Scariolo’s team overcame a bad start and the absences to caress the match against one of the favorites with the nationalized point guard
Rarely does a defeat leave such a good taste in the mouth. Spain lost in Lithuania, yes, but they gave the feeling that they are a mentally strong team, very competitive. The team led by Sergio Scariolo was able to overcome the absences of Willy Hernangómez, Rudy Fernández and Sergio Llull and, despite a bad start, discuss victory until the last second against one of the favorites for the Eurobasket in their own hometown.
There was also the positive note of Lorenzo Brown’s best performance since his debut as a Spaniard. The base of American origin vindicated himself and showed part of what the coaching staff and the Federation board saw in him to do everything possible for him to join the Spanish team. He missed the last decisive triple, the one that would have meant the victory, but he scored (18 points) and directed (5 assists), especially in a fourth quarter comeback that almost turned the horrible start.
And it is that Lithuania had already warned in Las Palmas of its great power, especially in painting. Without Willy, Rudy or Llull, exempt from the trip to Vilnius even before starting the preparation, the company redoubled its difficulty. Garuba acted as the starting center under the circumstances, with the aim that the Houston Rockets player would roll, but the truth is that the Lithuanian start, supported by an enthusiastic public, was forceful. Intimidating even. Ten down (12-2) in a seen and not seen, with Giedraitis punishing mercilessly from beyond the line of three.
Grigonis (11), Jokubaitis (5), Giedraitis (12), Sabonis (7) and Valanciunas (16) -initial quintet-. Lekavicius (-), Masiulis (5), Zemaitis (2), Brazdeikis (16), Butkevicius (3), Echodas (1) and Tarolis (-).
Brown (18), López-Aróstegui (7), Juancho Hernangómez (8), Pradilla (2) and Garuba (2) -initial quintet-. Juan Núñez (2), Jaime Fernández (7), Brizuela (12), Parra (2), Sáiz (7), Sima (5) and Guerra (4).
25-17, 14-13, 17-23 and 22-23.
Maciulaitis, Urbanovic, and Simonavicius.
Friendly match in preparation for Eurobasket 2022 played at the Avia Solutions Group Arena in Vilnius.
When the gale from a distance subsided, Valanciunas took over under the board, as if trying to show that without Willy the Spanish team has no answer to such a dominant player inside. The thing already acquired dramatic overtones with the 19-4 and the Spanish team loaded with fouls until the bonus halfway through the first set, but at least luck was allied with Spain so that in a circus way a pass from Sima ended up becoming a triple.
In the style of what happened 48 hours before, Spain made arrests at its bad start to bite into its disadvantage until 25-17 with which the first quarter concluded. The return to the parquet floor of the men who started the game did not give Scariolo’s team the momentum to equalize the duel, with another local rush for 36-23 and much more offensive blockage. Thus, the Spanish team, with an absolutely choral score, returned to make the rubber to reach the break nine points down, an acceptable result after the initial hurricane deployed by the Baltic team.
This Spain may not have the talent of yesteryear, but if anything is being made clear by the most demanding preparation in memory, it is that they have plenty of mental strength to hold on to games in the most complicated circumstances. He was gaining sensations until the last quarter, the decisive one, and there he put fear in the body of a great team like Lithuania and its devoted fans. Brown sharpened the peephole and entered those combustions typical of American exteriors. Full-fledged gamer. His performance, which surely made Garbajosa, present in the stands, smile, only lacked the classic conclusion of a Yankee movie. The decisive triple did not enter, but Spain and Brown gained sensations before the real competition.
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