Aussie Mills snubbed for World Cup hero
Spain are the 2019 FIBA World Cup champions after a dominant 95-75 thrashing of Argentina in China.
Argentina were the underdogs who were never expected to make it to the final but knocked off the likes of Serbia and France on their way to an unlikely final match up with Spain.
But Argentina's hopes of a fairytale second World Cup victory after its win in 1950 were quickly snuffed out by a dominant Spain.
Spain claimed its second world championship after winning in Japan in 2006.
The world's second ranked side dominated the final with NBA star Ricky Rubio sweeping all the big awards.
First he was named the MVP of the final but the big award that the Aussie had hoped to take out was the All-Star Five.
Boomers legend Shane Heal in commentary for Fox Sports said "Patty has got to be in this" as it was announced.
"He led the tournament in scoring Patty Mills, he was exceptional, he really was," Heal said.
But when Rubio was named in the All-Star five, Heal was resigned to Mills missing out.
"I think it's just based on that performance today," he said. "Prior to today, there was no doubt that Patty Mills was going to be in the All-Star five but based on positions, there's no more room. That would be a shame."
Mills scored 182 points at 22.8 points per game including a competition high 34 points against Spain in the semi-final, finishing second in points scored, just one point behind Serbia's Bogdan Bogdanovic, who claimed one of the All-Star five positions. Mills also had 2.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.
Rubio finished the tournament with 131 points at 16.4 points per game, as well as 4.6 rebounds and 6 assists per game.
Heal was floored when Rubio took out the tournament MVP award.
"Wow," Heal said. "I reckon there's a massive emphasis on them picking that based on today's game and I'm not opposed to that at all because that's what you're playing for. He had a great tournament but he probably wasn't even in the top five before that gold medal game, so good on him for coming through when it matters."
Deadset! How has Patty Mills missed out on the All-Star five? They put in Bogdan when Serbia didn't even make the Final Four! That is the real #FIBAWC conspiracy!!— Roy Ward (@rpjward) September 15, 2019
The 2019 #FIBAWC All-Star Five. No Patty Mills. Still a pretty worthy group.— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) September 15, 2019
Ricky Rubio (MVP)
Can argue Patty Mills should be in here, but this feels right. https://t.co/vzn0yL8Ic4— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) September 15, 2019
But the final match was all one way traffic as Spain started brilliantly.
Tournament MVP Ricky Rubio scored 20 points and Sergio Llull added 15 for Spain, the ninth team to make it through a World Cup or world championship unbeaten.
Gasol scored 14 for the winners, who never trailed. For Gasol, it was historic.
The Toronto Raptors centre becomes the second player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year, joining Lamar Odom - who did it for the Los Angeles Lakers and USA Basketball in 2010.
Gasol is also the 19th to win either an NBA or WNBA crown along with a gold medal, either of the Olympic or World Cup variety, in the same year and he's the first to accomplish that feat while representing a nation other than the U.S.
When Spain won its first title in 2006, it was Pau Gasol - Marc's older brother - leading the way.
This time, it was the not-so-little brother who led his nation to gold, hoisting the World Cup trophy three months after getting his hands on the NBA's Larry O'Brien Trophy for the first time.
Gabriel Deck scored 24 points for Argentina, which got off to a slow start and played uphill the rest of the way.
Luis Scola was held to eight points, shooting 1 for 10 from the floor.
Spain led 43-31 at the half, riding the strength of two big runs.
Spain ran out to a quick 14-2 lead, only to have Argentina answer with an 11-0 spurt.
But when that ended, Spain came back with a 17-1 run and took what was then its biggest lead at 31-14.
Scola, even at 39 years old still Argentina's best player throughout the tournament, didn't get on the scoresheet until he made a pair of free throws with just under three minutes left in the third.
But they only cut the Spain lead to 19, and by then the Argentinian fans - who stood in the stands a few rows from their team's bench, singing and chanting for much of the game - were relatively quiet.
There was one last gasp from Argentina, an 11-4 run to open the fourth quarter and cut Spain's lead to 12 but Llull's three-point play on the next Spain possession pushed the lead back to 15 and the rest was history.
- with AP
MVP of the Final: Ricky Rubio
All Star 5: Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia), Evan Fournier (France), Ricky Rubio (Spain), Marc Gasol (Spain), Luis Scola (Argentina)
Tournament MVP: Ricky Rubio
6. Czech Republic
15. Puerto Rico
16. Dominican Republic
19. New Zealand
29. Côte d'Ivoire