Earlier this week Spain was at the center of an Olympic controversy with many in the media wondering if the team intentionally threw a game against Brazil in the 4th quarter on the final day of group play. The loss cost Spain the top seed in the group, which in turn allowed Spain to avoid seeing Team USA in the semifinals. Marc Gasol is disgusted by the idea of intentionally losing a basketball game and Spain proved that by defeating France in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, 66-59. Gasol scored 14 points in the contest. Spain advanced to play Russia on Friday.
Marc Gasol joined WHBQ in Memphis to discuss his disappointment with Spain being questioned as to whether they intentionally lost to Brazil to avoid the U.S., playing hard in every game that Spain competes in, Spain struggling to be consistent in the Olympics, being excited about the Memphis Grizzlies offseason and the game plan needed to beat Team USA.
How disappointed were you that the team was questioned about whether they intentionally lost to Brazil to avoid the U.S.?
“You know it’s tough. It’s not in our DNA to lose or even to do it on purpose. It really blew me away. It’s crazy people are going to ask you that, but it is what it is. People are going to ask whatever they feel like they are going to ask, but we gotta keep our mind on our goal and our goal is to play for the gold medal.”
It’s hard to believe you would throw a game especially with the numbers you put up in the game against Brazil?
“It’s definitely not. It’s definitely not. You guys know that and a lot of people follow us. We represent our people, not only in Spain, but all over the world. We represent so many communities and we would not just do that. We work too hard and we would not to be able to go to sleep at night knowing we tried to play to lose. That’s out of the picture. That’s not something…it shouldn’t bother us right now. We gotta worry about our game. We gotta play the way we want to play. Playing the best basketball. We are not playing on our level and that’s what we gotta talk about.”
Why is Spain struggling in this tournament?
“We are not playing consistently. We are not playing enough minutes of good basketball on both ends. We play a good eight minutes of offense and a good eight minutes of defense, but then we struggle when we play a bad 12 minutes or a bad half. We are not being consistent and we gotta work on that. I’m pretty sure the next game is do or die and the team has always risen up in those sort of games.”
What’s your take on what Memphis has done to improve the team in the offseason?
“I am very excited. I am very excited. It’s a tough business. Losing O.J. Mayo is part of the business, but you just can’t do anything about it. I wish him the best of luck. I told him that and bringing back Darrell Arthur and Marreese Speights are big for us. They are going to be a big part of what we are trying to do, but it’s not about players. It’s about how we work. The expectations are going to be there and we gotta work really hard if we want to take it to the next level. Everybody has gotta be on the same page from the first day of training camp.”
What would it take for you guys or anyone to beat this United States team?
“You gotta be very disciplined in order to beat them. You can’t fall into their game. They want quick possession. They want to get the ball and run and go at you and score easy buckets. They have so many players that can score. You gotta give up something. That something you give up is a pretty good player. You can take two or three options away, but the other two are pretty good too. You take away Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant you still got LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony or Chris Paul. They have a pretty good team, but you gotta be very consistent and very disciplined the whole game or you are not going to have many chances to win.”