Utah Jazz: Ricky Rubio wills Spain to Eurobasket Round of 16 win

Utah Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio led his Spanish team to yet another EuroBasket victory and continues to show high promise for the upcoming season.

After going a perfect 5-0 in EuroBasket group play, Utah Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio and his Spanish squad had looked nearly flawless heading into the elevated stakes of the Round of 16. Yet, as well as things had been going previously, they knew they’d be in for a tough challenge heading into Sunday’s game.

Not only would they be faced with increased pressure as they now seek to stave off elimination with each game they play, but Spain would have the daunting task of facing a formidable Turkey squad essentially on their home court with the game being played in Istanbul.

Nevertheless, Spain proved worthy of the challenge as they were able to prevail once again, toppling Turkey by a score of 73-56. Although the score looks somewhat lopsided, the Turkish squad put up quite a fight, outscoring Spain by three points in the second and third quarters to cut their deficit to six heading into the final period. However, Spain used a commanding 24-13 fourth quarter to finish Turkey off for good.

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After two straight games that were somewhat disappointing from an efficiency standpoint for Ricky Rubio, he was able to bounce back in a big way and have one of his most effective games of the tournament. Ricky led his team in scoring with 15 points on 4-of-7 (57.1 percent) shooting from the field which included going 3-of-6 from deep. Rubio also added three assists, two rebounds and a steal along the way.

Rubio has shown plenty of promise all throughout EuroBasket play, but Utah Jazz fans ought to be even more pleased with this latest performance. His efficiency was once again through the roof and he continues to be effective at getting to the line and converting there as well – he went 4-of-4 in Sunday’s contest.

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He hasn’t been afraid at all to pull the trigger from deep as 25 of his 37 shots in EuroBasket competition have been from behind the arc. Although that hasn’t typically been his game in the NBA as just a 31.5 percent career three-point shooter, Jazz fans should feel very encouraged about his deep-ball shooting thus far in EuroBasket play as he has gone an electrifying 48 percent overall.

If he’s able to carry even a semblance of that shooting stroke over to the NBA, the Jazz may have very well gotten a steal of a deal in their recently acquired veteran point guard. Rubio has been one of the driving forces for Spain so far in EuroBasket play and hopefully he can continue to be that same kind of player once he puts on a Utah Jazz uniform for the first time.

Spain will now advance to the quarterfinals where they’ll take on Germany on Tuesday. Germany won a hotly contested bout against former Jazzman Boris Diaw’s French squad on Saturday and will likely pose a significant challenge to Rubio and his Spanish team in the upcoming contest.

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