In the summer of 2003 the Eurobasket of Sweden was played, where in the great final Lithuania won with solvency 93-84 to Spain, we never had the gold within our reach despite a Pau Gasol at stellar level, Silver for Spain
In the semi-finals, Lithuania, who defeated France 74-70, and Spain, who beat Italy 81-79, met in the semi-finals. Italy then beat France in another 69-67 Bronze match.
Lithuania woke Spain from their golden dream and turned the Eurobasketball final for Moncho Lopez’s team into a desperate race against the clock, in which he was always two steps behind. The defense in the area of Lithuania left the Spanish team without response, no ability to maneuver, and the public who went to the Globe Arena in Stockholm without a meeting (93-84). Lithuania were crowned 64 years after their last victory (they were champions in 1937 and 1939, before being annexed as a republic of the former USSR).
The Spanish team did not deserve such a disappointing epilogue, after such a splendid career throughout the tournament. The team had done everything well until the final. The silver medal that the players hung yesterday and the Olympic passport for Athens that, at any other time would have been taken as the best of gifts, seemed a sad consolation yesterday. The fifth final for Spain in a European Championship did not turn out to be the one that changed history either. The selection is still systematically resisting the title and the golden juniors their doctorate at the highest level, although their silver yesterday and bronze two years ago in Turkey place them very close.
POLYMIC ARBITRATION At the end of the third quarter (62-48 for Lithuania), all players would have agreed to go to the locker room. The Spaniards so that it did not continue its torture. The rivals because they had already finished their work, almost without getting their hands dirty.
It was a monologue of the Lithuanians, which was powerfully influenced by the referees who ended up upsetting the Spanish with faults, in most cases, very rigorous. A detail as proof: in 10 minutes in play, Carlos Jiménez, a key player for the national team, already had four personnel. In that, the referees of the FIBA do not seem to change.
What honors the Spaniards is that they did not lower their arms. That they stayed in the fight and that, with a change of refereeing orientation, they cut the differences, which became 21 points for Lithuania, until the final 9. Gasol (36 points and 12 rebounds), chosen in the starting quintet in a tournament that has been the highest scorer, was the one who insisted the most in that comeback.
NAVARRO, SENTADO If there was a constant that defined the game was that Lithuania always took the lead. Its defense caused a short circuit in the Spanish attack systems. Spain only produced baskets with continuity until the end of the first quarter (20-19). But when the Lithuanians adjusted the passing lines, the Spanish points came to an eyedropper.
Spain survived with individual actions, especially Navarro, who was the player who took more initiative until the break. But his problems to divide the Lithuanian defense prompted Moncho Lopez to leave enough minutes on the bench, a questionable decision, because much of Spain’s winning mood is based on him. Instead, the coach opted for a discreet Herreros.
The main consequence of the Lithuanian zone is that it served to keep Gasol and Garbajosa away from the ring, where they are not usually so productive. Without Gasol’s actions inside the painting, Spain found itself in a dead end. The center of the Grizzlies had scored nine points in the first quarter, but did not add anything in the second. In those minutes, Lithuania escaped.
Arbitration also complicated Spain’s life. Before the break, the pair Lamonica and Belosevic had pointed out seven attacking faults, the same as in defense. It’s an unusual figure, to say the least, which speaks of the punctiliousness they showed with the Spaniards.
From its defensive work, it was much easier for Lithuania to open a gap in the scoreboard, because it has countless resources to face the hoop, with a distribution of points, which justified the careful rotation of players that made the coach Sireika, so that their headlines arrived unloaded of personnel at the end. It was not necessary.
Spain were groggy for too many minutes. And only when Navarro and Gasol decided to risk as much as possible, and also when the referees acted more permissively, the score narrowed. It was fictitious. The final was over a long time ago.
*Jasikevicius – 10p, 9a.
*Macijauskas – 21p, 2br.
*M.Zukauskas – 7p, 2a.
*Stombergas – 9p, 6r.
*E.Zukauskas – 18p, 7r.
Salenga – 0p, 5r.
Slanina – 2p, 1r.
Siskauskas – 9p, 4r.
Songaila – 10p, 4r.
K.Lavrinovic – 7p, 2r.
*Calderon – 5p, 3a.
*Navarro – 18p, 3a.
*Jimenez – 0p, 2r.
*Garbajosa – 17p, 5r.
*Gasol – 36p, 12r.
Marco – 0p, 1a.
Herreros – 7p, 2r.
De la Fuente – 1p, 5r.
F.Reyes – 0p, 1r.
Bueno – 0p.
Grimau – 0p.