Spain Wins Bronze Medal Game


In the bronze medal clash, teams have traded baskets during the first period, which stayed close all the way. Both coaches wanted to keep their star players fresh in the early phases by not matching them up against the opponent's. Papic on Gasol and Paraiso on Nowitzki. However, both match-ups happened to be favouring the deadly weapons with Gasol scoring 13 on 3/4 3-point shooting and Nowitzki 10. Extremely high field goal percentage with both teams above 50% in the first period was the reason for the big numbers on the scoreboard: 22-24 for Spain.

Spain extended their defence to full court, which caused turnovers for Germany in the backcourt for an 8-0 Spanish run: 26-35 with 06:54 to go in the half. Navarro, who has come on as a substitute, was just what Spain needed to play this kind of uptempo game. He scored 18 points and stole the ball a couple of times in only 11 minutes. The Germans could do nothing other than foul him (5 fouls on him) which put him on the line 7 times. Nowitzki showed his versatility with 16 points and 7 boards. He also dished out 3 assists, all on the break after bringing the ball down the court. Okulaja could not contribute due to his early 3 fouls, remaining on the court for only 6:34. The score was 42-59, a 17-point comfortable lead for Spain.

German coach Henrik Dettmann regrouped his side in the locker room and Germany cut the lead to 10 in four and a half minutes thanks to consecutive treys by Nowitzki: 56-66. Both teams, failing to shut down the scoring from the other team decided to confuse the other team by using variety of zone defences. Spain even tried a 1-3-1 defence. The third period ended with a 63-76 Spain lead.

Germany's plan to play with a backcourt of 3 7-footers failed when Shawn Bradley fouled out early in the fourth period but Nowitzki was having his day helping his team to get back into the match with the lead down to 6 points with 05:00 remaining in regulation. Spain was scoreless in a full 2-minute span until Navarro hit a rainbow shot down the lane to make the score 79-85. Germany gave up 5 offensive rebounds in consecutive Spain possessions and Nacho Rodriguez punished them with a trey: 81-88. Then, it was a matter of Spain hitting free throws at which they were very successful throughout the match (26/31). Spain were the winners of the bronze medal despite a tournament-high 43 point, 15 rebound effort by Nowitzki who claimed the scoring title of EuroBasket 2001. The final result: 90-99.


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