Spain closes its preparation phase for the Eurobasket with a new disappointment, the third in four games. After falling to Greece in Athens (86-70), taking revenge in Madrid (87-80), and losing again in Las Palmas against Lithuania (77-82), this Thursday, in the second match against the Baltic team, Scariolo’s team added a new 78-76 defeat that reflects the state of a team that, although it has an iron will and does not give up a game, does not finish fitting the pieces and is not very clear about its strengths . Scariolo has 14 days to correct the errors that have been seen in these preparation matches before the Eurobasket begins.
In Las Palmas, the collapse of Spain was driven by the terrible shooting percentage (38.8% success). But this time, in Vilnius, without Rudy Fernandez or Willy Hernangomez, who stayed in Spain resting, Scariolo’s men fell due to their inability to defend a team with Lithuanian alternatives, especially at the start of the game. Those of Maksvytis have with Valanciunas and Sabonis one of the best inside pairings in Europe, but this time they showed that they also have an outside game capable of blowing up a game in just a few moments.
Lithuania took advantage of the defensive empanada of Spain in the first bars to open an almost insurmountable gap. As if touched by a wand, the Lithuanians scored four consecutive triples, three of them by Giedraitis. It was difficult for Spain to reach the hoop while its rival found the leak in each attack. After an 11-1 run, Scariolo called the first timeout when the five minutes of the game had not been completed, very angry with his players. So much initial success made Lithuania poison themselves with triples, looking for that option in most actions, and when the percentages fell (from hitting the first four to missing five in a row), this opened a door for Spain to get on board again of the party. During the first half, the Balts shot 16 three-pointers (five hits) for only 12 shots from two, as if they had been possessed by Stephen Curry himself.
With Lorenzo Brown assuming responsibilities in attack (18 points and five assists) and the good minutes of Jaime Fernandez and Brizuela (19 points between them), Spain clung to the game and managed to reduce the distance from 12 points to just three in the third fourth. Colom had in his hands the triple that would have equaled in the last moment of the quarter, but the shot went to the hoop.
After seeing the ears of the wolf, the Lithuanians returned to put one more gear, this time resorting to the pragmatism of the superiority of Valanciunas in the painting. With a run of 7-2, it seemed that he had suffocated Spain’s comeback attempt, taking advantage of the referee’s sympathy with the locals when it came to frying the Spanish players with personal fouls. But three minutes from the end, with a three-pointer from Brizuela, key as always the time on the court, Spain managed to get to a single point, although the action was quickly answered by another three-pointer from Brazdeikis. Lorenzo Brown then put on the leader’s suit and led the team with nine consecutive points that equalized the score with one minute remaining (76-76), while Lithuania was with its ideal quintet on the court. The match was finally decided on the last possession. Brazdeikis scored in transition and Spain, with 13 seconds remaining, failed to convert the play with a poor shot by Lorenzo Brown, a hero halfway through the game.
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Source: EL PAIS