NBA Europe Live Tour 2007 finishes with a bang
Posted Oct 11 2007 8:31PM
Málaga, SPAIN, Oct. 11 -- After visiting six cities in twelve days, the NBA Europe Live tour sponsored by EA Sports comes to an end.
"The games, at different European cities, have had complete success," said NBA Commissioner David Stern at a press conference in Madrid. "I want to thank the Madrid community, the Euroleague, my friends at ACB and our sponsors: EA Sports, Adidas and Powerade. Thanks to your help this great event was possible."
The last Europe Live game was a true classic as Real Madrid faced the Raptors. It was the match-up that more than 13 thousand fans were expecting at Madrid‘s Palacio de Deportes. The Real Madrid, without their best player Felipe Kings, defeated Toronto by 104-103.
"The Real Madrid played very well. They had great three-point shootings, and they deserved the win," said Sam Mitchell, Raptors’ coach. "It was a great pre-season game because it was very competitive. That is what these games are for, to identify the role of each player in the team."
This marks the third victory by a Spanish team in the last four meets between Spaniards and NBA franchises. On Tuesday, Unicaja made history. Today, Real Madrid ratified why the ACB is the second league with the best basketball level in the world.
Real Madrid was able to recover after the first quarter (29-22), and it was an excellent rival by maintaining the game balance until the very end. American Louis Bullock, with 27 points, was one of the home team stars today.
"It was a great game for Spain and for the fans," said Bullock. "The two teams fought hard to the end. I am very pleased will the entire squad. This win motivates us to continue playing in our local league."
The Raptors have finalized their Europe tour with a 1-2 record, and now they return home to continue working on the pre-season. "The NBA has come to Europe again, and it gives me great happiness to have played three games in my country. This has been a special game for me, but I think the most important this is that all the fans had a good time and enjoyed first hand this experience," said Jose Calderon.
Ovation the champions
During the two games’ interval, ACB President Eduardo Portela delivered a silver star to Garbajosa, Calderon and Gasol for the gold medal won at the World Championship in Japan. The fans cheered on for many minutes as the Spanish players received this honor in the middle of the court.
An easy win for Grizzlies
The first game of the doubleheader was easily controlled by Pau Gasol’s Grizzlies.
Memphis did not want what happened in Malaga to repeat in Madrid, so from the start of the game they made clear that they meant business. Even though the difference in the first quarter surpassed 25 points, fans were still animated and cheered strong from the stands. The crowd celebrated each basket no matter if it was by the Grizzlies’ or Estudiantes’.
“The tour in Spain has been very positive,” said Gasol. “With all the changes in our coaching staff and with the players, we have fulfilled the goal to get to know each other better. Today we went after the win from the very first minute, and we got it. Now we must think about the Timberwolves, our next pre-season rivals.”
Overall, it was a bit of a showy game due to the Memphis’ superiority. A Spanish journalist colleague dared to say during halftime that the game “seemed more like a practice, but with public.”
Iavaroni took advantage of the opportunity to try different lineups. B. Cardinal and C. Jacobsen contributed a lot of energy from the bank and had an outstanding defensive presence in-court.
The NBA team immediately traveled after the game back to Memphis in order to prepare for their next game on Monday against the Minnesota Timberwolves