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16.09.2011, 17:30h
16.09.2011, 17:30h
92-80
26 - 1818 - 2727 - 1721 - 18
26 - 1818 - 2727 - 1721 - 18
Venue: Kaunas (LTU) |
Spectators: 11000 |
Referees: Fabio Facchini (ITA), Srdan Dozai (CRO), Spyridon Gontas (GRE)

GAME REPORT


Navarro Propels Spain To Another Final

Turning Point: There was a sense of déjà vu when, for the second game in succession, Juan Carlos Navarro exploded during the second half to fire his team to victory by pouring in 19 third-quarter points.

Game Heroes: Navarro was the difference maker, finishing with 36 points including five trademark triples. Pau Gasol finished with another double-double as he claimed 22 points and 17 rebounds while Serge Ibaka produced a nice efficient cameo coming off the bench early in the game.

Stats Don't Lie: The difference in both offensive rebounding and second chance points was huge. F.Y.R. of Macedonia claimed only seven, compared to 19 by Spain and could only muster six second-chance points against 22 from Spain.

Juan Carlos Navarro (Spain)
Vlado Iliefski did the best he could against Juan Carlos Navarro but the Spain captain was simply unstoppable in the third quarter. He finished with 35 points including 5 of 9 from behind the arc

 

Reigning champions Spain will get the opportunity to defend their EuroBasket crown after Juan Carlos Navarro fired them into a third successive Final.

In a repeat of his dazzling performance against Slovenia, the Spain captain was unstoppable as he came alive after half-time to shoot down F.Y.R. of Macedonia and lead his team to an 92-80 win.

F.Y.R. of Macedonia knew they had to keep the scoring relatively low, and while they couldn't match the prolific Navarro, they gave another performance to be proud of.

They started the contest well with Vlado Ilievski picking up where he left off in the quarter-final against Lithuania - with a three-point shot. It was followed by a dunk by Predrag Samardziski and a fast break by Vojdan Stojanovski as they took an early 7-4 lead.

Things looked even better for them moments later when Pau Gasol was benched after two offensive fouls in quick succession, but his replacement made a huge impact.

Serge Ibaka threw down a series of big dunks to give Spain the initiative as an entertaining opening ten minutes came to an end with a buzzer-beating triple by Sergio Llull which gave his team a commanding 26-18 lead.

A dunk by Pau Gasol took their advantage to double digits but F.Y.R. of Macedonia again showed their mental toughness by bringing the game straight back.

They registered an impressive 14-3 run off the back of some improved defence with a triple by Damjan Stojanovski, putting them 32-31 in front.

Spain then started making some outside shots with Juan Carlos Navarro and Jose Calderon both sinking three-balls but F.Y.R. of Macedonia stood firm and refused to let their opponent streak away.

In fact, by half-time, they found themselves ahead 45-44, and that was not a shock considering how well they were both looking after, and moving the ball.

There was little between the teams during most of the third period. A dunk by Pero Antic fuelled the belief of F.Y.R. of Macedonia but the dangerous Navarro then truly came to life to torch their hopes completely.

He injected life into Spain, with a string of three-pointers giving them a 71-62 lead and on the front foot.



F.Y.R. of Macedonia went down fighting in the last period but just couldn't recover from the devastating Navarro blitz as they tried in vain to play catch-up.

Bo McCalebb was sensational at times in the losing effort, finishing with 25 points on 11-for-19 shooting from the floor, five assists and just one turnover in 34 minutes.

COACH QUOTES


Quotes Spain vs. F.Y.R. of Macedonia

Spain Power Forward Serge Ibaka:
"It was a tough game for us. It was difficult right from the start, but we continued to play hard on defense and that was the key for our win today. It's my first time playing in this competition. Next year I'll play with Spain in the Olympics and it's a great experience for me. Navarro was amazing and he did things, both on offense and defense, that were really big. He really stepped up for us tonight. We're one of the best teams in the history of Spanish basketball and it's great pride for me to be part of such a team."

FYR of Macedonia Center Predrag Samardziski:
"Congratulations to Spain for this victory. We fought and in the end came up short, but I hope we made our fans proud of us. We were really close but didn't make the shots in the last minutes to make it happen. Now we'll try to win the bronze medal and we're going to play the same as usual. We're going to fight whoever it may be and try to make it happen."

FYR of Macedonia Head Coach Marin Dokuzovski:
"We have a big heart and we wanted to play good basketball today. We knew who was our opponent - a great team in Spain - and we knew it's going to be very-very difficult to surprise them. We didn't play defense as good as we did in previous games, but that was because of our tiredness and their offensive rebounds. We played really good and i believe we didn't disappoint our fans."

Spain Head Coach Sergio Scariolo:
"We're very-very happy for this win, but we don't have a lot of time to celebrate. In two days we play for the gold medal. We were told from the start that we should win the gold and now we're in a stage where we have a chance to do it. I wish to congratulate F.Y.R. of Macedonia because they had a great run here. They never-never give up, they play with heart, brain and class throughout the entire championship. It's a great honor to be in the title game after beating them. Navarro was like a maestro today. He was like a picture in the Louvre or something like that. He's an artist of basketball in Europe. In those moments when he's hot it's like he's on his own cloud and he creates so much. It's a joy to have him on our team and he's a great person as well. Everybody contributed for this win, and in the second half we played something that is more similar to our defense."

Accumulated statistics

44.9%

35/78
FG
M/A

50.0%

34/68

49.1%

27/55
FG2P
M/A

59.2%

29/49

34.8%

8/23
FG3P
M/A

26.3%

5/19

82.4%

14/17
FT
M/A

58.3%

7/12

47

19/28
RT
RO/RD

32

7/25

22

AS

14

6

TO

6

4

ST

5

4

BS

1

16

PF

19

92

Pts

80

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The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

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