When the Spanish Basketball Federation announced that it was summoning the nationalized Lorenzo Brown for the Eurobasket, the criticism intensified. Many could not understand how they chose to include a player on the list who did not even speak Spanish and who had never played in our country. But the FEB and Scariolo had their sporting reasons. Without Ricky Rubio or Sergio Rodríguez at the controls, they needed a top-level point guard. And Brown was, although many doubted it. Yesterday all of them were photographed.
Perhaps after seeing him in action in Vilnius in a match of maximum demand, his opinion has changed. Spain lost again to Lithuania (78-76) but showed that despite the absences (Willy Hernangómez, Rudy Fernández, and Sergio Llull did not play) they have not lost their competitive gene and had options against one of the great candidates for a medal in the European. Yes, with Lorenzo Brown at the controls signing an almost perfect ending.
A team powered by a stellar Lorenzo Brown in those last moments.
Spain knew how to overcome their horrifying staging (19-4) by dint of sacrifice and pride and ended up putting fear in the body of the Lithuanians, who had to resort to their starting lineup (with their stars Sabonis and Valanciunas in front) so as not to end up succumbing to a team powered by a stellar Lorenzo Brown in those last moments. He scored nine of his 18 points in the final three minutes when everything was about to be decided, but he missed the 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the game.
If he had scored it, he would have been the hero of the match after having played only four games with the national team. It is clear despite everything that the FEB was right with the decision to include him in the selection. He has the experience, and judgment to put the ball almost always in the right hands, and his pulse doesn’t shake when he has to assume responsibility.
From less to more to finish with a good taste in the mouth
Spain, despite the defeat, ended with a very good taste in the mouth of a game that painted drama in the first minutes when the Baltics, with four triples (three from a streaky Giedraitis) and the interior power of Valanciunas, sent Spain to the canvas, who signed a horrifying start (19-4, min 5). Permissive in defense and predictable and thick in attack, it offered a very discouraging image.
Scariolo sought the reaction with several changes that paid off. Yankuba Sima put in the area of the muscle that Garuba could not due to fouls, Núñez and Jaime Fernández had good minutes in the direction and Spain, misguided in the shots (5/11) managed to stop the bleeding with a part of 6- 15 (25-19, min 12).
With Garuba back on the field printing intensity and the success of Lorenzo Brown
Spain makes the rubber before the break Valanciunas, Masiulis, and Jokubaitis led a new pull from Lithuania (36-23, min 17), but Pradilla, Guerra, and Brizuela, who did not need much time to warm up their privileged wrist, were able to make the rubber before the break (39-30). The Baltics could not maintain their success from the outside (5/16) and Spain could even get closer to having been more lucid from the triple (1/8).
After the break, the Spanish signed their best minutes in the game. With Garuba back on the field printing intensity and the success of Lorenzo Brown, Juancho Hernangómez, and a very plugged-in López-Aróstegui, he was ready to fight for victory (55-53, min 29). Lithuania pressed, but Spain was not daunted and thanks to an inspired Brizuela, the best pure shooter of the team, and a groundbreaking Brown, they caressed the victory (76-76).
But Bradzeikis scored with 13 seconds left and Brown missed the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. A defeat that still leaves arguments for the hope within the Spanish team ahead of the Eurobasket. Even with notable absences, he competed for face to face for 35 minutes with a medal contender. And that, with the talent deficit of this team compared to that of the golden age, has but a lot of merit.