FIBA European Championships: Pau Gasol scores 29 points for Spain
If the preliminary round of the FIBA European Championships suggests anything, Pau Gasol may already be in midseason form and Ricky Rubio may not turn out so well with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Plus, Spain's 83-78 victory Wednesday in the preliminary round against Poland validates Gasol's argument to The Times that winning the title won't be easy. Gasol led Spain with 29 points on a team featuring a solid supporting cast in Juan Carlos Navarro (23 points), Marc Gasol (16) and Serge Ibaka (seven). But Spain was tested. Thomas Kelati (18 points), who played for the Lakers twice in summer league, and Lukasz Koszarek (18 points) proved instrumental for Poland, which kept the game close by scoring 18 points in the final two minutes. Rubio was held scoreless, after missing all five of his field-goal attempts.
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Photo: Spain's Pau Gasol, left, drives around Darius Songaila of Lithuania during a friendly match on Aug. 18. The Lakers forward could be spending a lot of time in Europe if NBA labor negotiations fail to lift the lockout before the scheduled start of the season. Credit: Valda Kalnina / EPA