(Photo: Sports World)
Today the "crosses" for the Spanish Men's Basketball Team begin, even in a metaphorical way.
Not adding a win would mean the virtual, perhaps mathematical, elimination of the Olympic tournament, after the initial two defeats, and in the absence of crossing both Argentina and Lithuania.
It is true that Spain could have won both matches against Brazil and Croatia, without having done much better.
Against the Croatians, an uncaught defensive rebound and an incomprehensible loss of Sergio Rodriguez placed them 2 down 2 a minute from the end, wasting the last possession to tie.
Two days later, against the hosts Pau missed two free throws, and a monumental throw from Mirotic in the closing of the rebound facilitated a pate of Marquinhos 5 seconds to finish, also wasting the last possession.
Now comes the third day, and Scariolo's are clear favourites in today's match, against a Nigeria that has not won a match either, and who has lost Barcelonanist Lawal to injury.
Day conducive to "hunting" the first victory. Even so, it is necessary that it is accompanied by general feelings of improvement in the offensive game. Recover players, improve in game dynamics, confidence and concentration.
We'll see Ricky's situation. The distance his defenders are giving him is hampering collective attack, while the base performs a predictable game without creating advantages for teammates, away from the freshness expected of him, and with significant defensive errors. Scariolo confirmed his ownership in these JJOO, but after what we have seen so far it would not be strange to see changes about it, with a more intonated Sergio, and an almost unpublished Calderón, who could perhaps contribute something to the group.
The battery of escorts and eaves also have to step forward. Only Llull (9 and 11 ptos) is regularly adding from the perimeter. Comfortable shots are failing, and worse, giving up on others just as affordable and necessary to take to open the closed defense we face Pau. Abrines could help in this, too.
The inner rotation is waning in the face of Willy's sparse on-court presence, with just three minutes played throughout the event. Gasol and Mirotic add up to many minutes, lowering their contribution in the second day.
The pace of play will be capital. Spain needs to run and get there playing. We abused the 5×5 with the aim of giving balls to Gasol, but more players need to be involved in the offense. Many of them find advantages in a dynamic game, you have to grow in this aspect.
Shall we go through "round"? In a few hours, we're out of doubt.