While drama and upsets are part of Olympic lore, I don’t think you’ll find much of either in this game. The British are 0-2, and don’t figure to improve their lot against the Spaniards. The only chance the British have is if the Spanish are looking past this game to their next opponent.
The Raptors’ Jose Calderon was expected to provide his team veteran steadiness, and so far he’s done just that. Jose is ego-free, so will score when needed, but is wired as a pass first point guard. With the NBA all-star teammates he is dishing to, Jose’s points are almost irrelevant. The Gasols, Fernandez, and the rest of these battle-hardened Spaniards will take the fight to the British from the opening tip. Watch for the Spanish guards to harass the vulnerable British backcourt. My crystal ball sees a lot of steals, and easy hoops.
Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls will be counted on to spark the British offense. He’d better, because the alternatives are few and far between. While I remember Pops Mensah-Bonsu fondly from his brief time as a Raptor, he’s not likely to give the Spanish a huge problem down low. Conversely, Spain can play big or small, half-court or run & gun, and with a rotation in which the second unit is only a small step down from the first.
Spain will be resting its starters by the third quarter. I don’t know if Spain will reach the century mark, but I’m confident in predicting they will roll over the host country by 25.
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.