Spain Stand In Hosts' Path To Katowice

16 September 2009
By Adriana Garcia Senchermes
A place in the Quarter-Finals of EuroBasket 2009 is at stake when Spain and Poland square off in Group F on Wednesday in Lodz.

Both sides are also hoping to remain in contention for a top-six finish, which is needed to earn a trip to the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

4. Pau Gasol (Spain)
Pau Gasol had a big game for Spain against Lithuania, they will need him to step up again on Wednesday.
World champions in 2006 and silver medalists at both the EuroBasket two years ago and at the 2008 Olympics, Spain go into the game reinvigorated by their 84-70 triumph over Lithuania on Monday.

Sergio Scariolo's men trailed 24-15 at the end of the first quarter but then reeled off 23-0 straight points pulled away for a decisive victory.

Spain's veteran forward Jorge Garbajosa has warned his teammates that a game against Poland will be just like a final.

"We cannot be stupid and think that in the previous days we were terrible and now, because we won against Lithuania, we are the best," he said.

"We know what we need to do to be competitive and win games.

"We face a final against Poland and there is no room for error."

Meanwhile, Poland's 76-60 defeat to Slovenia on Monday marked the team's second straight setback in Lodz following their 77-72 loss to Serbia.

Muli Katzurin's men will have the crowd behind them, but Poland know they will have to play exceptionally well just to have a chance.

"This is the best team we are facing in the competition," said Katzurin.

"We are not as good as them. They have some great players. But we will fight. We will have to give something extra. And this is one game. Anything can happen in one game."

Last Time Out: Spain beat Poland 88-83 in a warm-up game in Zaragoza last month. With three minutes remaining in the contest, Poland led 79-76 but Spain's veteran guard Juan Carlos Navarro came to the rescue by reeling off nine straight points.

Key match-up: Poland's big men Marcin Gortat and Maciej Lampe vs Spain's front line.  Lodz-born Gortat was limited to just six points by Slovenia on two of 10 (20%) shooting while teammate Lampe was one of seven (14.3%).
X-factor: Pau Gasol didn't play against Poland in the friendly while recovering from a finger operation. He had a game-high 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds against Lithuania to pace the Spaniards.
Statistics: Spain were 14 of 18 (77.8%) from the free-throw line against Lithuania, their best percentage so far in the tournament. Poland had 15 turnovers in their defeat to Slovenia.
Sounding off: "Basketball is an intense and thrilling sport, with ups and downs. But I hope we only give happiness to our fans from now on and not tachycardia" - Spain's Pau Gasol.


20.09.2009 - By Jeff Taylor
20.09.2009 - By Jeff Taylor
20.09.2009 - By David Hein

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