The Spanish basketball team, winners of the last two Olympic Silver Medals, began these games at 0-2 with losses by two pints to Croatia and one point to Brazil. Down 0-2 with three tough games left, many left the Spaniards for dead. But their death was premature.
Spain got into the win column over Nigeria in a game they still looked less than impressive. Nigeria was also winless and Spain led them by only two at the half before going on to win 96-87. With unbeaten Lithuania and once beaten Argentina left on the schedule, not many thought Spain could advance to the quarterfinals.
But Pau Gasol and Nikola Miritic showed why they are NBA stars and why many thiught Spain would be a medal winner before these games began. Gasol scored 23 points, grabbed five rebounds and added five assists and two steals while Miritic added 17 points and three rebounds, helping Spain cruise out to a 26-1 lead after one quarter and never looking back in a 50 point runaway, 109-59.
With this win, Spain is now 2-2 and can qualify for the Knockout Round with a win over Argentina tonight. Argentina. led by NBA stars Manu Ginobli and Luis Scola, is coming off a very tough and emotional double overtime win over Brazil on Saturday. They are trying to win Group B with a win over Spain tonight, but they may come out a bit flat.
Whomever makes it in to the Knockout Stage has to like their Gold Medal chances because the overwhelming favorites, the United States, has had three very close games in a row in Group A play. On Sunday, they won over France, who played without Tony Parker, 100-97. There is likely very little fear of Team USE at this point.
The quarterfinals begin on Wednesday and if Spain is part of them, they will be a tough out if they continue to play like they did against Lithuania. They held two NBA players in Valenciunas and Sabonis to a combined five points in the game.
Lithuania has a big game left vs Croatia that will be huge in deciding which team wins Group B and which teams will be on the USA side of the bracket. so those two games will be ones to watch.