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Spain Repeats as EuroBasket Champions

Posted: 09/20/11 03:01 PM ET

Spain successfully defended their EuroBasket title with a powerful 98-85 victory over France in the Final in Kaunas, Lithuania. Juan Carlos Navarro led five Spanish players in double-figures with 27 points.

Spain won as a result of the support they were able to provide Navarro both in the final game as well as throughout the tournament. Pau and Marc Gasol successfully battled Joakim Noah inside, Juan Calderon had an excellent final game at the point and Rudy Fernandez played 36 solid all-around minutes. They were able to offset Tony Parker's 26 points which led France. Parker, the leading scorer of the event, had a solid game but it wasn't his best. He shot only 9-for-20 from the field and committed five turnovers.

Calderon, with help at point from Sergio Llull and Ricky Rubio, scored 17 points on 8-for-12 from the field with four steals and only one turnover. Pau Gasol scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while brother Marc added 11 points and six rebounds. Fernandez scored 14 points with no turnovers. One of the key statistics was Spain's control of the ball as they committed only eight turnovers to 15 for France. Boris Diaw (12), Noah (11) and Nikolas Batum (10) joined Parker in double-figures for France but Spain was the deeper, better-skilled team both against France in the final and throughout the tournament. Noah and Batum battled foul trouble which limited their effectiveness especially on defense.

The final game was never in doubt as Spain went out to a 25-20 lead after the first quarter, led 50-41 at the half and 75-62 after three quarters. France did make a move in the third quarter but were stopped after Navarro canned back-to-back three-pointers. Serge Ibaka only scored four points for Spain but came up with a stunning five blocked shots in a five minute spell at the start of the second quarter. Rubio, headed to Minnesota whenever the NBA lockout ends, played as the third point guard for Spain. He didn't score in seven minutes of action in the Final, and averaged only 1.5 points and 2.1 assists in the tournament.

Russia denied F.Y.R. of Macedonia a historic first medal as they edged the surprise team of the event 72-68 to capture the bronze medal. Andrei Kirilenko had an excellent tournament as he capped his performance with a solid 18 points and seven rebounds to lead Russia. Bo McCalebb of Macedonia played as well as anyone throughout the event. The 6'0" point guard by way of the University of New Orleans who is the starter for Italian league champion Montepaschi Siena scored 22 points to go along with four steals and three assists.

These teams met in Round 2 with Russia winning on a last second miracle shot by Sergey Monya. However in this game F.Y.R. of Macedonia blew their chance at the end of the game. The game was tied at 68 when Russia's Sergey Bykov made a nice move to score with 15 seconds left to give Russia a two-point lead. With seven seconds left Macedonia's Damjan Stojanovski found himself alone underneath the basket and completely missed the basket on a wide open layup that would have tied the game. Russia closed with game out at the free throw line as Aleksey Shved made his two shots. Even with their loss Macedonia and their star Bo McCalebb were the talk of the event.

Hometown favorite Lithuania topped Grecce 73-69 in front of a packed Kauno Arena to take fifth place. Martynas Pocius made three triples on his way to 13 points, Darius Songaila added 12 points and captain Robertas Javtokas contributed a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Nick Calathes led Greece with 16 points. The key of the game was Lithuania's 47-29 rebounding edge, including a 20-8 margin on the offensive glass.

In the quarterfinal matchups, Spain easily topped Slovenia 86-64 behind Navarro's 26 points, F.Y.R. of Mecedonioa edged Lithuania 67-65 as McCalebb scored 23 points, Parker led France over Greece 64-56 with 18 points and Kirilenko has an excellent all-around game with 14 points, 11 rebounds and six assists as Russia got past Serbia 77-67.

In the semifinals Spain topped a game F.Y.R. of Macedonia team 92-80 behind Navarro's 35 points. McCalebb kept Mecedonia in the game with 25 points, five assists and only one turnover. Navarro canned 5-of-9 three-pointers and was unstoppable throughout the contest. He was helped by an outstanding performance from Pau Gasol who contributed 22 points and 17 rebounds. Pau's brother Marc helped inside with 11 points and 10 rebounds while Ibaka made the most of his 17 minutes as he scored 11 points. 6'11 Pero Antic had a solid tournament (11.6, 8.5) and added 17 points and nine rebounds for Macedonia.

In the other semifinal France outlasted Russia 79-71 behind Parker's 22 points and Noah's eight rebounds. Batum added 19 for France on 6-for-8 shooting including 3-of-5 on three-pointers. France shot over 50% from the field, including 7-of-12 three-pointers and out-rebounded Russia 35-21.

Juan Carlos Navarro was named EuroBasket 2011 MVP in one of the standout performances of his career. Navarro scored 26 points in the quarterfinal against Slovenia, then exploded in the semifinal by torching F.Y.R of Macedonia with 35 points. The Spanish captain ended the event appropriately with his 27 points to lead Spain to the championship in the final.

All Tournament Team
Parker, France (22.1 ppg, 4.4 apg), McCalebb, F.Y.R. Of Macedonia (21.4, 3.7 apg), Navarro, Spain (18.7), Kirilenko, Russia (14.9, 6.1 rpg), Paul Gasol, Spain (20.1, 8.3)

Final Standings
1.Spain, 2. France, 3. Russia, 4. F.Y.R. of Macedonia, 5. Lithuania, 6. Greece, 7. Slovenia, 8. Serbia, 9. Germany and Finland, 11. Turkey and Georgia, 13. Croatia, Bulgaria, Great Britain and Israel, 17. Ukraine, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy, 21. Montenegro, Latvia, Belgium and Portugal.

Carl Berman is a Managing Partner of NetScouts Basketball. NetScouts Basketball can be followed on twitter here.

 

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