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Saric struggles against Serbia, Rodriguez assists romp of France

Dario Saric was relatively a non-factor in Croatia's close loss to Serbia and Sergio Rodriguez continued to shine off the bench for a tough Spain team.

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Dario Saric and Sergio Rodriguez continued their Olympic tournament run Wednesday but only one Sixer finished the quarterfinals with a victory. Rodriguez and Spain overwhelmed France in the second half, en route to a 92-67 victory, and will advance to the semis. Saric, however, and Croatia had a difficult time manifesting a lead over Nikola Jokic and Serbia, who won 86-83.

Saric and Jokic both were physical throughout the night, but their second-quarter tussle shined a negative light on the Croatian point forward.

Saric finished with four fouls and showed animosity to his teammates at times after defensive breakdowns; a theme throughout the team. He also was on the receiving end of a posterizing dunk by Serbia's Miroslav Raduljica. On the offensive end, Saric contributed seven points (3-7 FG) in more than 29 minutes. He didn't showcase his rare passing traits extensively, with Croatia favoring one, two pass possesions, and had just one assist to four turnovers.

It would've been promising to see Saric assume the role of point forward more than what he was for Croatia in the tournament, but it will be intriguing to see how Sixers head coach Brett Brown utilizes the unique forward. Saric ends his Olympics with 11.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG and 3.1 APG. His future teammate, Sergio Rodriguez, played an integral part in Spain's thrashing of France.

Rodriguez provided Spain with another productive outing off the bench, spelling Ricky Rubio. The 30-year-old point guard finished with six points (3-5 FG), four assists and a steal in the 35-point throttling of France. He flashed marvelous vision on a fast break no look dish to center Willy Hernangomez in the second quarter, minutes after connecting with the former Sixers draft pick for a basket off an inbounds pass.

Spain's loaded with talent and Rodriguez aiding his teammate's scoring efforts bodes well for his distributing efforts with competent scorers in Philadelphia. Nikola Mirotic scored a game-high 23 points (9-15 FG) and Hernangomez dominated in the paint, finishing with 16 points (8-11 FG).

Through six games, Rodriguez has just 12 turnovers (2.0 per game) in a meaningful role for the Spanish national team. Spain will take on heavy favorite U.S.A. in a semifinal matchup Friday, August 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET. Dario Saric's next game will be as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

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