With Team Spain’s ticket to the Knockout Round of 16 already officially punched, they honestly have nothing to play for at this stage. Honestly, the same was true at this time yesterday. Team Spain’s 82-63 victory over Team Brazil, coupled with losses by both Team Iran and Team Egypt made sure of that.
Team France on the other hand, can’t claim the same, even at the end of today’s FIBA games. Team France wouldn’t have required a victory to clinch their spot if Team Egypt would have pulled off a victory over Team Iran earlier today. Unfortunately for Team France, Team Iran claimed an 88-73 victory over Egypt to keep their very slim hopes of reaching the Knockout Rounds alive.
Plus, since Serbia beat Iran 83-70 the day before yesterday, they’ve clinched the 3rd spot due to tiebreaker advantages. Now, the final open spot for the Knockout Rounds in Group A has essentially turned tomorrow’s contest between Team France and Team Iran into a true elimination game.
Team France could have controlled their own fate with a victory over Team Spain. The problem there is that victories over Team Spain are pretty hard to come by these days. Just ask their previous 3 FIBA opponents, of whom Team Spain has beaten by a combined score of 263-175.
While Serge Ibaka didn’t get game MVP, he still had one hell of a showing with 10 points off of 5-for-7 (71.4%) shooting. His 8 rebounds (4 off, 4 def) led Team Spain, and his 2 blocks were good for a share of the stat lead with Pau Gasol.
The Gasols have completely taken over Granada, as today was Marc Gasol’s turn to be MVP. He finished with 17 points (as the stat leader), 6 defensive rebounds, 3 steals (which also led Team Spain), 2 assists, and a block. Ricky Rubio led Team Spain in assists for the 4th straight game with 5. That puts his assist total at 23 over a 4-game span.
Tomorrow, Team Spain will close out the opening round against a Team Serbia that has already clinched its spot in the Knockout Round of 16. Therefore, expect that game to resemble the NBA All-Star Game in the fact that both teams will probably view it as nothing more than a glorified exhibition game. It will tip-off at the same 3pm time as the other Team Spain games. Check your local listings for TV availability.