Team USA better watch out because Spain is rolling. The world's No. 2-ranked team dominated once again on Sunday, defeating Egypt by a score of 91-54 thanks to its Big Three of Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com noted one lineup change for Spain before the game:
Spain starting Fernandez instead of Llull vs. Egypt. Other 4 starters (Rubio, JCN, Pau, Marc) the same.— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) August 31, 2014
The Spaniards got off to a hot start, combining their prowess in the paint on both ends of the court to take a 26-10 lead after one quarter of action. The Gasol brothers established themselves inside early, with six of the team's first eight points coming on dunks from the duo.
Sergio Garcia-Ronras of MARCA tweeted another game's result that could have been on Spain's mind early in the contest:
Spain 15, Egypt 2 after 5 minutes. USA's win against Finland, by 60, in spaniards' mind?— Sergio García-Ronrás (@s9rgio) August 31, 2014
Perhaps a little overwhelmed, Egypt's struggles in the first quarter could be attributed to an abundance of attempts from behind the arc—the team shot seven times from downtown, missing each one.
It appeared as through the rout was on. However, Egypt wisely revised its approach.
The team attempted more shots from inside, and Ibrahim Elgammal began to catch fire late in the half, keeping the second quarter's score to a respectable 16-14 in Spain's favor. Regardless, if Egypt wanted to contend after the break, a big uphill climb would be necessary to come back from a 42-24 deficit.
Sportando reflected on the game's halftime score:
Spain is not having problems vs Egypt: 42-24 at halftime #Spain2014— Sportando (@sportando) August 31, 2014
Things quickly began to spiral out of control for Egypt in the third quarter, as Ibaka and Rudy Fernandez began to hammer away at their opponent's defense from the interior, racking up dunk after dunk en route to a quick 11-0 run.
This tweet from Liga Endesa summed up the third quarter perfectly:
Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman provided his thoughts on why Ibaka has been playing so well:
Hamstring healthy RT @johnschuhmann Ibaka has three sky-walking dunks in the third quarter here in Granada. Spain up 30 on Egypt.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) August 31, 2014
For the remainder of the quarter, Spain remained patient, tallying points in the paint while forcing Egypt to rely on jumpers on the other end of the court. This strategy resulted in yet another decisive quarter for the Spaniards, increasing their lead to 27 heading into the game's final 10 minutes.
Egypt began the fourth quarter on a 5-0 run; however, that would be short lived. Spain only continued to increase its efficiency over the final period, bucketing shots from both inside and long range to rack up a total of 27 points to Egypt's 17.
Ibaka was the game's high scorer with 18 points, coming down with eight rebounds as well. His efforts in the paint allowed Spain to out-rebound Egypt 47-33 for the game. The Gasol bothers combined for 20 points and three blocks, while Fernandez hit 5 of 8 attempts from the floor for 14 points.
NBA on ESPN tweeted Ibaka's final numbers:
It was all Elgammal on Egypt's side. He was the team's only player to come away with double-digit points, putting up 16 on the day. The guard connected on 42 percent of his shots against Spain, but Egypt only shot 34 percent as a team.
Egypt falls to 0-2 for the tournament and will have another difficult test forthcoming against France on Monday.
With the win, Spain moves to 2-0 in group play and has outscored its opponents by a combined 67 points. The team proved once again why it is one of the clear-cut favorites this year—especially considering Team USA's early struggles against Turkey on Sunday.
Spain will take on a very good Brazil team on Monday. The Brazilians sit at 2-0 in group action after defeating France and Iran by a combined 31 points. Although, if Ibaka and Co. put up another similar showing, we could see Spain on the winning end of yet another rout.