Turning point: So many twists and turns down the stretch, it's hard to choose one! Great Britain used a 12-0 run in the first 3:28 of the fourth quarter to take their first lead, 68-66, on Mike Lenzly's right corner three-pointer. They went up by as many as four, 73-69, when Jarrett Hart hit a long bomb of his own. Spain answered right back. Rudy Fernandez stepped into the passing lane for a steal and breakaway dunk before Pau Gasol hit a three-pointer from the top of the key with just over three minutes left to edge Spain back in front 74-73. Spain didn't trail again after that as Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro sealed the game.
Hero: Great Britain as a whole. They fell behind from the very start, trailing 12-0 and committing eight fouls in the first seven minutes. That's a big hole to dig out of, but yet they did it just that and made everyone believe they could score perhaps the biggest upset in basketball history.
Stats: 10 or thereabouts - The number of travelling violations the referees called for both teams in the second half.
Great Britain threw a major scare into Spain on Tuesday night at the EuroBasket in Poland but ran out of steam in the final minutes and lost 84-76.
One of the dominant sides in international basketball for the past decade and winners of the FIBA World Championship three years ago, the Spanish lost their opening game to Serbia on Monday and then put themselves in danger of an early exit from the competition after blowing a 16-point third-quarter lead against the Brits.
Chris Finch's side, playing in their first EuroBasket and without leading player Luol Deng this summer because of a stress fracture in his shin, launched an incredible comeback.
Mike Lenzly capped a 14-0 British run with his fourth three-ball of the game to put the underdogs on top at 68-66 with 6:32 remaining.
An incredible shock began to look even more possible when a Jarrett Hart three-pointer extended Britain's advantage to 73-69 with 4:58 to play.
Britain, however, shot themselves in the foot on three straight possessions and Spain capitalized.
Rudy Fernandez intercepted a pass from Lenzly and soared in for a breakaway dunk, and following a 24-second shot-clock violation by the Brits, Pau Gasol buried a three-pointer for a 74-73 Spanish advantage with 3:08 to go.
Britain's misery was complete when the Spanish defense pressured them into rushing up a shot with Ricky Rubio blocking Flinder Boyd's attempt from behind the arc.
|Pau Gasol had a huge night for Spain and they needed every one of his 27 points and 11 rebounds.|
Gasol added a jump shot and Navarro a free throw to stretch the lead to 81-73 and Spain held on at the end for a most uncomfortable victory.
"Obviously we did some things wrong but we didn't give up," Finch said. "We kept fighting and it paid off because we had chances near the end of the game."
Hart was a revelation.
He led Britain with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Lenzly scored 14 and Nate Reinking 10.
Great Britain finished 10 of 22 from three-point range, including seven of 15 in the second half.
"In the final quarter, we made a great comeback thanks to some good defense," Reinking said.
"We unsettled them but then down the stretch, they came back and increased their pressure, too, and we weren't getting as much movement in our offense the same way as we did earlier.
"This is a bittersweet result because you want to win against every team. If we upset Spain, the world champions, we knock them out of the tournament."
Britain must beat Serbia in the last Group C game for both sides on Wednesday to stand a chance of progressing to the Qualifying Round.
"Every day that we step on the floor, we try our best," Finch said.
"We're here to learn and we are learning quickly. We learned a lot of lessons so far and we hope to apply them."
Spain, who were just 26 of 40 (65%) from the free-throw line would have lost this game had it not been for Gasol, their 2006 FIBA World Championship MVP who decided after helping the Los Angeles Lakers win the NBA Finals to play for his country this summer.
He only made 11 of 18 at the stripe but still finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds (both game highs), and his go-ahead three-pointer was arguably his team's biggest shot because Spain never trailed again.
Fernandez had 13 points, Victor Claver 12 and Navarro 10.
"Tonight we were beaten by four guys," Finch said.
"We made them play outside their rhythm. Our guys did everything we asked them to do."