Buddy Hield

Santos, Brazil qualify for Olympics as Hield, Bahamas fall short

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On Sunday, one Warriors player booked his ticket to the Paris Olympics, while another Golden State player and coach fell short at the final hurdle.

Let's start with the good news first.

Forward Gui Santos and his Brazilian national team took down Latvia 94-69 in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Finals.

Santos, who played 27 minutes off the bench for Brazil, put up 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in a big win over hosts Latvia, led by NBA veteran Davis Bertans. Over the course of the Olympic qualifiers, the 2022 second-round pick Santos averaged 7.3 points per game on 48-percent shooting from the field.

In Paris later this month, Brazil will face off against Japan, Germany and France in Group B, so Santos avoids any friendly fire against teammate Steph Curry and coach Steve Kerr against Team USA for at least the tournament's group stage.

Meanwhile, a couple of other members of the Warriors organization didn't fare quite as well.

The Bahamas, featuring the Warriors' new addition Buddy Hield and assistant coach Chris DeMarco, also entered Sunday just one win away from an Olympic berth. But DeMarco -- who serves as Bahamas head coach -- couldn't guide his squad past Spain, falling 86-78 in another final qualifier in Valencia.

Just a day after officially signing with the Warriors, Hield largely struggled from the floor. Though he led the Bahamas with 19 points, the long-range specialist struggled from deep, hitting just two of 10 attempts from behind the arc. He added six rebounds but also turned the ball over four times.

Former Warriors forward Usman Garuba -- who spent the 2023-24 NBA season with Golden State -- had a productive game off the bench for Spain. He accrued 10 points on 3-for-5 shooting, in addition to five rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Garuba now is an unrestricted free agent after the Warriors declined his qualifying offer last month, but perhaps his performance against DeMarco will keep him on Golden State's radar.

The Olympics' group phase will kick off July 27 as Spain takes on Australia, and Brazil faces France later that day. Curry, Kerr and Team USA play their opening game on July 28 against Serbia.

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