Friday, September 14, 2007


The Raptors' José Calderón has led Spain into the EuroBasket semis, going off for a game-high 17 points in an 83-55 rout of Dirk Nowitzki's German team. So Spain is two wins away from winning a tournament it didn't have to win in order to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, since it's in already after winning the 2006 Worlds.

So who's left vying for a spot in next year's last-chance Olympic qualifier that Canada's in? One of the semi-finallists out of Russia, Lithuania (which barely held off Croatia) and Greece, who nipped Slovenia and Raptors big Rasho Nestorovic in a tense one-pointer. (Rasho put up 16 points, 11 boards and had five blocks, but Greece and Theo Papaloukas ran off a game-ending 14-1 run.)

The other three spots in the last-chance tourney will go to France (Tony Parker of the Spurs and Boris Diaw of the Suns), who lost it in the endgame vs. Russia, Croatia, as well as Slovenia and Germany. Again, what's really impressive is how deep this tourament is. Spain had the only easy win in the quarters; the other three contests were each one-shot games right down to the final minute.

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