BallinEurope is live from Panevezys again today for more EuroBasket action, beginning with Spain vs. Great Britain. As the Brits continue to chase that elusive first-ever major tournament win, Spain seeks to continue its stomping through Group A. After two games, the powers of the group — Spain, Turkey, and Lithuania — all sit on top at 2-0. The heavily-favored defending champions look to be in first going into the off-day on Saturday … they best not be looking ahead, though.
Join the live blogging here, just below the break. Enjoy the game!
First quarter. 9.32: Pau starts the scoring and on the first possession, Great Britain really resembles the Dallas Mavericks — wooden statues of the Dallas Mavericks — as Rudy Fernandez runs rings ’round ’em.
6.34: Question from Lithuanian journalist next to me: Which will be the bigger blowout, Spain-Britain or Serbia-Israel? Right now, it’s Spain up 4-2 and … what?!?!? Israel *up* 7-1? Wow, moral victory there.
6.30: The only ones who can beat Spain are Spain? Maybe so — they’re 2-of-8 on shooting early.
5.38: Rudy Fernandez with the reverse layup after a sweet block of Luol Deng by Marc Gasol. Heating up? It’s Spain, 9-2. (And Israel now up 11-10. So much for *that* upset.)
4.38: Fernandez slams it home on the fast break … would you believe Rudy leads all scorers with 7? That’s with the score 11-2…
4.14: Luol Deng hits the three, again having to do so much for Team Britain. No one misses Ben Gordon more…
2.54: They’ve even got Deng taking the ball out. Spain up, 13-7.
2.13: Few enough people are in attendance that all can easily hear the three dozen British fans counting down the shot clock, “Five … four … three,” and let BiE tell ya, they’re counting it down on nearly every Britain possession. 15-7 to Spain.
1.31: Deng with a FT. He’s got four points and four boards with the score 15-8.
0.05: Rubio does a nice job killing some clock, drives the lane, draws a triple team, dishes to Pau for the easy two. 19-14 to Spain.
0.02: Deng with another two on FTs. Now six and four for him on just 1-of-3 shooting as Spain focuses on this one-man team.
Second quarter. Pau and Fernandez accounted for 15 of Spain’s 19 first-quarter points. Deng and Daniel Clark accounted for 11 of Britain’s 16.
Elsewhere, Israel is still up on Serbia in the second quarter, 27-25. Now that would be a massive upset, but BiE’s not believing again … meanwhile, Britain is down just 19-18. Whoa.
8.35: Rubio with the nice steal, but can’t convert. Clark just put Britain up, 21-19. Crazy.
6.52: Marc hits the side of the backboard on a shot from the baseline. Spain is c-c-c-cold, just 9-of-24 now. Tie game at 21. Sorry, now 9-of-25 after another Marc miss — at least he draws the foul off Deng.
6.13: Now that’s Spanish basketball. The breakaway and Navarro tees off for a three. Spain up, 26-21.
5.16: One thing Spain does well in this tournament: draw fouls. Kyle Johnson hits Marc, Marc makes both FTs, Joel Freeland in the game for Britaiin. 28-23, Spain. O, and Serbia’s brief lead has been given up again. 36-31 over there.
4.26: Random thought — one of the best adverts for Lithuania (even beyond the awesome basketball fanaticism) has got to be the “dancers,” i.e. cheerleaders for this tourney. Red-blooded males, hear BiE: Lithuanian women are *fine*. And residing in Hungary, BiE can say that with some expertise.
2.54: Deng bricks a three, and Britain’s serious lack of depth is once again on display. Only four players have scored, and high scorers Deng (11) and Clark (10) are a combined 6-of-15 from the floor; with Britain managing just offensive boards, well, what can they do?
1.03: It really shouldn’t even be this close, with Spain shooting just 37% (13-of-35) … 34-30 to Spain.
0.27: Freeland and Clark with consecutive blocks, but Britain blows the opportunity with a sloppy turnover. Fernandez dunks. 38-32, Spain.
0.00: Britain’s playing decent ball, all things considered, though Spain’s 14-of-39 shooting certainly helps. Spain up, 38-32.
BiE almost wishes he were in Siauliai: Israel’s up at half over Serbia, 41-35, though to be fair, coach Dusko is rotating nearly every player on the roster into the game, perhaps assuming Israel won’t advance and figuring a loss there would be irrelevant…
Third quarter. 9.32: Spain still looking a bit haggard, Fernandez boots the ball, then fouls. Britain hits a two to make it 40-34.
9.01: Of course, Spain can always go to one of the Gasols … Marc for a two in the lane. 42-34.
8.37: Wow, Clark with a nice 15-footer at the 24-second buzzer. 42-36 to Spain.
7.40: Again, Marc, then Pau for the reverse layup. 46-36.
6.42: Marc to Pau … damn, that’s unstoppable in the paint. Especially for the likes of Britain. It’ll be interesting to see what Turkey’s huge dudes have to say about that. 50-36 and Spain may be opening it up.
4.47: NICE REJECTION of Pau at the rim by Deng — suddenly, the 40 British fans sound like 400.
4.28: And Pau RETURNS THE FAVOR, sending Freeland to the floor with the force of his stuff in the paint.
3.33: You’re just not gonna stop Pau’s seven-footer on the baseline. Spain up, 54-38, and the cries of “MVP! MVP! MVP!” go up.
3.30: Deng puts in points 13 and 14. 54-40 to Spain.
1.25: Navarro is having one of his freezing games, missing two on one possession to bring him to 1-of-11 shooting in this game. Good thing for Spain it hardly matters; they’re up 58-42.
0.05: Rubio finally produces something YouTube-worthy with the jumping pass to Ibaka who places it in from two feet. 60-42 for Spain’s biggest lead of the game.
0.00: Kyle Johnson with the far-off three at the buzzer for his first points of the tournament. At the end of three, it’s 60-45. Even one of those patented British comebacks won’t be enough here, one fears. The Brits seem destined to remain oh-for-tournament play…
Fourth quarter. 9.16: Can they make it respectable? Clark with the tip-in in the lane. 62-48 to Spain.
8.11: More of the same, with Gasol getting the two-footer and one. 67-48, Spain.
6.28: Nice follow for Ibaka after the Rubio miss. Now 71-50 to Spain, and all appears to be over except for the proverbial crying…
5.24: Even the British fans are disconsolate; Marc completes his double-double with a 10th and 11th rebound.
4.08: You know it’s over when Sergio Llull is hitting wide-open threes from the corner. Spain up, 75-53.
3.03: Victor Sada, a.k.a. Spain’s human victory cigar, is in. ‘Nuff said (blogged?).
2.05: Every player except Sada has scored for Spain now, in fact.
0.51: Final question: What the hell is Marc Gasol still doing in this game?
0.00: And there’s your result: Spain, 86-69, and predictably now 3-0 in the group. We’ll be back in a bit for Poland vs. Portugal…