Spain seeks to tear down the Lithuanian 'towers' to start dreaming
The Spanish team will play the Eurobasket quarterfinals this Saturday against the Lithuania of Valanciunas and Sabonis
MADRID, 9 Sep. (EUROPA PRESS) -
The Spanish men's basketball team will face this Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin (8:45 p.m. / Four hours) its first toss-up in Eurobasket 2022 when it faces Lithuania for a place in the quarterfinals, a rival between the candidates, but who suffered to be classified within the 'group of death'.
Spain fulfilled its first objective in the continental tournament, getting out of the group stage, and it did so optimally, with only the somewhat unexpected blot of defeat against Belgium. However, he made up for it with a solid victory against Montenegro and one with added emotional value against Turkey, the demanding first team, which gave him first place and strengthened his chances of dreaming.
But what should have been a 'prize' has become a new challenge for the team led by Sergio Scariolo, who has had a Lithuania called to be the protagonist in this Eurobasket and who boasts of having one of the best inside pairs of the competition.
And it is that the pools usually break in these appointments and the Lithuanians were one of the victims, with a fourth place in a tough group that they shared with Slovenia, France and a host Germany that was the one that broke almost all the cabals with their triumphs over French and Lithuanian. The current world champion avoided Luka Doncic and her company and the current Olympic runner-up, but she will still have a more than tough 'battle' against the Baltic team, whom she already knows from the preparation.
The team had two friendlies in August against Kazys Maksvytis, who took victory in both, 77-82 at the Gran Canaria Arena and 78-76 in Vilnius, the latter a clash in which he was in tow for a great start and where neither Willy Hernangómez nor Rudy Fernández played, but who was able to recover until he even had the last ball to win or force extra time.
The triple European champion now clings to this competitive nature so as not to be left out of the top eight for the first time since ninth place in 1977. Spain has been in the semifinals for ten consecutive Eurobaskets, an impeccable streak that will need its best version in all aspects of the game to try to dream of lengthening it, starting with defensive intensity, rebound control and a good night on the outside.
Scariolo hopes to be able to count on captain Rudy Fernández, who was absent in the last victory due to physical problems, and also that these days of rest have been good for the team to have maximum energy to battle with a Lithuania team, which has gone from less to more after to be on the brink of the abyss.
The Lithuanian team did not start well at all, with tight defeats against France and Slovenia, and life was complicated with a third against Germany after extra time, which left them with little room to play for the ticket in the last match against Bosnia-Herzegovina , which he defeated with solvency and where he made it clear that he has scoring power
Spain will have to find solutions mainly to hold down the two mainstays of their rival, Jonas Valanciunas and Domantas Sabonis, who in the friendly already did damage inside. The former is scoring at a very good level and is contributing double figures in points (18.4) and rebounds (11.4), and will have a nice duel with Willy Hernangómez, the most regular Spaniard up to now, along with Lorenzo Brown at rise.
The son of the legendary Arvydas Sabonis, on the other hand, is not shining as much as expected, except in the match against Hungary, but the Spanish defense will have to keep an eye on him. Behind his two figures, Marius Grigonis stands out, second highest scorer (15.8 points) of a team with other important players such as the 'ACB' Rokas Jokubaitis and Rokas Giedraitis, or Ignas Bradzekis, but who usually suffers when he does not have his two references on the track.
SPAIN: Brown, López-Arostegui, Juancho Hernangómez, Garuba and Willy Hernangómez --possible starting five--, Pradilla, Díaz, Brizuela, Rudy Fernández, Jaime Fernández, Parra and Saiz.
LITHUANIA: Jokubaitis, Giedraitis, Bradzekis, Sabonis y Valanciunas --possible quintet inicial-- Grigonis, Kuzminskas, Lekavicius, Butkevicius, Echodas, Zukaukas y Zermaitis.
--PAVILLION: Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin.