Sun Sep 15 10:06am ET
By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer
BEIJING (AP) Spain has captured its second World Cup championship, defeating Argentina 95-75 on Sunday to give Marc Gasol a rare double-title year.
Ricky Rubio scored 20 points and Sergio Llull added 15 for Spain (8-0), the ninth team to make it through a World Cup or world championship unbeaten. Gasol scored 14 for the winners, who never trailed and added this crown to the one it claimed in 2006.
For Gasol, it was historic.
The Toronto Raptors center becomes the second player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year, joining Lamar Odom - who did it for the Los Angeles Lakers and USA Basketball in 2010.
Gasol is also the 19th to win either an NBA or WNBA crown along with a gold medal, either of the Olympic or World Cup variety, in the same year. And he's the first to accomplish that feat while representing a nation other than the U.S.
When Spain won its first title in 2006, it was Pau Gasol - Marc's older brother - leading the way. This time, it was the not-so-little brother who led his nation to gold, hoisting the World Cup trophy three months after getting his hands on the NBA's Larry O'Brien Trophy for the first time.
Gabriel Deck scored 24 points for Argentina (8-1), which got off to a slow start and played uphill the rest of the way. Luis Scola was held to eight points, shooting 1 for 10 from the floor.
Spain led 43-31 at the half, riding the strength of two big runs.
Spain ran out to a quick 14-2 lead, only to have Argentina answer with an 11-0 spurt. But when that ended, Spain came back with a 17-1 run and took what was then its biggest lead at 31-14.
Scola, even at 39 years old still Argentina's best player throughout the tournament, didn't get on the scoresheet until he made a pair of free throws with 2:57 left in the third. But they only cut the Spain lead to 19, and by then the Argentinian fans - who stood in the stands a few rows from their team's bench, singing and chanting for much of the game - were relatively quiet.
They probably had a good idea what was coming.
There was one last gasp from Argentina, an 11-4 run to open the fourth quarter and cut Spain's lead to 12 with 6:30 left. But Llull's three-point play on the next Spain possession pushed the lead back to 15.
Argentina: This was the third FIBA World Cup medal for Argentina, making it the fifth nation with that many after the United States (12), Yugoslavia (10), the Soviet Union (eight) and Brazil (six). Another four nations have two medals, including Spain. ... Argentina fell to 2-8 all-time against Spain in World Cup or Olympic competition.
Spain: It was the fourth consecutive FIBA title game to be decided by double digits. ... It was also a double-title year for Spain coach Sergio Scariolo; he's an assistant on Nick Nurse's staff in Toronto. ... Everything went Spain's way early - even air balls. Rudy Fernandez took a corner 3 that sailed long by about two feet, landing in the hands of Juancho Hernangomez. He laid in the miss to start a three-point play, part of Spain's 14-2 game-opening run.
Among the big names in attendance on the final day of the World Cup: Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, FIBA ambassador and five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, and Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili - both four-time NBA champions with San Antonio.
5 WITH 2
Spain is the fifth nation to win the World Cup (or its predecessor, the world championship) at least twice. The U.S. and Yugoslavia are five-time champions, the Soviet Union won three titles and Brazil has won two.
Argentina: Qualified for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Spain: Qualified for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky has been named the starting point guard for the regular season opener, according to head coach Jim Boylen. Dunn was the favorite to win the job in camp, but that quickly faded. Boylen likes Dunn's defense off the bench, so that's how the team will begin the season. Satoransky is worth grabbing in the middle of most drafts.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (rest) won't play in Wednesday's preseason game against the Memphis Grizzlies. This is just a regular rest day for the veteran point guard. It's unclear how the Thunder plan on working Paul into their gameplan, so fantasy owners should draft him with caution. There is a good chance that Paul does sit out games this season until the Thunder can find a trade partner.
New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (back) is available for Wednesday's preseason game against the Atlanta Hawks. Smith has been sidelined due to back spasms, but appears ready to play now. Head coach David Fizdale wants to see how Smith plays as the starting point guard. He's a late round option in most formats because the Knicks have depth at guard and could easily change it up at any moment. Smith doesn't have a secure starting spot at the moment.
New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson will come off the bench with the second unit in Wednesday's preseason game against the Atlanta Hawks. Robinson got into foul trouble last game, so the Knicks will give Bobby Portis a chance with the starting five. Robinson should be locked as the starting center, but the Knicks probably just want to see how Portis plays with Julius Randle. Robinson is a great option in the early rounds of category leagues.
Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier (knee) won't play in Wednesday's preseason game against the Detroit Pistons. He's dealing with a left knee issue, but most likely is just a precautionary move. Devonte Graham and Dwayne Bacon should see more minutes without Rozier. He should be fine for the regular season and is worth targeting in the middle rounds of most standard drafts.
Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Thursday's preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers. He wasn't able to play in Monday's contest, so the Mavs might be just playing it safe here. There is a good chance that he doesn't play on Thursday, but should be fine for the regular season opener. Brunson doesn't carry huge upside, but could be late round guy or a nice piece in a deep league.
Detroit Pistons guards Luke Kennard (rest) and Derrick Rose (rest) will not suit up for Wednesday's preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets. This appears to be a normal rest game for them so the bench players can get some extra minutes. Both players should have late round value in fantasy leagues. However, the injury history could make some fantasy owners nervous about Rose.
Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (hamstring) won't suit up for Wednesday's preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets. Griffin is dealing with a minor hamstring issue, but doesn't believe it will cost him time in the regular season. The Pistons are going to be careful with Griffin, especially because of his injury history. He has solid upside, but fantasy owners should know the high risk of injury.
Detroit Pistons forward Markieff Morris (illness) will play in Wednesday's preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets. Morris has been dealing with bronchitis, but appears to be over it now. Blake Griffin (hamstring) is sidelined for this one, so Christian Wood and Morris will get plenty of run in this game. Morris could be an interesting target for late in drafts, especially with Griffin possibly missing time.
New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (back) is listed as probable for Wednesday's preseason game against the Atlanta Hawks. He missed the last two preseason contests due to a lower back strain. He's battling with Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina for minutes at the guard position. This might be a tough situation for standard league owners, so they may want to avoid this.
New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (groin) was able to get through practice on Tuesday. Ntilikina is listed as probable for Wednesday's preseason game against the Atlanta Hawks. He did not practice on Monday due to a sore groin, but downplayed the severity of the injury. It appears he's actually fine, but will have to battle with Dennis Smith Jr. (back) and Elfrid Payton for minutes at the guard position.
Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (ankle) and guard Terrence Ross (ankle) were able to go through a team scrimmage on Tuesday. Both players missed Sunday's preseason contest due to minor ankle injuries. The fact they were able to get through the scrimmage means they should be fine in a few days. Vucevic and Ross should be fine for the regular season opener.
Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (back) was able to participate in some of Tuesday's scrimmage. Fournier admitted that he was very sore after going through the scrimmage on Tuesday. There is a good chance that the Magic have Fournier sit out for the rest of the preseason. He'll have late round value in most standard leagues, but it's unclear if he'll be ready for the regular season opener.
Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (knee) has been ruled out for Wednesday's preseason game against the New York Knicks. Huerter has been dealing with knee soreness throughout the preseason. However, he expects to be ready to play for the regular season opener. He's not an attractive option in most standard leagues, but Huerter has value in deeper leagues.
Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (hamstring) has been ruled out for Tuesday's preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Griffin is already working his way back from left knee surgery, but has this to worry about now. There is a good chance that the Pistons just play it safe and have Griffin rest for the remainder of the preseason. Fantasy owners should take Griffin knowing the high risk of injury. Griffin does have solid upside, but continues to get sidelined by injuries.
Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney (hamstring) has been ruled out for the rest of the preseason. However, Looney wants to be ready to play in the regular season opener on October 24. Looney has been dealing with a hamstring issue and sometimes those have a tendency to linger. He was able to get through Tuesday's practice, so that is a good step moving forward. Looney is someone worth looking at late in drafts.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (thumb) was able to get through a full practice on Tuesday. Davis wore a wrap on his right thumb, but felt fine after Tuesday's practice. Davis is hopeful to be cleared for Wednesday's preseason game against the Golden State Warriors. It seems like Davis will be fine for the regular season opener. Fantasy owners shouldn't be concerned that Davis will miss any time due to this thumb issue.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland (ankle) will suit up for Tuesday's preseason game against the Boston Celtics. Garland missed Saturday's preseason game due to a minor ankle injury. The Cavs will monitor him closely as they want to be cautious with their rookie. It sounds like Garland will be fine for the regular season opener. He'll have decent fantasy value, especially later in the season if the Cavs aren't competitive.
Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (rest) and forward Blake Griffin (hamstring) will not suit up for Tuesday's preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Both players should be fine for the regular season, but the Pistons don't want to push them in the preseason. Thon Maker and Christian Wood will see more minutes in Tuesday's contest. Both Drummond and Griffin should be solid early round picks in fantasy leagues.
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jordan Bell (calf) will be available for Tuesday's preseason game against the Indiana Pacers. Bell has been dealing with a left calf issue, but the Wolves should be able to get him into the game on Tuesday. However, Bell is going to have limited value even when healthy. He's worth looking at in deep leagues, but that's about it at the moment.