Nikola Mirotic was able to sneak in a poster jam over Giannis Antetokounmpo and his impossibly long arms , and it certainly helped that Giannis was trailing the play.
Antetokounmpo did have a nice block on Pau Gasol, but Spain was able to hold off Greece’s furious rally for a 73-71 win to reach the semifinals of EuroBasket 2015.
This is the ninth year in a row that the Spaniards have reached the tournament’s semis, where they will take on Tony Parker and the French national team.
From the tourney website:
Turning Point: Spain trailed by two points entering the final stanza, but their intent was clear as they attacked the paint, drawing four fouls in the first 59 seconds to put Greece on the back foot. The Greeks only added three points during the opening 6:42 of the final stanza as the momentum changed hands. Fotis Katsikaris’ side hit back late on as Spain began to show signs of nervousness with sloppy turnovers before Pau Gasol missed a late free throw to give Giannis Antetokounmpo a half-court shot at the win, but he was off the mark.
Stats Don’t Lie: Yannis Bourousis was limited to just 9:13 of action before fouling out with more than three minutes remaining and his team trailing by four points. This increased the load on Kostas Koufos (30:41), Georgios Printezis (34:08) and Antetokounmpo (34:10) as they tried to content Spain’s aggressive frontline. Before this game Vassilis Spanoulis was the only Greek player averaging more than 26 minutes before this game.
Game Hero: All the talk before this contest was that the 35-year-old Pau Gasol needed more help from his team-mates if Spain’s run was to continue. Nikola Mirotic stepped up his scoring to 18 points while Victor Claver and Felipe Reyes were tireless in the paint, but again, the Spanish would surely have fallen short were it not for their leader. Gasol finished 27 points and nine rebounds in another assured display.