Spain finished its Olympic preparation with good feelings despite the clear defeat to the United States by 83-76, which in the second half of the last friendly before the start of the basketball tournament in Tokyo 2020 drew on individual talent to defeat Sergio Scariolo’s team.
The national team had a solid first half in Las Vegas and took advantage of the doubts of his hosts, who they stretched after 36-38 at halftime with a festival of triples and counterattacks led by Keldon Johnson, author of 15 points in his first staging with Team USA.
Ricky Rubio, the MVP of Spain in this friendly tour prior to the Olympic Games, finished with 23 points, 3 rebounds, an assist and a steal in 23 minutes of play. Masnou’s point guard, in excellent shape, was the top scorer of the match.
Spain came out in Las Vegas with clear ideas and finished the first quarter ahead with a partial of 14-18 based on the execution of Ricky and the hunger of the two generations in Scariolo’s painting. Usman Garuba, with 4 points, 7 rebounds and an assist in 11 minutes of play, he once again demonstrated that the golden generation relay is in good hands and is progressing.
Pau Gasol, in his first game in the United States in more than two years, started with enthusiasm and ended something deep in the physical with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 17 minutes of game. The center of Sant Boi, at 41, once again stepped on an American flag and felt the breath of the NBA stars up close, something I haven’t done since March 10, 2019, date of his last game with the Milwaukee Bucks jersey.
in the stars of the next champions of the American league, the team of Gregg Popovich, Pau’s former coach in San Antonio, made his most serious meeting of his tumultuous preparation, hit by an outbreak of covid-19 that has left Bradley Beal out and by the dispute of the NBA Finals in parallel.
Without Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, the Americans proved once again that their overflowing talent is capable of surpassing almost any rival. Once they tightened the nuts somewhat in defense, Spain’s losses multiplied (20 in total) and facilitated a series of devastating cons from the Americans.
Zach LaVineWith 13 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists, he was the protagonist in the second half alongside Johnson, one of the last minute substitutes for Popovich’s team. The other, Javale mcgee, did not play a single minute of play. In addition to the good play of LaVine and Johnson in the second half, the Americans relied on their most experienced players: Kevin Durant (14) and Damian Lillard (19).
Spain kept the melee in the first half thanks to the old guard of the golden generation. Together with Ricky and Pau, Rudy fernandez (6 points and 4 rebounds) also had good minutes in the second quarter, while Marc Gasol set the pace on defense and finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and a block in the game.
After the break, the US team began to connect their individualities and with a 17-4 partial in six minutes turned the tortilla to the marker. The match entered the fourth quarter with a 57-50 score that the Americans soon expanded to double digits. In those minutes, the pride of Scariolo’s team was kept afloat by the exterior success of the ‘Chacho’ Rodriguez (9 points and 3 of 6 in triples) and the interior presence of Willy Hernangómez, author of 11 points and 3 rebounds with fresh legs.
In defense, yes, Spain could not find an answer to the external success of an opponent who will probably base his assault on the fourth consecutive Olympic gold in his ability to channel opponents from the line of three.
After the scares against Nigeria and Australia, the Americans clearly put another march on last night as they found themselves squeezed by the national team.
In Las Vegas, despite their good first half, the Spanish could not achieve a triumph against the Americans that has resisted him since 2002, when Navarro, Pau and company beat the Americans in the game for fifth place at the Indianapolis World Cup.
As the players and the coach repeated over and over again in the previous one, the important thing was to measure yourself and braid a good match, something that Scariolo’s pupils did achieve last night.
The last friendly that Spain won against the United States was in 1993 in Castellón, with Jordi Villacampa as the protagonist against a team led by Jason Kidd, new coach of the Dallas Mavericks.
With the new defeat against the Americans, the team travels to Tokyo with a positive balance of four wins and one loss in his set-up for the Olympics.
Now the host Japan awaits you, next July 26 at 2:00 p.m., at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo in an Olympic tournament with little margin for error for all participants.