I’ll admit. I’m as guilt as the next of penciling in the U.S. vs. Spain gold medal final in the 2012 Olympic games. Now that possibility is still very much alive. However after today there has got to be some real doubt as to whether or not the Spanish national team will be able to climb that mountain.
In their Olympic opener the Spaniards looked a little shaky out of the gate before overpowering China. Then today’s contest against the host nation Great Britain turned into a real nail bitter.
Spain had to hang on for dear life as Luol Deng of Chicago Bulls fame nearly completed an epic comeback for the Brits. As if Deng’s sick line of 25, 9 and 8 weren’t enough to move even the stiffest of British upper lips his clutch shooting and playmaking late nearly stole the show.
Great Britain entered the fourth quarter trailing by 12. They’d go on to outscore Spain by 11 in the final frame as Deng dropped 4 dimes and scored 13 points including a three at the end that brought the hosts to within one point.
Unfortunately for Deng and his team it was too little too late as they came up just short in a 79-78 defeat.
Jose Calderon led the way for Spain scoring 19, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter. Calderon’s clutch free throw shooting proved crucial for Spain. He sank a perfect six of six down the stretch to help preserve the victory.
Pau Gasol dropped 17 on the evening but shot a poor 6 of 14 from the floor. Marc Gasol joined his brother and Calderon as the only Spaniards to drop double figures.
No matter how they attained the W a win is a win and for Spain. They’re perfect in Olympic play thus far with a big game against Russia looming on Saturday. That one will go a long way in determining who takes Group B.