Aug 2, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Great Britain forward Luol Deng (9) reacts after the preliminary game against Spain in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Spain beats Great Britain 79--78. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Olympics basketball 2012: Deng almost gets triple double, but Spain comes out winning.

 

Aug 2, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Spain guard Rudy Fernandez passes the ball to guard Jose Calderon as Great Britain forward Luol Deng and forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu watch during the preliminary game in the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

 

1

2

3

4

FINAL

Great Britain

15

14

19

30

77

Spain

24

13

23

19

78

Leaders

Great Britain- Luol Deng 26 PTS, 7 ASTs, 9 REBs

Spain- Jose Calderon 19 PTS, 2 ASTs, 4 REBs

 

 

 

 

Ranked last placed in the preliminary rounds in Pool B, Great Britain has played two games, and suffered two losses. They came into this game in hopes of winning off getting their first win, but knew it would be hard especially against the Spanish team, who’s ranked number 2 in the world, right before team USA.

Before the game kicked off, both teams were missing players. For Great Britain, Mike Lenzly was unable to play as he is still suffering a leg injury. For Spain, Carlos Navarro was out with a foot injury.

Onto the first quarter of the game and Fernando San Emeterio gets the first points of the game. Rudy Fernandez follows up with a 3, bringing the lead to 5 at the 8 minute 40 second mark. Joel Freeland however, answer’s Fernandez’s 3, with one of his own, getting the first points for GB. Moments later, Luol Deng comes in helping his team assisting to Freeland for the jumper. It was a solid shot from the key. Just when you think Freeland is done, he hits a corner 3. Its clear he came to play.

Spain however makes a comeback scoring easy buckets. It’s too easy for Spain offensively especially off the backboard. All of a sudden, here comes Deng shooting an open 3 at the 4:35 mark. At this point, all of GB’s 11 pts have come from outside. GB continues with good ball movement, but defense was proving to be a problem. Nothing about the Spanish offensive looks smooth. It’s not sharp. On the plus side, Spain got a lot rebounds in this quarter, and the size differential defiantly helped out. GB was shooting 6 for 15 from the field, at 40%, and shot 3 for 9 3-point shots at 33%. Spain however, was shooting well from the field with 11 for 20 field goals at 55% and 1 of 2 3-point attempts at 50%. At the end of the first quarter, Spain was up by 9 at 24-15.

We move onto the 2nd quarter, and a change of events occurs, as Freeland is getting a bit cold behind the arch, still GB is able to knock down 3-point shots, as they are 3 for 10. Pops Mensah-Bonsu receives the ball off a turnover and drives to the point. He makes the shot and is fouled by Serge Ibaka. He successfully makes the 3-point play. Spain with the ball, and out of nowhere, Pau Gasol makes a 3-point shot behind the arch. Yes, that’s right. Pau Gasol makes a 3. Perhaps he’s trying to do what Kevin Love does regularly in games, but whatever the case, it worked. GB continues to struggle as they commit 4 turnovers. From here Spain just dominates. It’s all too easy for them. GB needed to play solid D in order to be successful. Also, at this point Deng continued to carry his team on his shoulders.

Another change of events occurs as GB got easy buckets off Spain’s turnovers. This was unusual, since GB is the one to loss the ball off turnovers. Dan Clark makes the bucket, however he’s limping. With Lenzly out, they can’t afford to lose any more players, especially a sharp shooter like Clark. This was not good news for GB. Fortunately, he would return later in the game.

Nate Reinking (the oldest player in the game at 38) tries to turn up the notch shooting 3-point shots, but he was still cold behind the arch. Then here comes Deng with the ball running down the stretch assisting to Andrew Lawrence for the open 3. GB at this point is shooting 4 for 14 3-point shots. Mensah-Bonsu comits the foul on Marc Gasol and that’ll be his 3rd. I think it’s fair to say that nobody has worked harder than Mensah-Bonsu in this game or perhaps this tournament.

It’s the end of the quarter, and it was a disappointing half for both teams. Its clear there’s lots of work to do. GB is a prime example, shooting 34% field goals at 12 for 35. They also shot 4 for 16 3-point shots at 25%. They however had 2 steals and 7 points from Spain’s turnovers, but GB had 6 turnovers of their own. Although Spain was up by 8, they need to do work as they shot 41% field goals at 14 for 34. They also shot 3 of 8 3-point shots at 37% and 6 for 12 free throws at 50%. As I said earlier, the height advantage was helpful for Spain as they had 19 defensive rebounds and 11 points from turnovers, however they had 8 turnovers themselves. At the half, it was 37-29. GB’s Deng played spectacular as he played all minutes in the 1st half.

As we return to the game with half time done, its clear GB is having problems matching up to Spain’s size. Spain continues with their good ball movement as Gasol shoots over Freeland, getting the first points of the game. Again Deng retaliates, by hitting a jumper bringing the defecit to 31-39. Sullivan wasn’t doing a good job offensively, but was good defensively staying in front of players trying to get steals and block shots. At the 5 minute 30 second mark, both teams recorded 8 turnovers each.

Spain continues to get buckets and assisting was the reason. Spain had 16 assists as GB had only 8. The game continues to be really physically with pushing and shoving, as the score was very close. Sullivan fortunately gets better offensively this time as he makes the AND1 and 3-point play. GB continued putting pressure on defense, as Spain was struggling, and it showed. Gb moved the ball better, pulling things together, however they lost focused at some points of the game. At the end of the quarter, GB was shooting 19 of 51 field goals at 37%, 4 for 16 3-point shots at 25%, and 6 for 10 free throws at 60%. Spain was shooting 23 for 52 field goals at 44%, 3 for 13 3-point efforts at 23% and 11 for 20 free throws (which proved to be a killer) at 55%. Spain was up 12, with 60-48.

Lastly the final quarter begins and it seemed like Spain would win by a long shot. Kyle Johnson makes 1 of 2 free throws beginning the game, and then Clark with the pump fake, hits the 3-point shot. He has some great fundamentals. Spain however kept stopping GB, as they had 6 block shots. GB 0. Extra possessions as well were hurting GB as they had 13 offensive rebounds. Pau Gasol dishes to Calderon and he hits the open look 3. The score was 64-52.

Suddenly, it was all Deng as he hits a 3 and it’s a 3-point game. Freeland comes back with a bucket, making it 69-71 Spain. Clark is still not done yet as hits another 3. 75-72. The energy in the arena is electrifying. Nate Reinking hits a 3 from an assist from Deng but Reinking fouls out. The Spanish team is nervous at this point. Suddenly here comes Deng with a 3. 79-78 Spain. With little time left on the clock, Calderon simply runs the clock out and Spain wins by 1.

A devastating lose for GB. It seems to be the same reoccurring story for them. They lose focus at crucial times, and have the inability to execute what they work on in practice. Close game, but they lost. Deng was great but he has to do too much. Other people need to step it up. He can be the ultimate distributor as he was in the last game against Brazil.

At the end GB shot 20/41 field goals at 49%, and Spain shot 23 for 47 field goals at 49% as well. GB got the edge in 3s as the shot 9 for 24 at 38%, as Spain had 4 of 17 at 24%. GB at free throws, which prove to be crucial, shot 69% at 11 for 16 and Spain shot 66% at 21 for 32. Spain dished 22, assists while GB had 12. Both teams had 13 turnovers each but GB had 28 fouls with Spain for 17.

For Spain, they will play against Russia at their next game on August 4th. Russia just lost to Argentina today with a final score of 72-92.

As for GB, they have yet to win a game. They’re next opponent will be Australia on Saturday, August 4th. Australia just defeated China by 20 with a final score of 81-61. The matchup between GB & Australia will be at 2:00 p.m. CT (8:00 local).

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