J.J. Barea, Puerto Rico can't hold on in FIBA AMERICAS title game
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
J.J. Barea looks like he's ready for the Minnesota Timberwolves' season to get going.
The Wolves guard went off for 22 points for Puerto Rico in the FIBA AMERICAS championship title game Wednesday in Venezulea, although it was not enough to defeat Mexico in a 91-88 loss.
Barea and Puerto Rico overcame an early deficit to take a five-point lead into the fourth quarter, but Mexico broke an 88-88 tie in the final minute and held on for the title.
Regardless, Barea still had an impressive showing in his nine-game run in the biennial tournament. The 29-year-old guard averaged 15.5 points (45.1% from the floor) and 4.5 assists per game, including three plus-20 point scoring nights.
The silver lining for Puerto Rico is that it's march to the championship game secured a spot in next year's FIBA World Cup in Spain.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, Barea's teammate in the Wolves' backcourt, Ricky Rubio, and his Spanish national team are in the second round of the EuroBasket tourney in Slovenia.
Rubio has had three straight double-digit scoring games (16, 15 and 10 points) to bump his tournament average to 10.3 points and 3.8 assists in five games.
Spain plays Greece Thursday in the first of three games in the second round group stage.