Posts Tagged ‘Juan Carlos Navarro’

U.S. Surges Past Spain Late, Claims Second Straight Olympic Gold Medal

LONDON – When it was all over, when the game was finished and the smiles had replaced looks of concern and after Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born in the USA” had served as the soundtrack for a crowd loving every minute of this billion-dollar collection of NBA stars wrapped up in American flags bowing for the audience, they locked arms, rose as one and stepped onto the medal stand to claim their prize.

The U.S. Men’s Senior National Team completed its gold medal mission Sunday, holding off a feisty Spain team 107-100 at North Greenwich Arena  in the Olympic final to claim a matching gold medal for the one they captured four years ago in Beijing. The difference between pure joy and relief, though, is hard to make out with the stars and stripes covering their faces.

“Anytime you’re going for a championship there is a sense of relief, especially when you win,” Deron Williams said. “It’s been a long five weeks for us. We’ve been on the road since July 5th and it’s good to know that you’ve finished what you started.”

They actually completed a mission that started eight years ago with a blueprint to resurrect a USA Basketball program that had fallen on hard times after coming up empty in quests for gold at the 2002 World Championship in Indianapolis and the 2004 Olympics in Athens.


Russia And Spain Into The Semifinals

LONDON – Russia and Spain will square off in one Olympic semifinal, both of them having survived in quarterfinal action North Greenwich Arena Wednesday.

Russia survived a late Lithuania rally and held on for an 83-74 win behind Andrei Kirilenko‘s 19 points and 13 rebounds and some clutch shooting late from captain Sergey Monya. They led five players in double digits for Russia, which finished first in pool play from Group B.

“Sergey Monya, our captain, is the face of everything we do, the face of Russia,” said Russia’s coach David Blatt. “He has played in every game for Russia in the seven years I have been with the team. He came up the biggest at the right time. He made the two biggest shots of the game and maybe of our career together.”

Spain had to survive France and some late-game licks to advance. They closed the game on a 12-2 run and won 66-59 to set up Friday’s semifinal matchup against Russia.

Nicolas Batum took a nasty swing at Juan Carlos Navarro, balling up his fist and swinging below the belt with 24 seconds to play. His frustration boiled over after his team’s inability to finish with a flourish, the loss itself and Spain’s “flopping” as France exited the competition before the medal round.

It was the second or third such incident of the competition, with Chris Paul of the U.S. and Facundo Campazzo of Argentina both taking swings (or at least Paul was accused of taking one) during their last pool play game Monday night.

“I just wanted to give him a good reason to flop,” an unapologetic Batum said after the game. He was called for an unsportmanlike foul but wasn’t ejected from the game. And as players from both sides shook hands, Batum was in the middle of the mix without incident.

He objected to Spain’s tactics afterwards, though, insisting that he Spaniards resorted to acting late with the game on the line.

“That’s not basketball,” he said, haven taken particular offense to the reaction of Rudy Fernandez after he was fouled by Ronny Turiaf in front of the scorer’s table moments earlier. “Sometimes, you have to give them a good reason to flop. And I hope I did.”


Spain Outlasts Stubborn Australia 82-70

LONDON – Spain followed up their opening day win over China with another strong effort in a 82-70 win over Australia.

Pau Gasol led Spain with 20 points. Rudy Fernandez added 17 points. Marc Gasol finished with 12. And they did all of this without the services of their captain and one of their leading scorers. Juan Carlos Navarro sat out with a sore left foot.

Australia (0-2) got 12 points each from Joe Ingles and Brad Newley.

Spaniards Chime In On Dream Team

HANG TIME, Texas — Maybe they’ve never heard the old saying about letting sleeping dogs lie in Spain.

It sure seemed foolish that Marc Gasol, Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez, Juan Carlos Navarro, Sergio Rodriguez and Victor Claver would want to wade into the debate about the merits of the original 1992 Dream Team vs. the 2012 edition.

And it looked a little sillier after the Americans whipped Spain 100-78 Tuesday night in Barcelona. Admittedly, Gasol did not play due to a shoulder injury and Rodriguez was strictly an observer in the final tuneup game before the start of the Olympic tournament. Nevertheless, here is the excerpt of an interview that was posted on Hoopshype:

Which American team is better: the Barcelona ’92 team or the current one?

Marc Gasol: Who has created this debate? They have, right? On a bad day for the ’92 team, the current team would lose by just 15 or 20 points against them.

Jose Calderon; It’s impossible to compare. That ’92 was breathtaking and we grew up watching them. (The current team) is also very good and if they win the gold medal, then you can start comparing. I don’t like to compare. It’s different players and different generations.

Rudy Fernandez: No disrespect to this current team, but I would choose the ’92 team. We all grew up with that team, I lived in Barcelona at that time, the players were amazing and they were the stars on their teams.

Juan Carlos Navarro: They are teams from different eras. Both are great teams, but I especially liked the ’92 Dream Team. I was young and my favorite player was on that team: Michael Jordan.

Sergio Rodriguez: I would say the Dream Team. That team in Barcelona was special for us Spaniards. Now we have two All-Star players, a lot of players on this team have played in the NBA… Something that was impossible to even dream about 20 years ago.

Victor Claver: The current team has to prove it. The ’92 team was the Dream Team, they won it all and they were dominant.

While we’ll concede that the members of Team Espana didn’t engage in any direct trash-talking or say anything egregiously inflammatory, one would think that it is not wise to give the favored Team USA any motivational edge. After all, that Kobe fella has a long, sharp-edged memory and he and his teammates will likely get to do their talking in the gold medal game on Aug. 12.

USA Meets Spain – Live Blog

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – The U.S. Men’s Senior National Team plays its final Olympic tune-up on Tuesday. And though both Brazil and Argentina provided the Americans with tough tests, Tuesday’s game against Spain at the Palau Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona is easily the most-anticipated of the U.S. Team’s five exhibitions.

Spain is the consensus favorite to meet the U.S. in the gold medal game on Aug. 12. So, even though there’s a lot of basketball to be played between now and then, the hosts may not want to show their hand on Tuesday.

“It’s an exhibition game. I think both teams are going to try to [use] different lineups, going to try maybe different stuff, but at the end of the day you know you’re not going to show a lot of things to the other team,” Jose Calderon said Monday. “You’re not going to have a medal if you win or if you lost tomorrow.”

Either way, Spain has the size – with a frontline of Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka – that can give the U.S. trouble inside. Thus far, U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski has played small quite a bit, but that hasn’t really worked.

Through their first four exhibition games, the Americans have been outscored 116-115 in 58 minutes without any bigs (Tyson Chandler, Kevin Love or Anthony Davis) on the floor. Meanwhile, in 58 minutes with Chandler in the game, they’ve outscored their opponents 174-91. That’s like winning a 40-minute game by 57 points.

(We’ll have more lineup and plus-minus data from the U.S. exhibitions here in the Hang Time blog on Wednesday.)

So it will be interesting to see how much playing time that Chandler and Love get against Spain. Love hasn’t exactly played well, but size is size. Hey, maybe Davis needs to see a few minutes in this one.

The game tips off at 10:30 p.m. in Barcelona, and can be seen live at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN 2. NBA TV will have a replay at 7 p.m. ET.


– 6:29 p.m. The U.S. continued to struggle against the zone until James Harden hit a pair of threes to close the scoring. Final score: USA 100, Spain 78

A few more thoughts…

The U.S. went zone themselves for a handful of possessions down the stretch. That’s the second time they’ve done that with Anthony Davis on the floor.

Carmelo Anthony led the way offensively, scoring 27 points on 10-for-15 from the field, including 5-for-8 from 3-point range. LeBron James also shot 10-for-15, finishing with 25 points and seven assists.

Pau Gasol led Spain with 19 points, while Serge Ibaka finished with 16, all in the first half.

Kobe Bryant has been pretty inconsistent offensively, but he absolutely dogged Juan Carlos Navarro on the other end of the floor. The U.S. pressure defense, led by Bryant and Russell Westbrook, was really the difference.

Deron Williams was the point guard for most of those zone offense possessions. He needs to get into the paint and make something happen.

– 6:22 p.m. Spain actually goes back to its stars in the fourth quarter, but the game is basically out of reach, as the U.S. scores 20 points on a 10-possession stretch.

– 6:18 p.m. LeBron makes it a 21-point game with a pair of pull-up threes on isolations against Gasol.

– 6:14 p.m. Tyson Chandler fouls out with 8:08 left, but it doesn’t matter much, as the U.S. builds a 17-point lead. We haven’t seen much of Spain’s best players in the second half. And Marc Gasol has not played at all, dealing with an injured shoulder.


– 6:05 p.m. Melo’s big night continues, as he takes advantage of the FIBA rules and tips in a James Harden free throw before it leaves the cylinder. But the U.S. gets just two scores on its final nine possessions of the third quarter, struggling against the zone. Spain gets within 12, but it’s a 14-point game heading into the fourth.

– 5:59 p.m. Lots of zone from Spain in the second half of this third period. Russell Westbrook beat it a couple of times with pull-up jumpers at the elbow, and then gets a dunk off a steal. But the U.S. scores just once on their next five possessions against a zone, and that’s a Melo put-back.

– 5:47 p.m. More turnovers for Spain, preventing them from taking further advantage of the size mismatches. And with Durant draining a pair of threes, the U.S. scores 12 points on their first six possessions of the half and builds a 15-point lead.

– 5:40 p.m. With Chandler in foul trouble, the U.S. starts the half playing small. Pau Gasol takes advantage with an easy post-up turnaround over LeBron.


– 5:22 p.m. Felipe Reyes had a pretty bad half, but he closes the scoring with a pair of free throws, making it a 48-40 game at the break.

The highlight of the half was a double-clutch dunk by Kobe Bryant, on a post-up and baseline spin move.

Serge Ibaka has played well offensively, but has three goaltending calls on the other end.

It’s been a pretty quick pace: 41 possessions each in the half.

– 5:19 p.m. The U.S. is starting to pour it on. Their pressure defense has forced Spain into 11 turnovers, and as usual, they’ve flourished on the break. They take a 13-point lead before Rudy Fernandez hits a three.

– 5:11 p.m. Melo is carrying the U.S. offense, with 18 points on 7-for-9 from the field. After a short CP3 pull-up and a LeBron transition bucket, the U.S. has a 37-32 lead.

– 5:04 p.m. Back-to-back threes from Melo and LeBron give the U.S. its first lead since the opening minute, 28-26.

– 5:01 p.m. Slow start to the period, as the teams combine for just four points on the first 10 possessions. Tyson Chandler picks up his third foul, defending Pau in the post, with 7:41 on the clock. Again, Anthony replaces him and the U.S. goes small.


– 4:55 p.m. After missing an ill-advised three, Deron Williams gets a big and-one on a drive. That sparks an 8-1 run to end the quarter, capped by a Westbrook drive past new Blazer Victor Claver, for the U.S. Spain leads 23-21 after one.

– 4:48 p.m. Serge Ibaka scores 10 straight points for Spain, eight of them off dimes from Jose Calderon. Then a Victor Sada baseline jumper makes it a 22-13 lead for the hosts. Spain is just carving up the U.S. defense.

– 4:43 p.m. The Melo/LeBron/Durant frontline hasn’t been very good offensively thus far, but Melo hits a pair of threes to keep the U.S. in it.

– 4:39 p.m. After Paul’s three, the U.S. goes seven possessions without a score. That stretch includes five turnovers. Meanwhile, Spain scores on three straight possessions to grab an early 10-3 lead. And then Chandler picks up his second foul. He’s replaced by Carmelo Anthony.

– 4:36 p.m. Paul and Pau Gasol trade threes to get the scoring started. Meanwhile, Chandler picks up his first foul early. That could be trouble, given the U.S. Team’s lack of success playing small.

– 4:30 p.m. Krzyzewski starts the same group that started Sunday’s win vs. Argentina: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Tyson Chandler


John Schuhmann is a staff writer for Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

Spain Claims Repeat Gold

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – In a competition filled with exquisite guard play, Spain got the most consistently brilliant effort from one of the world’s best in Juan Carlos Navarro on its way to repeat gold at EuroBasket 2011.

Navarro’s 27 points lifted Spain past France Sunday in Lithuania, punctuating their tournament-long dominance with a 98-85 win over Tony Parker and his crew.

Navarro’s perimeter game was complemented perfectly by the inside presence of Pau Gasol and his younger brother Marc Gasol, who took turns carrying the load for Spain throughout the competition. But it was Navarro’s relentlessness that marked Spain’s run throughout this tournament and throughout Sunday’s title game.

In a matchup with another one of the world’s most dynamic scoring guards in Parker, Navarro proved up to the task, as did his stellar ensemble cast. Pau Gasol had 17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Marc Gasol added 11 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two assists. Navarro’s backcourt mate Jose Calderon finished with 17 points of his own. Serge Ibaka blocked five shots in his 21 minutes, showing during a five-minute stretch of the second quarter as Spain built a 10-point advantage that would not be surrendered.


Spain Trying To Defend Title At EuroBasket

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The top four spots at EuroBasket 2011 will be decided Sunday with defending champion Spain taking on France in Lithuania. They’ve both already clinched bids to the 2012 London Olympics, but there is still plenty to play for in a rivalry contest such as this one.

This is, after all, the battle for European basketball supremacy.

Russia and FYR Macedonia will battle it out in the bronze medal, having both already clinched spots in next summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament.

There were games played today, though. Consolation games (video above). Host-nation Lithuania edged Greece 73-69 in the fifth-place game. Both teams are headed for the qualifying tournament since the third through sixth-place teams in this competition earn automatic spots there.

Slovenia slipped by Serbia in the seventh-place game, finishing the competition on a winning note even though their Olympic dreams were already dashed.

The marquee matchup of the competition, of course, comes Sunday when global heavyweights Spain and France square off. Both of their rosters are stocked with NBA talent. Spain will be led by Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro, Serge Ibaka, Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez and Ricky Rubio. France counters with a loaded roster that includes Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw  and Mickael Gelabale.

These two teams have an extensive history of battling each other, having played against each other 18 times in EuroBaskets. Spain has won all but three of those matchups, including a 96-69 win in the second round to win Group E of this competition, a contest that Parker and Noah sat out so they could rest up for the quarterfinals.

“On Sunday, Spain will be clear favorites. They have dominated the EuroBaskets for several years,” Batum said. “It’s the best team in the world behind Team USA. They are strong but not unbeatable. Anything can happen.”


Spain, France Set To Battle In EuroBasket Finals

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The stage is set. Spain and France will battle it out for the crown of the best team in Europe at EuroBasket 2011, their invitations to next summer’s Olympic games in London are set now.

How’d they get here?

That’s what we (my main man and‘s John Schuhmann kicks things off today) are here for …

Spain 92, FYR Macedonia 80 (Boxscore)

From the start of this tournament, we all expected Spain to make the final and earn one of Europe’s two guaranteed spots in next year’s Olympics. But none of us expected FYR Macedonia to be the last team standing between the defending European champs and that Olympic berth.

Getting through this semifinal was no walk in the park for Spain. The defending champs didn’t take control of the game until late in the third quarter when Juan Carlos Navarro caught fire. Navarro scored 19 of his 35 points in the third, at one point hitting a ridiculous running three at the shot clock buzzer, to give Spain a nine-point edge heading into the fourth.

The Macedonia offense, which had struggled all tournament but scored 45 points in the first half, couldn’t keep up with Navarro’s onslaught. And with the Gasol brothers almost outrebounding Macedonia by themselves, Spain was just too much for the underdogs.


Macedonia Shocks Lithuania, Joins Spain In Semifinals At EuroBasket

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The quarterfinal round got off to an explosive (and rousing, for one country) start Wednesday, thanks to our friends from Macedonia …

(’s John Schuhmann recapped Wednesday’s first game, Spain’s 86-64 win over Slovenia, below.)

Macedonia 67, Lithuania 65 (Box Score)

Vlado Ilievski‘s 3-pointer (off an assist from Bo McCalebb) with 11 seconds left pushed Macedonia ahead and they held on to pull off one of the most shocking upsets in EuroBasket history, knocking off host nation Lithuania before a raucous crowd in a hostile environment. Ilievski (12 points) and McCalebb (23 points) had plenty of company in the heroes corner in the Macedonia locker room after the game. Vojdan Stojanovski who didn’t miss a single shot, he was 5-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line, finishing with 15 points.

“This is a huge win for us. We are very happy,” Stojanovksi said. “I think we played very well and we deserved this win. I have to thank our playmakers because they put me in a position to have open shots. I was confident of making them. Spain will be a tough team but we have proved that we can beat good teams in this tournament.”


Serbia In, Germany Out At EuroBasket

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Spain claimed the top spot in Group E with an easy win over France in what should have been a clash of the titans on Day 11 at EuroBasket 2011.

(More on that shortly!)

The day belonged to the crew from Serbia, though, as they claimed something even more important; a spot in the quarterfinals …

Serbia 68, Turkey 67 (Box Score)

Serbia needed this win to secure their ticket to the quarterfinals and to keep their Olympic hopes alive. They also needed an Ersan Ilyasova miss in the final seconds to escape Turkey in a thriller that went down the final tense moments for both teams. It helped that Milos Tedosic finally returned to form, finishing with a game-high 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

This loss is a wicked blow for Turkey, the runner-up (to the U.S. team) at last summer’s World Championships on their home soil. “We are very sad,” said Turkey coach Orhun Ene. “We were second at the last World Championship and we had big expectations for this tournament. We didn’t show our potential throughout the tournament. We promised the Turkish people that we would try to qualify for the Olympics for the first time, but we lost too many games. This was our last chance and we lost the game in only one possession.”

They won’t have to search hard to find reasons why didn’t succeed. Making just 55 percent (16-for-29) of your free throws in a game decided by the thinnest of margins is certainly a recipe for disaster. Remember, they made a paltry 45 percent (10-for-22) of their free throws Friday in a six-point loss to Germany. Serbia shot an impressive 81 percent (13-for-16) from the free throw line and also grabbed three more rebounds (38-35) than Turkey.

“This was very tough. Everybody was under pressure as the winner would go to the quarterfinals,” said Serbia’s coach, Dusan Ivkovic. “We controlled the game in the first half but our concentration went down in the second half. We led the game for almost 40 minutes only to allow Turkey to have the last shot. We deserved this victory because we were better on the night.”

Spain 96, France 69 (Box Score)

The top spot in Group E belongs to the defending champions, courtesy of their win over a France team that played without both Tony Parker and Joakim Noah (both given a day of rest). Without two of their biggest stars, France struggled to keep the game close after halftime. Spain used a 27-4 run in the third quarter to blow the game open and then cruised to the finish. The loss ended France’s seven-game win streak.

The difference in approach to this game was interesting, with France easing up and Spain going all out. “It was a weird game but we wanted to respect our opponent as well as other teams who are playing in this tournament to define the final positions and especially for ourselves, we believe there is nothing better than a good game to improve and get better,” said Spain coach Sergio Scariolo. “This was our motivation. Everybody gave something. We get to the point with the do-or-die competition starts. We know we start from zero but it’s better to get there in the right way.”