Spain are the FIBA World Cup champions yet again.
The Spaniards cruised in the gold medal game against Argentina, winning 95-75, claiming their second ever FIBA World Cup title. The Spanish previously won the tournament in 2006, topping Greece.
Ricky Rubio played the starring role, scoring 20 points while adding three assists. But it was a team performance through-and-through, with Sergio Llull (15 points) and Marc Gasol (14 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three blocks, two steals) also putting together excellent performances.
Basketball World Cup @FIBAWC
@kobebryant @facucampazzo @gabriel_deck @cabboficial @BaloncestoESP @tonyparker @manuginobili @chrisbosh @drose .@MarcGasol with 5 dimes already and @rickyrubio9 will say "Gracias Hermano" every single time. #FIBAWC #ARGESP @BaloncestoESP 🇪🇸 📽 https://t.co/U6RPjx3FuZ https://t.co/4kqkAI3u9U
In total, six different players scored double-digit points for Spain, while the team's defense held Argentina to 36 percent shooting from the field, blocking eight shots and posting nine total steals.
Gabriel Deck valiantly tried to keep Argentina in the game, scoring 24 points, but his efforts were in vain against a Spanish side that simply boasted more talent. Nicolas Laprovittola added 17 points in the loss.
Spain did a brilliant job of containing Luis Scola, who was having an excellent tournament, holding him to eight points on 1-of-10 shooting from the field. With the 39-year-old held in check, the Argentines didn't have the firepower to trade punches with Spain.
At a tournament marked by the major disappointments of its favorites, the United States and Serbia, Spain reminded its doubters that it was more than a second-tier team on the international stage.
Nonetheless, this tournament will be remembered for more than just its champions. There was the glut of NBA talent that decided against participating, in particular weakening countries like the United States, Canada and Australia. There was also the major surprise of Serbia and the United States finishing fifth and seventh, respectively, and meeting after both losing in the quarterfinals rather than playing for the title, as expected.
So disappointing were the Americans, in particular, that none of their players were even named to the All-Tournament team:
But Spain were the story on Sunday, and while Rubio was the team's best player and tournament MVP, Gasol is in the midst of a pretty legendary year:
Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps
Quite the year for Marc Gasol, who follows up his first NBA title with his second World Cup title with Spain - 13 years after winning his first. Meanwhile, incredible run for Argentina to reach yet another major tournament final thanks to a throwback performance by Luis Scola.
It's hard to top domestic and international titles in the same year. And for a Spanish side that has finished on the medal podium at three straight Olympics, all without winning gold, Sunday's victory—13 years after first winning the World Cup—is a crowning moment for the golden era of Spanish basketball.