Does Jesus play basketball? If so, he plays for Spain: Spain defeats Serbia in EuroBasket 2009

September 21, 2009

Thanks for being put on a cross for my sins....

Thanks for being put on a cross for my sins.... Pau Gasol: On top of the basketball world. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

Pau Gasol: World-beater

September 21, 2009 12:57 PM

Posted by Jay Aych, The Painted Area

Team USA got its redemption with Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008. On Sunday, Team España got its redemption with Eurobasket gold in Katowice, Poland.

After blowing the 2007 Eurobasket gold-medal game to the underdog Russians at home in Madrid, Spain finally won its first Eurobasket title on Sunday, and did so in convincing fashion, beating Serbia 85-63.

Spain thoroughly outplayed Serbia in every facet of the game. The game was never in doubt and the gold medal was essentially wrapped up by halftime. Spain finally ascended to the top of the Euro podium after taking home six silvers and two bronzes all time, including three silvers and a bronze over the past decade.

Speaking of redemption, well, Spanish superstar Pau Gasol’s circle is complete as well. After being roundly criticized for his role in the Lakers’ defeat in the 2008 Finals, Gasol established himself as arguably one of the NBA’s top dozen players in 2008-09, capped off by his skilled performance in L.A.’s championship run through the 2009 Playoffs and Finals. Pau averaged 18.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks while also shooting .600 and doing a fine job defensively against Dwight Howard in the Finals.

Meanwhile, NBA fans may not be as aware that Gasol had unfinished business at the Eurobasket as well, as his disastrous fourth quarter in the 2007 gold-medal game may well have cost Team España the game. As we wrote in 2007

    “After such a tremendous Eurobasket for two weeks, Pau Gasol had a nightmare of a final–he just couldn’t connect on his interior shots. Some of that has to be credited to the Russian defense, but Pau just could not get shots to fall.Then he had a 4th quarter he would soon like to have wiped from the records. Pau was 3/8 on FTs and combined that with 3 TOs, including the costly TO with :25 left. All these miscues would have been forgotten if Pau could have knocked down a desperation jumper with :02 left, but his shot just rimmed out. Overall on the night, the Spanish go-to guy was just 4/13 from the floor and 5/12 at the line (14 pts, 14 reb, 3 ast, 3 blk, 5 TO).”

In 2009, Gasol was the dominant player at the Eurobasket, easily winning the tournament MVP for his terrific all-around play over the last two weeks. Pau’s stat line for the tourney: 18.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 1.2 assists, 66 percent from the field, and even four-of-nine from 3-point range. He led the tourney in scoring and blocked shots, and finished second in field goal percentage and rebounds per game.

I am just glad that he suits up for the Lakers….

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