot from deep at 4:08 minutes in the fourth quarter, while his brother Dairis finished scoreless.

    Another crucial player like Rodions Kurucs also found a tough night. Latvia couldn't pull it off without some of its most important assets. Especially against this version of Brazil.

    They said

    "Can you imagine us being here with a ticket to Paris and after twenty minutes against Cameroon we were going home? That roller coaster of emotions is something unbelievable. We grew up as persons and as a unit team, and from then everything was well prepared" Brazil's head coach Aleksandar Petrovic

    "Thanks to our amazing fans. Despite this kind of loss at the end of the game, they stayed in the arena, they stood, and I'm really proud of them. Despite the score, everybody who stepped on the court gave everything. Now this is going to show what we're made of: it's easy to be a good team when everything is going your way." Latvia's guard Dairis Bertans

    "Brazil played an incredible game, I believe they scored 9 three-pointers in a row. They imposed their size and physicality from the beginning. We were expecting such a kind of stress on the court. There was an incredible desire from everybody to complete such an important path." Latvia's head coach Luca Banchi

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