In front of a record-setting crowd at Lille’s Pierre Mauroy stadium in France, Gasol notched 25 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks and took home both the tournament’s scoring crown and the tournament MVP award. He shot an incredible 10-of-15 shooting from downtown and averaged 25.5 points and 8.8 boards for the tournament. Gasol has been forced to bear a much larger load (and has reportedly risked injury) as Spain traveled to France without several of its key players, including Ricky Rubio, Serge Ibaka, and Marc Gasol.
After a stunning upset win over Serbia Thursday, Lithuania never really had much of a chance as the Spaniards jumped out to a 19-6 lead in the first half and never looked back. Spain’s suffocating defense played a major role in the win, as they held Lithuania to just 35 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent inside the paint.
There are currently only four spots remaining in the Olympic field for Rio next summer, and one of those will get gobbled up within the next two weeks by the winner of the FIBA Asia Championship, of which host country China is said to be the favorite. After that, it will be a long stretch until next July when the final three qualifying tournaments will determine the three remaining slots for Rio.
France and Serbia both lost their Olympic bids after falling in the quarterfinal round of the EuroBasket last week and subsequently played in the bronze medal game Sunday, which France won. They’re considered two of the heavy favorites to secure their bids next summer and round out the Olympic field. However, they’ll still have to compete with other teams like Greece and Italy – who are both loaded with NBA talent – and a young Canadian team that is desperate to establish its identify on the international hoops circuit after blowing their chance in the FIBA Americas games.