Spain continued its preparations for the 2015 European Championships by gunning down Macedonia 88-54 in a good display. With just ten days until the big opening tip off, Spain is looking in solid form and eased to victory at home in Logrono despite being understrength. The Spaniard lost three key players early in the week and the big question mark heading to EuroBasket 2015 is not how well Spain is playing, but whether it can get its strongest roster on the court.
Captain Felipe Reyes and losing both Pau Ribas and Victor Claver all picked up injuries in the build up to this friendly encounter. Reyes was sidelines before the game with a pull in his thigh, while Ribas got hurt after two minutes of the game and watched from the bench after. Claver also limped out of the contest, but managed to last eight minutes before hitting the showers.
The Spanish medical team says all players will sit out a few days, but are not doubts for the big tournament next week. However, plenty of times a slight knock turns into something more substantial, so the Spain fans will undoubtedly be sweating on the trio until the make the hardwood at EuroBasket 2015.
The hosts felt out Macedonia early on and remained tight through five minutes, before opening up with a 14-4 run that closed the first period with a score of 27-15. The guests were already struggling as Spain continued its ascendancy with an 18-10 streak in the second act that made it a twenty point game through halftime (45-25). The home team cruised in the third frame and controlled the pace of play on the hardwood, extending to a 64-41 advantage after thirty minutes. After the final split Spain rammed home its dominance with a quality fourth quarter display that brought victory at a canter.
Pau Gasol will certainly be huge for the Spanish at EuroBasket and here he had a double-double of 26 points and 16 boards. Fernando San Emeterio followed with 15 points in the win, and Nikola Mirotic added 14 points.
Head coach Sergio Scariolo stressed the importance of Chicago Bulls forward Gasol after the win:
“Pau is progressing as it was planned, he passed from playing only a few minutes to much more in the last friendlies because we cannot afford to force things.
“He is so enormously important that we have to strike a balance between getting the maximum out of his talent without burning him out, so that he arrives in his best form at the big moments.”