In yesterday’s gold-medal game at the FIBA European Championships, Spain made their opening-round hiccup against Serbia look exactly like what it was — a random hiccup. In a rematch with Serbia, Pau Gasol‘s crew waxed the opposition, going up by 15 in the first quarter, making it a 20-piece McNugget by the second quarter, and ultimately winning by 22. Big brother Gasol led the way with 18 points, 11 boards and three blocks, while Rudy Fernandez scored 13 and J.C. Navarro added 12 points. Ricky Rubio had 10 points and one assist. Spain dominated the glass, getting almost as many offensive boards (18) as Serbia had total rebounds (24). Uros Tripkovic and Novica Velickovic led the silver medalists with 15 points apiece … Pau was named MVP of the tournament, as he was the leading scorer (18.6 ppg) and shot-blocker (2.2 bpg), and second-leading rebounder (8.3 rpg). Gasol and Fernandez (13.6 ppg, 2.1 spg) made the all-tournament team along with Serbia’s Milos Teodosic (14.1 ppg, 5.2 apg), Slovenia’s Erazem Lorbek (16.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Greece’s Vassilis Spainoulis (14.1 ppg, 4.2 apg) … Meanwhile, Sofoklis Schortsanitis, a.k.a. “Baby Shaq,” put up 23 points in Greece’s bronze-medal win over Slovenia; Tony Parker and Boris Diaw sat out France’s fifth-place game against Croatia and Ronny Turiaf only played about 10 minutes (France already clinched their spot in next year’s World Championships), but they won anyway, getting 18 points from Antoine Diot … Russia smacked Turkey to take 7th place behind Vitaly Fridzon‘s 26 points (7 threes) and five dimes. Omer Asik, a 7-footer who was drafted by the Blazers in ’08, led Turkey with 24 points and 11 boards, while Hedo Turkoglu had four points on 1-for-6 shooting … Michael Beasley checked out of rehab yesterday and is ready to resume being a beast on the court. “He’s OK. He’s got his head together. He’s happy,” Beasley’s dad told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “He talked about the decisions he made that got him where he was. And once he took responsibility for that, then he took the program more seriously.” … And if Beasley needs a quick cautionary tale, he need look no further than Antoine Walker; all the talent in the world without the discipline (on-court and off) to maximize his potential. You can probably chalk it up to the outstanding casino debts, but ‘Toine is apparently trying to get back in the League. He’s reportedly talking to four teams and is expecting a training camp invite. Does this somehow become a scenario where ‘Toine finishes his career as Paul Pierce‘s backup? That would be too weird … Speaking of the Celtics, their local Boston Globe gave ex-Celtics GM and current Grizzlies mastermind Chris Wallace the floor to defend some recent moves. Regarding the Pau Gasol giveaway: “No offense to Pau, who is obviously a terrific player and greatly enhanced the Lakers and I think put them over the top, but it just wasn’t happening in the direction we were going,” Wallace. “I am not a critic who is going to assess this from afar, [but] you have to do what is best for your franchise, and if the Lakers win a championship as a byproduct, God bless them.” In Wallace’s defense, nobody is saying the Grizzlies shouldn’t have traded Gasol when they did — as we recall, Pau seemed disillusioned with the losing and Memphis wasn’t going anywhere anyway — but the return Wallace got from the Lakers was laughable … One guy who doesn’t have a problem getting the players he wants is Coach K. According to HighSchoolHoop.com’s Jason Jordan, over the weekend Coach K made some big strides in potentially landing two of the top point guards in high school ball, New Jersey’s Kyrie Irving and Florida’s Austin Rivers (son of Doc Rivers). No big deal normally, except Irving had previously been believed to be real close to signing with Indiana, and Rivers is supposedly verbally committed to Florida. In a related note, Irving wrote a Twitter post the other day asking Indiana fans to stop sending him angry messages. They’re just KIDS, people … Finally, shout-out to the New York Giants for yesterday’s 33-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys Football Stadium. (Oh wait, the Giants were actually playing against the Dallas players? Could’ve fooled us with the way everyone covered it.) … While we’re talking football, is it an ESPN house rule that whenever Stuart Scott does an on-site report for Monday Night Football, he either has to start off by having somebody throw him a ball, or he has to throw a ball himself during the segment? What is he trying to prove? … We’re out like ‘Toine …
Smack / Sep 21, 2009 / 3:23 am
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