Olympic Basketball 2012: Spain vs. Russia Semifinal Game Grades

Spain trailed 31-20 at halftime of their semifinal game vs. Russia then really turned it on in the second half to come back and win 67-59.

It was a very ugly game in the first half especially by Spain as they shot very poorly from the outside and Russia was matching their physicality inside.

Spain got their act together in the second half, hitting some threes early in the third quarter and that really seemed to get the rest of their game going as well. Russia doesn’t have a prolific offense and once Spain took the lead couldn’t find enough to come back.

Spain advances to the gold medal game for the second straight Olympics and will await the winner of USA-Argentina who play later today.

Here are grades for both teams’ players:

Spain players

Pau Gasol – 34 minutes, 16 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks – A

Pau was quiet in the first half with the rest of Spain but made some big plays in the second including a 3-pointer. He didn’t seem to ever establish position well enough in the post but still led Spain in scoring.

Marc Gasol – 29 minutes, 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks – B+

The offense went through Marc in the fourth quarter and he delivered, scoring some and always looking to make other things happen too with the pass. He and his brother didn’t hookup as much with their great interior passing in this game but they came up big when they needed to and grinded out the victory.

Rudy Fernandez – 29 minutes, 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists – B

Fernandez didn’t have much going in this game besides the three 3-pointers he hit. With the score so low, all of them were big though and really got Spain going. He eventually fouled out and didn’t make some of the spectacular plays he’s sometimes capable of.

Jose Calderon – 33 minutes, 14 points, 3 assists – B+

Calderon had some bad turnovers late but the game was pretty much in hand by that point. He made four threes for the game and a few really big ones during Spain’s run. The Russia defense was good so the assist total was low but he definitely played big down the stretch for Spain.

Juan Carlos Navarro – 20 minutes, 4 points, 3 assists – C

Navarro is described as a player that plays big in big games but that was not the case today. Russia kept him in tact pretty easily and he only attempted one three in the game which he missed. He had a few nice assists but doesn’t have the explosiveness he used to, to create much else.

Serge Ibaka – 7 minutes, 2 points, 2 rebounds – C+

Ibaka barely played in this one and didn’t at all in the second half as Spain went with Felipe Reyes as a sub for the Gasol brothers instead of Ibaka. His basket in the first half was a nice one finishing with a foul on the fast break but his overall impact was pretty minimal. He played with a lot of energy and it’s a little curious why he doesn’t play more. Expect to see a little more of him if Spain sees the U.S. in the gold medal game.

Sergio Llull – 21 minutes, 7 points, 4 rebounds – B+

Llull has been great for Spain in the medal round so far. He plays with so much energy and is always looking to make things happen. Spain needed the lift he provided today especially and he made all three of his shots. He’s an underrated piece for this Spain team.

Russia players

Andrei Kirilenko – 34 minutes, 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks – B-

Kirilenko was just 2-for-12 from the field but does so many other things too it wasn’t the worst thing in the world for Russia. They did need him to step up as Spain was coming back and he struggled to do so. He also missed a few key free throws late which could have given Russia a chance to come back in the final moments. He had a great Olympics leading Russia to a pretty impressive record but this was not his best game.

Alexey Shved – 26 minutes, 2 points, 7 assists – C+

Shved also really struggled from the field shooting 1-for-6 and 0-for-4 from deep. His jump shot has been off all Olympics but he has made up for it some with his playmaking. He did a nice job with seven assists but like Kirilenko, was needed to put the ball in the hoop more and came up short for his country.

Alexandre Kaun – 24 minutes, 14 points, 5 rebounds – A

Kaun played big time for Russia in this one holding his own with the Gasol brothers and leading Russia in scoring. He was very good rolling to the rim and within Russia’s offense and thanks to their good playmakers, he was found often finishing with dunks.

Viktor Khryapa – 34 minutes, 2 points, 4 assists, 6 rebounds – C

Khryapa was cold shooting today as well at just 1-for-6 and 0-for-4 on threes. He made some good plays as a playmaker at the top of the key like he usually does with the four assists but Russia needed a better shooting performance overall and from him in this one to win.

Timofey Mozgov – 14 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds – C

It’s interesting that Mozgov doesn’t start or play more for this team. He had been pretty good in the Olympics so far but was mostly a no show in this one. Russia went with the stretch fours and Kaun at center rather than trying to go bigger with Mozgov.

Anton Ponkrashov – 29 minutes, 10 points, 2 assists – B+

Ponkrashov stepped up his game vs. Spain much like he did in their first meeting. His scoring was huge with not much else working for Russia but like the rest of the team, he cooled off as Spain ran away with the game in the second half.

Sergey Monya – 25 minutes, 9 points, 2 steals – B+

When Monya was hitting threes in the first half Russia was looking like they were going to win. But they couldn’t sustain it for the entire game.

Vitaly Fridzon – 12 minutes, 8 points, 1 steal – C+

Fridzon lit up Spain for 24 points in their first meeting but was much less of a factor in this one. He was still fine in the little time he played making 2-of-3 threes. Russia went with more defense and Shved over Fridzon for most of this game.

Tags: 2012 Olympics Alexey Shved Andrei Kirilenko Gold Medal Game Jose Calderon Marc Gasol Pau Gasol Rudy Fernandez Russia Serge Ibaka Spain

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