Monday, 14 August 2023, 17:07
The gap between Spain and the US basketball teams is not so big after all. During an exhibition match played at a packed-out Martín Carpena arena in Malaga on Sunday night, Sergio Scariolo's team sent a warning to the Americans ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in two weeks' time, only yielding towards the end due to fatigue (88-98).
In the final game of the Centenary Tournament of the Spanish Federation, Spain held their ground and even dominated for a significant portion against the US. And it was clear from the outset that this game was anything but friendly.
The US team started with focus, strong defence, quick transitions and intensity. But tactical adjustments by Scariolo shifted the momentum for Spain, and a line-up change proved effective. The game became a back-and-forth battle of styles, with Spain's well-executed plays prevailing by the end of the first quarter (28-26).
The Americans responded by raising their defensive intensity and maintaining offensive accuracy and took the lead by half-time (45-55).
Spain's competitive spirit emerged in the third quarter, taking the game by the scruff of the neck - thanks in no small part to Álex Abrines - and getting to within just a point in time for the start of the fourth (72-73).
However, this was when Spain's energy dwindled, and the US showcased their physical prowess. Despite Spain's attempts, the US regained control thanks to their superior athleticism and eventually secured a clearer victory than the course of the match had suggested.
Despite the result, Spain's confidence remains high ahead of the World Cup in Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan. Having also defeated Slovenia on Friday in this three-way tournament in Malaga (99-79), Spain's preparations are going well.
Up next, they have two more preparation games against Canada and the Dominican Republic.
El Norte de Castilla
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