FIBA World Championship 2006 - Unofficial Blog

Friday, September 01, 2006

Spain beat Argentina in epic semifinal

It was for sure the best game in the tournament so far. Jose Calderon's free throw with 19 seconds to play lifted Spain over Olympic champion Argentina 75-74 in a semi-final at the FIBA World Basketball Championship.

In fact, the Toronto Raptors player put through the second of two free throws after being fouled for the winning point, which earned for Spain their first medal in global competition since the 1984 Olympics.

It's good to know that Spain and Greece will meet in Sunday's final.

Andres Nocioni, who played for the National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls, had a final opportunity to win for Argentina but his 3-point attempt with two seconds to go bounced off the rim.

The talented Pau Gasol, a 213cm centre with the NBA Memphis Grizzlies, and forward Jorge Garbajosa led Spain's scoring with 19 points each while Emauel Ginobili, a guard with the NBA San Antonio Spurs, hit 21 to lead the southamerican team.

Manu Ginobili sparked Argentina to a 21-15 lead in the first period.

However, Gasol sank a lay-up on the break, his third basket of the night, and netted a free throw on foul to put Spain up 32-30 halfway through the second quarter.

Amazingly, Argentina caught up twice with Spain, which won the 1984 silver and the 1980 bronze from the Olympics but no world championship medal.

But two free-throws by Barcelona player Juan Carlos Navarro on foul left the Iberians with a slight 40-38 lead at half-time.

Down 65-56, Argentina battled back to 69-67 with a three-pointer by Ginobili with three minutes to go.

Navarro made it 71-67 with a jumper in the paint. Gasol added two free-throws but Pepe Sanchez hit back with a three-pointer to narrow the gap to 73-70 at 1:17.

It's fair to say that Calderon sank a free throw but Ginolini hit an inside shot to make it 74-72 with 28 seconds to go.

Argentina forward Luis Scola tied the score 74-74 with two free throws on Fernandez's foul with 22 seconds to go before Calderon's winning throw from the line. It was one of the most emotional moments of Japan 2006


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