Spain wins; Germany upsets Russia
WARSAW, Poland -- Pau Gasol scored nine of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to carry world champion Spain past Britain 84-76 on Tuesday at the European basketball championship.
The Los Angeles Lakers center scored on a putback and then made a free throw and a 3-pointer to put Spain ahead for good at 74-73. That put the world champions back on track in the quest for a first European title.
"We kept our nerves under control and we also hit some important shots and played some good defense," coach Sergio Scariolo said. "We stay alive and stay in the competition."
Earlier, Germany upset defending champion Russia 76-73 behind 19 points and 11 rebounds from Jan-Hendrik Jagla.
Russia, which only has three players from the team that upset Spain in the 2007 final, fell behind early and trailed by double digits for most of the game before narrowing the gap to 68-67 on two free throws from forward Nikita Kurbanov with just under two minutes to play.
But Heiko Schaffartzik hit a 3-pointer for Germany, which held on for its first win in Group B. Germany is without NBA star Dirk Nowitzki.
Russia clearly missed the top two players from its 2007 squad -- guard J.R. Holden and Andrei Kirilenko. But the Russians lost at the line, where they made just 28-of-49 free throws.
"I don't know what to say about the free throws," said Russia coach David Blatt. "Sometimes it's contagious. If you see one guy miss, others miss as well."
In Group C, a young Serbia looked nothing like the squad that stunned Spain on Monday, falling to a hot-shooting Slovenia 80-69.
Lithuania struggled in an 86-75 loss to host Poland. Turkey cruised past Bulgaria 94-66.
In Group A, Macedonia defeated Israel 82-79 and Greece improved to 2-0 with a 76-68 win over Croatia.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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