Up Next: Spain
Aug. 22, 2010 • Madrid, Spain
|Tip-Off:||9:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. EDT)|
|TV:||Live on NBATV|
|rebroadcast on ESPN2 @ 11:00 p.m. EDT|
Spain will be a formidable opponent for the United States, which cannot afford another shooting half like they had yesterday. Not only is Spain the defending FIBA World Championship gold medalists, this country’s national team fell to the USA in a tough battle in the ’08 gold medal game, and their fans haven't forgotten. Plus, they’re playing at home. The noise factor in tonight’s game will be turned up a notch from last night and will likely even reach 11 at the Magic Box, which will make it extremely difficult for the U.S. squad to hear each other.
On Friday night in Madrid Spain took Lithuania 94-75 in an exhibition contest, led by Marc Gasol’s 18 points. In contrast to the USA’s first-quarter scoring output against Lithuania of seven points, Spain put up 24 in the first quarter alone and had a 20-point lead heading into the final stanza. In addition to Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro and Felipe Reyes each pitched in 13 points in the win.
USA-Spain: The Series History
The USA-Spain exhibition on Aug. 22 will be the first matchup between the two powers since the 2008 Olympic gold medal game that has been described as one of the greatest international games ever played. The USA fought off a determined Spain squad 118-107 to earn gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Two years earlier, while the U.S. finished third at the 2006 FIBA World Championship after being stopped by Greece (101-95) in the semifinals, the Spaniards defeated Greece 70-47 in the gold medal game to claim the World Championship title.
Spain, currently ranked No. 3 in the world by FIBA, won the 2009 EuroBasket title after easily defeating Serbia 85-63 in the championship game, captured the silver medal in Beijing at the 2008 Olympic Games, placed runner-up after being nipped 60-59 by Russia in the 2007 EuroBasket championship game and won gold at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.
Since NBA players became eligible to participate in FIBA competitions, the USA has compiled a 5-1 win-loss record versus Spanish national teams in official FIBA competitions.
The only previous time a USA Basketball National Team comprised of NBA players met Spain in an exhibition game came in 2000 prior to the Sydney Olympic Games. The USA defeated Spain 95-66 in the opening game (9/5/2000) of the Super Dream Games 2000 in Saitama, Japan.
|Official FIBA competitions|
|2008 Olympics (Gold Medal Game)||8/24/08||USA||118||Spain||107|
|2008 Olympics (Second Round)||8/16/08||USA||119||Spain||82|
|2004 Olympics (Quarterfinals)||8/26/04||USA||102||Spain||94|
|2002 World Championship (5th/6th Place)||9/07/02||Spain||81||USA||76|
|1994 World Championship (First Round)||8/04/94||USA||115||Spain||100|
|1992 Olympics (Preliminary Round)||8/02/92||USA||122||Spain||81|
|Super Dream Games 2000||9/05/00||USA||95||Spain||66|
Spain: The Scouting Report
USA Basketball Men’s National Team Director of International Player Personnel, Tony Ronzone will be providing the opponent scouting report before each game.
Spain is the most experienced and talented team in the tournament, along with Greece. Some of these guys have played together since 1999, they played in the FIBA Junior World Championship in Portugal and won the gold medal. Four of those guys still play on this team. It’s a very experienced team with NBA players like Rudy Fernandez, they have a future NBA player in Ricky Rubio, Marc Gasol from Memphis, Calderon from Toronto. They’re a very experienced team, they play very well together, they’re very unselfish. They move the basketball. They’re very difficult to guard. They never get rattled, they always play with confidence and they always expect to win. Again, their experience is going to be a factor for us because we’re very limited in our international experience. We have to make sure in transition that we find the shooters, especially Navarro. He’s an international legend over here with the way he plays. He always plays in the big games. They run the floor and we have to find their shooters quickly. Transition defense is going to be very important and we have to make sure we find people. We can’t stand around on defense.
Spain: The Quote Sheet
In addition to USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski, several players were queried last night after the game about tonight's battle against Spain.
USA head coach Mike Kryzyzewski
Looking ahead to Spain, specifically can I ask about Rubio, he seemed to be more physically developed that when you saw him last in China?
I’m really impressed with Ricky’s physical development. He’s gotten stronger. He has an amazing feel for the game. He’s getting older, you can tell he’s worked hard. I watched him last night against Lithuania and was very impressed with him being able to be physical, him being able to set his team up. He’s an outstanding guard and he’s just going to keep getting better and better.
Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets)
Do you think Spain will be a hard game for you?
Absolutely. Any game for us is hard. We’re still trying to get adjusted. We have a lot of guys who have no experience internationally. Tomorrow is going to be another great challenge for us. We’re playing against a well-oiled machine and we’ll be looking forward to the challenge.
Do you think tomorrow will be physical with Marc Gasol?
Oh yeah, it’ll be physical, very physical. They’re accustomed to this, this is their game. Our game is different. So they’re just going to play how they usually play and we have to change our game plan to play like them. It’s going to take some adjustment time, but we’re all in. We’ll be ready to go.
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
Thoughts on playing Spain?
I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be big time, playing on their soil. We know their fans are going to be excited. We know their team is going to be excited playing in front of their home crowd. We couldn’t have scripted it any better for ourselves to go into the World Championship, into the tournament … having to play a tough team like Lithuania then Spain then Greece in Greece. Playing all these teams on their home soil is going to give us a different level of play from them and their energy than we’re going to face.
Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers)
Thoughts on playing Spain tomorrow?
It’s going to be another challenge. Hopefully, we’ll play a lot better in the first half.
Andre Igoudala (Philadelphia 76ers)
Looking forward to tomorrow’s game vs. Spain?
Very excited about tomorrow night. It should be fun.
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
Thoughts on playing Spain tomorrow?
I can’t wait. The atmosphere once again is going to be crazy and it’s something I will never forget.