Grind City Media Staff Report
After sputtering through a sluggish performance over the weekend to reach the quarterfinals at FIBA Eurobasket 2017, Marc Gasol insists his Spanish National Team must regain its rhythm on offense to survive Tuesday’s showdown against Germany.
“It’s just (about) watching the film, seeing what teams do to you, seeing where the gaps are and practicing,” Gasol said. “That’s the only way I know how to get the rhythm back besides shooting more.”
Spain remains undefeated after eliminating Turkey with a 73-56 victory on Sunday, but was held 16.8 points below its scoring average of 89.8 points per game throughout the tournament. Gasol, a three-time NBA All-Star center with the Memphis Grizzlies, finished Spain’s first knockout round game with 10 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Despite being slowed a bit offensively, Spain’s defense was dominant yet again and held Turkey to just 37.9 percent shooting from the field and only 3-of-20 from three-point range. However, Spain also struggled to connect from beyond the arc, shooting 8-of-24, well below their tournament average of 44.7 percent entering the game.
They used their rhythm (and) they packed the paint like we expected them to … They didn’t let us get into a rhythm. They did a good job of taking away – collapsing one side and making us make the wrong read too many times. But we were able to make enough big plays, especially at the end to put the game away.
Spain was ahead by only three points late in the third quarter and didn’t stretch its lead to double digits until midway through the final period. Ricky Rubio’s three-pointer with 5:19 left in the game ignited a 14-4 run and pushed Spain comfortably ahead 70-54 to secure the win.
Rubio scored 12 of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter for Spain, which has only a short turnaround to get prepared for Germany on Tuesday.
“We’ll start studying them (immediately),” Gasol said Sunday. “Now, it’s time to rehab, recover and get ready for the next game.”