By Chris Sheridan
VILNIUS, Lithuania – Ricky Rubio didn’t score a single point Wednesday in a 77-68 victory over Germany, going 0-for-2 from the field to leave him stuck on just nine points — total — through Spain’s first six games.
He is shooting 4-for-18 for the tournament, he is 0-for-8 on 3s … and he is unapologetic.
“The team has many scorers,” Rubio said. “Sometimes they need a guy who passes well to them, and I try to do my job, what I do best.”
Rubio has accumulated 10 steals over the course of the tournament, adding four of them against Germany — including a game-changer with 2:22 remaining. Spain led just 70-65 at the time after Pau Gasol (who scored all 19 of his points in the second half) posted up Dirk Nowitzki, drew a foul and converted both free throws, and Germany was trying to keep it a one-possession game when Rubio jumped and used his long arms to snare a pass headed for the left corner. Marc Gasol (24 points) then converted a pair of free throws at the other end for a seven-point lead, and it was all but over.
“We couldn’t run, and that’s how we like to play, but we took control of the game in the last five minutes,” said Rubio, who also had three assists without a turnover as Spain bounced back from a loss to Turkey in the final game of the opening round and improved to 5-1 (although they are listed as 2-1 on FIBA’s EuroBasket Website because the first-round victories against teams that have been eliminated do not carry over into the second round).
Nowitzki scored 19 points but disappeared offensively after giving Germany its final lead, 57-56 with 9:41 left in the fourth quarter. He took only two shots the rest of the way, missing them both.
“We did a good job on their stars, Nowitzki and Kah-man. Is it Kah-man or Kaman?” Spanish coach Sergio Scariolo, betraying his lack of Clippers knowledge, said as he turned to his German counterpart, Dirk Bauermann, in the post-game news conference. “Marc tried to stop Kaman from going to his left because he knows he likes that move, and he is so effective because he notices those kinds of small details. It’s not just his size and his scoring ability,” Scariolo said.
Marc Gasol scored half of his 24 points on free throws, drawing nine fouls (a cool stat that FIBA uses in its boxscores), and Pau Gasol shot 6-for-9 from the field with six free throws after going scoreless on 0-for-4 shooting in the first half.