Spain wins 2011 Eurobasket - Play by Play

This was the image from Spain and France's first meeting last September 11, 2011


Ever imagine how annoying is a vuvuzela in an inside stadium?

Welcome to the 2011 FIBA Eurobasket final.

Spain is taking on France in what is a NBA-packed floor. Playing for Spain are Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers and his brother Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors’ Jose Calderon, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka, Portland Trail Blazers’ Rudy Fernandez, and Minnesota Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio. Also in the squad are Real Madrid’s Sergio Llull and Felipe Reyes, Valencia’s Victor Claver, Caja Laboral’s Fernando San Emeterio, and FC Barcelona’s Victor Sada and one of fave Euro players Juan Carlos Navarro. Navarro was a one-time Memphis player. My other favorite player, Jorge Garbajosa is not on Spain’s lineup. France on the other hand comprises of the great Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Bobcats’ Boris Diaw, Washington Wizards’ Kevin Seraphim, Portland Trail Blazers’ Nicolas Batum, and the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah. Also joining the team are ex-NBA player Mickael Gelabale of ASVEL, Paris-Levallois’ Andrew Albicy, Le Mans Sarthe’s Charles Lombahe-Kahudi, BC Lokomotiv’s Ali Traore, ES Chalon-sur-Saone’s Steed Tchicamboud, and Valencia’s Nando De Colo and Florent Pietrus.


THE FIRST HALF:

In the first quarter, the match was even with both squads doing their best in making it hard for the other team to score. Spain depended on Jose Calderon to provide the scoring and Tony Parker provided the support for France. However when the match reached the second quarter, the momentum shifts towards the Spanish guys. Marc Gasol has been hitting his jumpers and Serge Ibaka has blocked four shots cleanly. Calderon then sneaks an alley oop to Pau Gasol to expand their lead to 10, 36 to 26.

Ibaka was the man of the moment for Spain because in six minutes, he has garnered four blocks. Nicolas Batum then answered the Spanish run with a two-handed jam but Ibaka then again blocks his fifth! Five blocks in eight minutes... who does that?! Calderon is also doing a magnificent job going at par against Tony Parker. Fernandez and Navarro have been helping with the boards but Spain can’t raise the lead because of their turnovers. Fernandez did a cool glide to raise the lead to 12 but...

Fernandez did a bad and dangerous foul on a cutting Parker. Rudy gets an unsportsmanlike foul and Diaw gets as well for getting to Fernandez’ face. After De Colo gets the free throws, Batum hits a three, steals the ball, and gets five straight points to cut the lead down from twelve to five that forces the Spanish coach to call for a timeout!

The halftime score is 50 to 41 with Pau Gasol scoring Spain’s last four points. Parker leads France at halftime with 14 while Navarro leads Spain with 13.


THE SECOND HALF:

Hey it’s Arvydas Sabonis! This guy is awesome! Hey it’s Rasho Nesterovic! Nice to see him!

Third quarter underway! The announcers just noted that for every Ibaka block, he gives back for UNICEF. That’s scary for France. Diaw nails an assist to a dunking Florent Pietrus. After a hang time layup by Rudy Fernandez, Pietrus and Pau Gasol got on a bit of quandary. Florent could have used brother and current Phoenix Sun Mickael Pietrus since Pau has his bro to back him up. Actually where’s Ronny Turiaf? Diaw, Parker, and Joakim Noah have been doing awesome work to chip a bit off the Spanish lead at 56 to 49. But then the lead explodes anew with a Pau assist en route to a dunking Marc to make it an 11-point lead, 60-49. At this point, there are four Spanish players in double figures.

At the midway point of the third, Noah swats Pau and then on the other side Gelabale hits a triple and Noah nails a jumper to cut the lead to six. But then Navarro plays party pooper to nail a triple and then hits a jumper to balloon the lead back to eleven, 65 to 54. A couple of plays later Navarro again hits the lead to make it a 13-point binge. Parker then and Gelabale formed a duo to get the lead back to nine. After a Sergio Llull basket, Parker drove the lane to deal Ricky Rubio his fourth foul. Pau Gasol deals Noah his third with seconds away from the end of the quarter. The quarter ends with Rudy Fernandez finding Victor Sada on the inside for a fantastic alley oop. The score stands with Spain scoring 75 while France has 62.


THE LAST QUARTER:

Ali Traore starts the scoring for France with a lay-in. Pau Gasol then takes his fourteenth point despite the outstretched arms of Kevin Seraphim. Then Victor Sada scores on a fast break to force France to call a timeout at 79 to 64. Noah nails a weak bump on Pau and it gives him his fourth foul. Traore gets group blocked by Ibaka and Pau which prompts a nice fast break pass to a streaking Rudy Fernandez for a dunk! After Parker hits a jumper, Pau Gasol nails a three to give Spain their biggest lead at 16.

At the halfpoint of the quarter, the French team looks dejected with Florent Pietrus fouling out. Batum incidentally gets his fourth foul almost in the middle of the court. Charles Kahudi then fouls Juan Carlos Navarro at the three point area and it just gave the Spaniard his 25th point. And then Diaw hits a trey but they failed to check Calderon who jams the ball to make it 89 to 75. After a Diaw miss on the other end, Noah fouls out while contesting a rebound. Parker drives the lane and he is the only scoring performer at France with 26 points. Seraphim tried to help Parker but Pau Gasol just swats it. This was the tenth block of Spain. A Navarro sideward-running shot pushes the lead to 92-77. Calderon extends it to 17 as most of Spain’s bench will enter the game. One of those benchies is Felipe Reyes who hits a trey!

Spain for the second time in the row, wins the Eurobasket!

The final score is 98 to 83.

So Spain wins the Eurobasket again. Frankly, Spain has been the dominant team in Europe but France is looming to be threats. This second place for the French is their highest finish ever in Eurobasket. This also gives France the chance to join Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Tunisia, and the United States at the 2012 London Olympics. The only missing piece is the qualifier in Asia... and the qualifiers who will contest for the remaining spots.

Congratulations to Spain!

Game over!

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