Sunday, September 09, 2007

Spain's Talent Wears Down Russia

Spain 81, Russia 69

- Spain just had too much firepower for Russia to overcome. Too many options on offense, and too much overall balance for the defensive-centric Russians to match. Spain shot 50% overall & drilled 12 3pts out of 33 attempts, and did damage in the half-court & in transition. Russia just does not have the offensive talent to keep up with Spain, a team that can bring it at both ends of the floor. Right now the Euro '07 finals are looks like a collision course between the two most balanced teams, Lithuania & Spain.

- Jose Calderon was bubbling hot today with a huge game of 17 pts & 4 assts on 7/11 (3/6 3pts). The sometime spotty shooter had the jumper working either from long-range or drilling pull-ups--Jose scored Spain's first 7 pts in the 3rd off two pull-ups & a 3pt. Jose also did a nice job pushing the ball in transition today, taking the Spanish offense to another level.

- Juan Navarro shook off some of the rust in his second game back by looking like the "La Bomba" of old with three 3pts. bombs, one of patented running floaters, and a sweet little turnaround jumper for good measure. Garbajosa joined in the long-bomb festivities with three of his own for 11 pts & 2 stls.

- Pau sort of let his other capable teammates do all the heavy lifting on the offensive end & just filled in the holes around them. Even on cruise control, Pau managed 13 pts, 9 rebs 2 blks and once again was a defensive deterrent on backline of the zone. Also finished off a few alley-oops again, which seems to have become a staple of the Spanish attack. Felipe Reyes did a nice job working the low block area again for 11 on 5/7 & 3 off rebs.

- Russia actually started off the game shooting the ball surprisingly well going 5/7 from 3pt. land in the 1st quarter--Viktor Khyrapa drilled three long-balls of his own. Khyrapa & Co. kept Russia in the game while Kirilenko had to exit the game 2 mins in after picking up 2 early fouls. But Russia eventually came back down to reality and shot 4/23 for the next 3 quarters. The Spanish zone eventually stymied the Russian attack which was no surprise due to Russia's lack of natural shooters.

- Kirilenko was one of the few Russians who was a consistent threat on offense the entire game, and was able to have his jumper working today--AK47 had 21 pts on 6/8 from the floor. Back-up center Nikita Morganov gave the Russians a nice lift off the pine with a varied game on offense with 13 pts on 6/9. Khyrapa started off the game red hot drilling three 3pts in the first quarter, but sort of disappeared for the rest of the game on offense. Though, Khyrapa added another solid all-around performance with 14 pts, 11 rebs & solid defense, but did commit 5 TOs.