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Dario Saric’s Block Lifts Croatia Over Sergio Rodriguez and Spain

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Saric saves the day for Croatia in a matchup against soon to be Sixers teammate Sergio Rodriguez.

Croatia v Spain Men's Basketball - Olympics: Day 2 Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

In a few months time, Dario Saric and Sergio Rodriguez will be teammates in Philadelphia. But on Sunday evening in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, "The Homie" and "El Chacho" were foes as Croatia and Spain faced off in their first game of the 2016 Olympics.

The two teams were deadlocked for a good portion of the fourth quarter, but in the end Croatia would upset Spain 72-70.

It wasn’t a banner day for Saric, who was named MVP of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Turin, but he came up big when it mattered most. Despite inuring (what appeared to be) his leg in the final 20 seconds, Dario stayed in the game, knocked down an important free throw to put Hrvatska up two, and then stuffed Pau Gasol on a shot that surely would’ve sent the game into overtime.

Saric finished with 5 points (1-7 FG, 0-4 3PT, 3-6 FT), 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. He shot the ball really poorly and got overpowered on some of his drives to the basket, but he made his impact felt everywhere else on the floor. Saric’s passing abilities were on full display once again.

The shooting will be somewhat of a concern as Dario transitions to the NBA, but he’s an absolute gamer. Props to him for battling through a rough offensive day to make the biggest play of the night.

For Spain, point guard Sergio Rodriguez came off the bench to start the game, but head coach Sergio Scariolo opted to play him over Ricky Rubio in crunch time. He finished with 10 points (3-10 FG, 2-7 3PT) and a game high 7 assists. Philadelphia brought Rodriguez in because of his ability to run an offense, and for most of the game he looked like a real floor general. His court vision is really superb, and he’s a crafty enough dribbler to create some space for himself.

Both Saric and Rodriguez will be back in action on Tuesday. Spain will face Brazil at 1:15 p.m., while Croatia will be taking on Argentina at 9:30 p.m.