Memphis’ defeat was not all negative
Posted Oct 10 2007 9:55AM
Málaga, SPAIN, Oct. 9 -- The atmosphere in Malaga’s Palacio de Deportes was of complete basketball craze until the very last second of the game, which concluded with Unicaja’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies by 102-99.
The home team made history as they became the third European team to defeat an NBA squad (Barcelona and Macabbi de Telaviv already achieved this feat in previous years). "Evidently, to have contributed in putting Unicaja in the elite group of European teams that have faced and defeated an NBA team, is a proud achievement. It is a historic date for our team," said Unicaja’s Italian coach Sergio Scariolo.
Juan Carlos Navarro also made history by playing his first match with the Grizzlies and scoring 21 points for his new team. "At the beginning I was very nervous as I could not find my teammates nor had space to shoot," said Navarro. "By the second half, I found my rhythm and managed to make good shots. I am happy with my overall personal efforts, but with this loss that does not mean anything."
For now, Navarro complied with the expectations and responded well to the pressure of playing in his own country. Has it been the best game for a Spaniard rookie on his first NBA game."With 21 points, 5 out of 8 being three-pointers, Juan played a great game and tried his best to help us win. I believe that he will play an important role in our team during the season," concluded coach Iavaroni.
The Grizzlies should improve, but the sensation of a special new ingredient remained as expectation builds on the Spaniard’s following performances in the season. "I am especially happy that Juan was one of the Memphis’ stars in his first game," said Scariolo.
Fiesta at the Palacio
A warm welcome
Unicaja’s international power