Spain gets commanding win in Olympic opener against Japan
Spain, Ricky Rubio dominate Japan by holding a double-digit lead throughout the second half
From NBA.com Staff
Spain held a double-digit lead throughout the second half against Japan and went on to win 88-77 in each team’s Olympic opener. With the game tied at 26 early on, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio sparked a 19-0 run and pushed the pace for Spain.
Rubio put on a rock-solid performance with 20 points, nine assists and zero turnovers in 22 minutes played. Spain coach Sergio Scariolo kept his team fresh by giving minutes to all 12 players. Spain’s Victor Claver (13 points), Marc Gasol (12) and Alex Abrines (11) each contributed with double-digit scoring.
“The first impression is just the physicality of it,” Gasol said on the win. “You know it’s going to be physical, but it’s different when you actually get to feel those bumps and bruises.
Japan fought back, but couldn’t break Spain’s experience on the Olympic stage. Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura provided 20 points on four 3-pointers and Toronto Raptors swingman Yuta Watanabe nearly recorded a double-double with 19 points and eight rebounds.
The Spain/Japan match came after Luka Doncic’s masterful performance against Argentina in his Olympic debut. The Mavs’ phenom dropped 48 points, the second-highest points total in Olympic men’s basketball history.