Through three quarters of Spain’s 84-72 EuroBasket semifinal win, Dennis Schroder and Germany looked every bit the part of a potential Cinderella story.
Schroder, the Atlanta Hawks point guard who finished with a team-high 27 points on 12-23 shooting, was getting into the thick of Spain’s defense with ease. Maodo Lo, a 23-year-old Bundesliga guard was finding his stroke from distance. And Daniel Theis, who just signed with the Boston Celtics this summer, was effective against Spain’s twin towers on his way to 15 points and four rebounds.
But after Germany led 47-43 at the 4:23 mark of the third quarter, Spain, behind Marc Gasol, found its footing on offense and went on to outscore Germany 41-25 over the remainder of the game.
After scoring in double-figures just three times in Spain’s first six games at EuroBasket, Marc Gasol exploded for 28 points and ten rebounds to pace the favorites. The Memphis Grizzlies center went 4-6 from three-point range and scored Spain’s final 12 points of the third quarter just as Germany was beginning to threaten.
A Schroder three with 1:23 left in the fourth trimmed Spain’s lead to 12 and a Theis dunk a few moments later put Germany behind by just nine. But a Pau Gasol three-point play on Spain’s next possession shut the door on any potential comeback.
Nuggets forward Juancho Hernangomez, who’s playing in his first European Championships with Spain’s senior national team, scored two points on 0-1 shooting from the field and recorded five rebounds. Hernangomez also shot 2-4 from the line in 20 minutes of action. The 6-foot-9 forward didn’t get a ton of looks on offense with Spain playing through their talented frontcourt.
Pau Gasol scored 19 points and Sergio Rodriguez finished with 11 points and seven assists for Spain.
Spain takes on the winner of Slovenia and Latvia in the EuroBasket semifinals on Thursday. Slovenia boasts a talented backcourt consisting of Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic and potential 2018 No. 1 pick Luka Doncic. They also carry big man Anthony Randolph, who could pose matchup problems for the less athletic Gasol brothers.
Latvia presents their own challenge in the form of 7-foot-3 New York Knicks center Kristaps Porzingis who’s averaging 21.8 points per game at the tournament. Nuggets’ 2017 draft-and-stash Vlatko Cancar, the 49th overall pick this summer, also plays for Slovenia.