While it’s not a habit I want to get into on a regular basis, being wrong can occasionally bring its own pleasure. Such was my feeling today when the British (whom I thought wouldn’t be within 25 points) showed all sort of grit against the mighty Spanish before finally being “pipped at the wire” (as they say over ‘ome) 79-78.
Spain had a huge scare in Q4 as Great Britain, undeterred by a 12 point deficit, fought to the bitter end before Our Man in London, Jose Calderon, sealed the deal.
We Raps’ fans have seen Calderon time and again nail down victories with clutch free throws, and that’s just what he did when Spain needed them most. Jose drained 6 freebies in the final 40 seconds, as Great Britain’s Nate Reinking & Luol Deng hit consecutive 3-balls to stay in Spain’s face.
Calderon ended as Spain’s top scorer with 19 points, including 5-7 on 2-balls and 1-4 from distance. He chipped in 2 assists and 2 steals, against no turnovers, and even managed 4 defensive boards, in 26+ minutes of PT. All his columns were full. Pau Gasol had 17 points and brother Marc added 12, while Serge “Death to Flying Things” Ibaka only managed 2 blocks and 5 points.
Luol Deng led GB with 26 points, which wasn’t a surprise, while Joel Freeland had 25, which was.
Spain out-rebounded GB 43-36, a significant margin in a tight game.
Spain passed the surprising test, albeit barely. Jose Calderon, perhaps the most respected Raptor ever, was Man of the Match. An expected tilted-floor game turned out to be a thriller. Let’s hope this kind of game is what the tournament will feature from now on, because it’s going to be wicked exciting if it does.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.