In front of their home crowd, Brazil dealt another blow to the reigning silver medalists as they took down Spain with the help of some last second heroics.
With Spain leading 65-64, Pau Gasol missed two free throws, giving Brazil an opportunity to tie or take the lead with 24 seconds remaining.
Marcelo Huertas dribbled the ball up-court, and with the help of a pick from Nene, was able to lose his defender. Plunging down the right side of the lane, Gasol back-pedaled, preparing to sway a Huertas lay-up attempt, but instead, Huertas pulled up for a leaning jumper that would carom off the rim. But Marcus Marquinhos, crashing the offensive boards, was there for the go-ahead tip-in to give the host nation the lead.
Spain had a chance to answer with six seconds remaining, but a Sergio Llull runner would not go down, giving Brazil a 66-65 upset victory.
Brazil spread the scoring around on the offensive end with 11 different players scoring, and only two in double figures. Huertas finished with a team-high 11 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
Throughout the game, the two teams traded scoring runs as Brazil would pull away before Spain inched back into it.
With 2:12 remaining in the game, a Llull triple puled Spain pulled ahead of Brazil for the first time since the 1:47 mark in the second quarter. Spain clung to the lead until Marquinhos’ put-back put Brazil ahead in the final seconds.
Leandro Barbosa and Huertas did an excellent job of controlling the pace for Brazil. The duo picked their spots well, alternating between knowing when to push the ball against the aging Spanish group and taking the air out of the ball when Spain would go on a run.
For the second game in a row, the Spanish veterans looked tired down the stretch and failed to deliver the spark they had provided in Olympics past.
Pau Gasol was the high-scorer for Spain, with 13 points, but he was uncharacteristically shaky from the charity stripe, where he shot just 5-12.
Ricky Rubio’s inability and unwillingness to shoot was exploited by the Brazilians as they either played a soft two-three zone or sloughed way off of Rubio while in man-to-man. He finished with 3 points, on 1-of-3 shooting.
With the win, Brazil moves to 1-1 in the tournament, while Spain falls to 0-2. Spain will need a win against Nigeria on Thursday if they hope to move on to the quarterfinals. Brazil plays Croatia in their next fixture.