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Pau Gasol carries Spain to Euroleague win

Pau Gasol may be in the twilight of an extraordinary professional basketball career, but that doesn’t mean he’s done delivering amazing feats on the hardwood.

Thursday night, Gasol put the Spanish national team on his back with a Herculean performance in the Eurobasketball Championship. His game-high 40 points were half of his team’s point production in the 80-75 overtime victory over France.

After the game, he talked about his motivation behind such an inspired performance:

ESPN:

“I just prepared myself to play at my best level,” said Gasol, now averaging a tournament-high 23.6 points per game. “I was trying to take advantage of the moment I’m going through and the good shape I’m in. Knowing that we have significant players that are not here this year, I knew I would have to carry a little more responsibility. But I try to bring inspiration and motivation to my teammates. That’s what I try to do every single game.”

France’s star player, Tony Parker, went 3-15 shooting the ball. Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum led the team in scoring with 14 points and Utah’s Rudy Gobbert nearly notched a double-double with an eight point, 11 rebound performance for France.

Spain competes against the winner of the Serbia-Lithuania game Friday for the championship.