RIO DE JANEIRO — Jazz guard Raul Neto couldn’t quite pull off a miracle comeback for Brazil in his Olympic debut.
Brazil ended up losing to Lithuania 82-76, but Neto played so well in the second half, he took over as the team’s starting point guard. He finished with 14 points, while teammate Leandro Barbosa led the team with 21 points.
The two teams met earlier this week in exhibition play, with Brazil earning a 64-62 victory.
Lithuania led 58-29 at the half, with Neto and Barbosa leading the second-half comeback.
Barbosa said the players weren’t nervous.
“I wouldn’t say it was butterflies,” Barbosa said. “I think we didn’t do a good job on defense, and Lithuania knew how to take advantage of it, and they scored and scored and scored. When we tried to fix our sin, it was already too late. We cut the margin to four point — kind of impossible mission — but we fought until the end. And that’s our team.”
Brazil’s Nene Hilario said the way the crowd cheered during the comeback was energizing.
“It was an unbelievable comeback, especially against Lithuania, who is a top team in the world. It was a wake-up call, but you see our potential. Our culture is going to support us in every movement.” Brazil takes on Spain on Aug. 9, the team favored to win their pool.
ERIC WEDDLE’S OLYMPIC CONNECTION
Baltimore Ravens safety Eric Weddle asked his fans to support his cousin, weightlifter Sarah Robles, in her second attempt at Olympic hardware.
“Everyone go support my cousin (Sarah Robles) in Rio,” he tweeted with a picture of her competing for Team USA. “Love you Sarah. Kick Butt!!!! We’re all supporting you.”
Robles retweeted her first cousin, returning the love and thanking him for the social media support.
In a story in the Baltimore Ravens' newsletter, Weddle said Robles can lift more weight than he can.
“It’s not even close,” he told The Caw. “She’s amazing.”
Robles will compete next Sunday in the women’s over 75 kilograms division. The power lifter, who is a Mormon, competed in the London 2012 Olympics, where she finished seventh.
“She’s just an amazing individual,” Weddle told The Caw. “I look up to her in a lot of ways — the way she’s grown up, the hardships she’s overcome and now it’s her second time in the Olympics. It’s pretty awesome.”
END OF AN ERA
Serena and Venus Williams' reign at Olympic doubles is over.
The sisters, who competed Sunday despite Venus being sick with an undisclosed illness, lost 6-3, 6-4 to Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova on Sunday in their first loss as a doubles team in three Olympic Games. They won gold in Sydney (2000), Beijing (2008) and London (2012).
"I wouldn't say it's devastating," Serena said. "We have a chance to compete for our country, we did the best that we can. We had a blast out there and, yeah, I wouldn't say it was devastating. It was a lot of fun, and we will always remember these moments, and these matches, and at the end of the day, I think that's what matters most."
Venus Williams lost in singles competition Saturday.