EuroBasket 2007: American Beats Spain for Russia(!?!)

WHAT?!?! Go figure!

Last night, “American-born Jon Robert Holden’s jumper with 2.1 seconds left secured Russia their
first-ever EuroBasket title with a thrilling 60-59 victory over
reigning world champions and hosts Spain.” – see EuroBasket2007 website HERE.

Let’s get this straight. An AMERICAN on the 2007 Russian EuroBasket team WINS the championship game FOR RUSSIA!!? I can imagine a lot of United Statesens rolling their eyes (and their stomachs) with that notion – those who noticed, anyway. I can’t find any mention of the game anywhere on USAToday. Maybe the story was gently misplaced. hehehe…

“There’s an American playing in the Eurobasket tournament, and he’s even
wearing red, white and blue. But his passport is maroon with Cyrillic
lettering, and he has spent more time recently in Red Square than he
has in the land of red states and blue states. It’s time for America to hear the story of J.R. Holden, a point guard
who is bound to be branded a traitor in his homeland next summer if
Russia qualifies for the Beijing Olympics.”
-Read article “Meet J.R. Holden, Russia’s leading U.S. import” on the ESPN website HERE.

Spain loses to Russia in the 2007 EuroBasket final, 59-60. Catalán (and international) susperstar Pau Gasol literally had the game-winning ball in his hands with 2-seconds left on the clock. HE JUMPS! HE SHOOTS! It’s In! It’s Out! Time’s up and Paul Gasol falls to the floor, no-doubt lamenting the, what, 7-missed  free throws he had throughout the game. Visions of Shaquille O’Neal came to mind everytime I saw Gasol at the line.  (Shaq is an equally horrible free-throw shooter)

Gasol finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three
blocked shots but the NBA superstar also missed five of eight foul
shots in the fourth quarter (5-of-12 overall)
and committed five
turnovers.”

This was not Spain’s day. What a nail-biter in the last half of the game. The first half was dominated by Spain but only with very passive aggression, possibly due to Russia’s inability to manage the ball. In the second half, Spain played with more nerves (not the good kind), made easy turnovers on lazy passes, MISSED free-throws, and a general appearance of anxiety and fear. The Russians played much better, much looser, much more relaxed and made nearly every free-throw. One person at the basketball party commented on game’s MVP Andrei Kirilenko while at the free-throw line, “That guy must have ice in his veins. He NEVER misses!”

The second half was like that, nearly tied the entire time, but it appeared Spain was keeping their edge – until the end. More missed free-throws by Pau Gasol and more MADE free throws by Andrei Kirilenko essentially gave Russia the win over Spain – but it was the AMERICAN Jon Robert Holden’s jumper which put them ahead – for good or for bad.

Spain won EuroBasket 2006. They were proud of that and they can be proud they reached the finals this year. Gotta work on those free-throws, though.

Sadly, MadridMan

 
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