07 September 2002
Defending champion Yugoslavia, New Zealand, Germany and undefeated Argentina all had the day off at the World Basketball Championship tournament as they prepare for their semifinal games on Saturday. The remaining teams were on the court in classification contests.
Spain scored twice as many points as Brazil did in the third period Friday, 34-14, to take control of a previously close game and go on to win, 105-89. Juan Carlos Navarro led Spain with 22 points as the team made more than 60 percent of its shots from the floor.
After a quarterfinal loss to Germany (70-62), Spanish coach Javier Imbroda said his team had to bounce back. "It was difficult to play this game because the team was sad. Now our mentality is, we have recovered our winning spirit. We won. That is most important right now," he said.
Also regaining the winning touch was the host United States, which beat Puerto Rico, 84-74. Paul Pierce of the National Basketball Association's Boston Celtics was again the leading U-S scorer for the seventh straight game, this time with 15 points. Jermaine O'Neal also had 15.
U.S. center Antonio Davis of the Toronto Raptors says the two straight losses coming into the contest revealed the true spirit of the team. "When you are invited to put USA on your chest, regardless of the situation, you come out. And you play hard. And you play with a passion for basketball. I love this game," he said.
The United States will play Spain in the fifth place game. Brazil and Puerto Rico will battle for seventh place. Also Friday, Russia downed Angola, 77-66. Turkey was a 94-86 winner over China. Russia will face Turkey for ninth place. Angola and China will play for 11th place.