The good news for the Spanish national team is that they won’t have to contend with the gold medal favorites unless they make it to the gold medal game itself. By losing an 88-82 heartbreaker to Brazil the Spaniards assured themselves of a route to the final game that won’t cross paths with the United States.
The bad news is that Spain has dropped two in a row and has yet to look anything like a team poised to push Team USA should a gold medal rematch be in the cards.
You can seemingly set your watch to a Spanish meltdown in London. In their last three contests the Spaniards have blown 4th quarter leads and today was no different.
Potential Lakers target Leandro Barbosa lit it up dropping 20 of his 23 points in the second half including a clutch 10 points in the final frame. That would be more than enough to help Brazil erase the 10-point deficit they faced entering the final quarter.
While some are already questioning Spain’s effort or perceived lack thereof both Pau and Marc Gasol put in work for their country. The brothers Gasol combined for 45 points on 16 of 21 shooting. Mix in a healthy 14 from Serge Ibaka off the bench and you should have had enough to beat Brazil.
Too bad for the aforementioned members of the Spanish team but they were the only ones that put in a full day’s work. No one else cracked double figures and no one else shot over 50% for Spain.
Overall it was a flat effort that has Pau worried about what’s coming next as the knockout rounds begin.
“The way we’re playing right now, anybody could beat us.”
Both Brazil and Spain will advance however so not all is lost for the Spanish medal hopes. Brazil enters a South American derby with Argentina next while Spain gets a date with France in the quarterfinals.
With the way things are going it seems unlikely that we’ll see the U.S. vs. Spain game we all had penciled in. Then again, we could just be seeing an experienced team that is bored with the group stage play. Spain just might flip the switch now that it’s single elimination time. Let’s face, they’ve got no other choice at the moment.