One Giant Leap

19 September 2009
By Adriana Garcia Senchermes
Spain has had the upper hand in their recent meetings with Greece but all that will be put to the side in Saturday's Semi-Final in Katowice.

The Greeks were unable to defend the EuroBasket title in Madrid two years ago after losing 82-77 to the Spaniards in the last four.

14. Ronny Turiaf (France), 4. Pau Gasol (Spain)
Pau Gasol has been very nearly unstoppable for Spain.
That setback followed their 70-47 loss to Spain in the final of the FIBA World Championship in Japan.

"We cannot think of what has happened in previous tournaments," said Spain guard Raul Lopez.

"Greece are a serious team and competitive.

"It's going to be a complicated game and we will have to give 100% if we want to win."

Spain, who struggled earlier in the tournament, have recovered their spark and cruised past France en route to the last four.

Pau Gasol stole the show against the French, pouring 28 points, nine rebounds and three blocks - all game highs - for the Spaniards.

Spain's defense was incredible in the game with Rudy Fernandez coming up with six of the team's 13 steals.

Ricky Rubio and Lopez also shut down Tony Parker, who managed just one field goal from eight attempts as the world champions handed the French their first defeat of the tournament.

Greece, the EuroBasket 2005 champions, Greece needed overtime to edge Turkey.

"Spain will be very difficult for us," admitted Greece coach Jonas Kazlauskas."I think we are a little bit tired and have some injuries.

"But this win will help us psychologically. We will try our best."

Last time out: Spain beat France 86-66 while Greece needed overtime to edge Turkey 76-74.

Heat-to-Head: Spain have won 13 of their 19 official encounters against Greece.

Key Stats: Spain got 13 steals and forced France into making 17 turnovers. Greece out-rebounded Turkey 47-28.
Match-up: Greece's Vassilis Spanoulis vs Spain's Juan Carlos Navarro.  Both players have plenty of experience at international level and are familiar with each other's game. Spanoulis had a game-high 23 points and buried six of his team's 10 three pointers in their win over Turkey. Navarro struggled against France, making just one of seven (14.3%) from behind the arc, and will be determinedt to make amends against Greece.
X-Factor: Greece will need a strong performance from Sofoklis Schortsanitis, who contributed with nine points in two of six (33.3%) shooting from the floor against Turkey.

Sounding off: "If we defend and we pass the ball for 40 minutes I have my doubts that the other team can equal us. We need to show work, commitment and unity if we are to win" - Spain coach Sergio Scariolo.


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

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