Friday, August 21, 2009

EuroBasket 2009: Spain Rolls, France Gets Ready

There's a ton basketball going on over in Europe right now as teams prepare for EuroBasket 2009. It couldn't come at a better time, as news about the NBA has ground to a halt.

But there is something I don't quite understand about EuroBasket, or specifically, the friendlies that lead up to the start of the tournament. It seems strange to me that teams who are preparing to face off in the preliminary rounds of the tournament would play against each other just weeks before the start of group play, but that's exactly what they're doing. For instance, Rudy Fernandez, Victor Claver and the rest of Team Spain are participating in a series of tuneup games in Seville against the three other teams in their EuroBasket group. I guess there's not much competitive advantage if everyone is playing everyone else, but for a team like Spain, the odds on favorite to win gold, it seems like an unnecessary risk. It would be like playing a few practice games against the Rockets prior to the start of last year's playoffs.

But from the looks of the results, the Spaniards are getting by just fine. Yesterday they beat Slovenia, a team boasting the likes of Sasha Vujacic, Beno Udrih, Bostjan Nachbar, Goran Dragic and Primoz Brezec, 89-71 in Seville. Neither Fernandez (eight points, five rebounds) nor Claver (seven points, six rebounds) lit up the gym, but I imagine Sergio Scariolo, head coach for the Spaniards, is taking it easy at this point.

Spain plays Linus Kleiza and the rest of the Lithuanians today before taking a week off.

In other EuroBasket news, France, featuring Nic Batum, will face Belgium in a best of three two playoff to decide who will get the final spot in the tournament. Which ever team wins the playoff will be put into Group B with Russia, Germany and Latvia.


Luis Muñiz said...


Spain just schooled Lithuania by beating them by 26 points, 100-74. The maximum difference was of 33 points just before garbage time. They look impressive, without Pau Gasol and their starting small forward, Mumbrú.

Claver had some good stretches in the game, Rudy not so much.

KDN said...

France will face Belgium in a best of 2 playoffs. Not 3.

Casey Holdahl said...

Thanks KDN. I noticed only two games were scheduled, but thought they played best of 3. They must go by point differential if they split the 2 games?

SabonisFan3386 said...

Vive la France! Vive la Liberté! Vive Nicolas!