EuroBasket 2015, Spain clinches gold

EuroBasket 2015Fuelled by Pau Gasol, Spain conquered the gold medal at EuroBasket 2015 with a cruising 80-63 win over Lithuania in the final of the competition. It was Spain’s third ever title and victory at EuroBasket 2015 saw the nation join Lithuania on three titles, both nations tied as the third winningest the history of the competition.

Hosts and 2013 champions France may not have been in the final game at Lille’s Pierre Mauroy stadium, but fans still turned out in droves. Indeed, a record 27,372 Basketball aficionados packed the arena to watch Spain cement its recent dominance on this tournament. France’s win in 2013 broke a Spanish streak, but nevertheless the country has now won three of the last four EuroBasket editions and is presiding over a glorious era.

Spain vs. Lithuania, 80-63
We’ll get to Pau Gasol later, but needless to say he was the catalyst for Spain’s victory, as he was in 2011 and 2009, although at EuroBasket 2015 it is really hard to see how Spain could have won without their talisman.

Although, against Lithuania here the Spanish looked in control throughout and indeed took the lead one minute into the game and then never looked back. Gasol dunked to open a 15-4 lead in the first quarter and then Spain moved to an 18-9 lead through the first split. The lead had soon been opened to 16 points in the second frame, but Lithuania hit back to win the stanza 22-25. However, through the long break the score was still tipped in Spain’s favour, the board reading 40-34.

Lithuania was within touching distance, but Spain used an 11-2 run to fuel a 19-10 winning margin in the third act, enough to give Spain a commanding 59-44 lead through thirty minutes. There was no way back for Lithuania as Spain cruised through the fourth frame, tying 20-20 to claim the win that gave them the gold medal.

Spain crushed Lithuania in defence, stopping their opponents from the deck, where Lithuania only hit 35% from the field and 42% in the paint.

Gasol had another huge game on the international stage as he passed Nikos Galis to be the third highest scorer in EuroBasket history. It’s not only through the nets that Gasol provides for Spain, as he also doubled up again here with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Sergio Llull notched 12 points, while Rudy Fernandez added 11 points.

Renaldas Seibutis topped Lithuania with 13 points, followed by Mantas Kalnietis with 13 points.

“We have done it again and we have to be proud because this is the tournament where we suffered the most, this time we did not arrive as favourites. It has a special taste because in the quarter-finals we beat a great team like Greece that was undefeated, in the semis we beat France which was also unbeaten, in their home, and in the final we beat a basketball nation like Lithuania” – Sergio Llull.

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