Pau Gasol lit it up from long range to score 30 points and inspire Spain to an 80-66 EuroBasket 2015 Round of 16 triumph against a battling Poland in Lille on Saturday.
Turning Point: Poland led by three points with time winding down at the end of the third period when a completed ‘and-one' play from Nikola Mirotic marked the start of a Spanish upturn. That score buoyed Sergio Scariolo's men going into the huddle and two smart plays from Sergio Llull - the first a hanging jump shot off the glass, the second a neat bounce pass for Felipe Reyes - followed by back-to-back triples from Sergio Rodriguez and Gasol formed the basis of a 17-2 surge to make it 69-57.
Stats Don't Lie: Gasol's 6-of-7 shooting from three-point range, 11-of-14 overall was ultimately the difference in this game. His accuracy helped to counteract his team's 16 turnovers, many of which seemed to be down to lazy passing. The Poles also spent the final 5:31 in team fouls, inhibiting their previously aggressive defence.
Game Hero: Spain could have fallen away early had it not been for the inspired play of Gasol. The look of anxiety on his team-mates' faces as he headed to the locker before tip-off with what appeared to be a tendonitis told its own story. But the 35-year-old returned to connect on his first six field goals, three of them from beyond-the-arc, as he was at the centre of Spain's play at both ends of the floor. He later added three triples in just over three fourth-quarter minutes to put the game beyond Poland, finishing with 30 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
The Bottom Line: Gasol cut a frustrated figure at times during the first half as he almost had to fight single-handedly to keep his team in the game. Nevertheless, the 2011 champions found their rhythm and began to play with a smile on their face to set-up a last-eight meeting with Greece. Poland refused to go away for much of the game but simply came up against one of Europe's greatest-ever players in fine form.
They Said: "You can't win the game if a guy is shooting like that. Bottom line" - Marcin Gortat.