Reigning champions Spain are strong contenders to defend their EuroBasket title. The loss against Turkey gave them a setback but Spain bounced back against Germany. heinnews’s David Hein talked to Spain point guard Jose Calderon between the games about the loss to Turkey, if the 2011 champions will be the great European champs ever, and about the NBA lockout.

heinnews: Spain lost against Turkey in the final game of the first round. What happened in the game?

Calderon: I think we had a tough game after we played Lithuania. We left everything out on the court. Maybe we were a little bit tired. We thought Pau would maybe be in there. So maybe our energy was down a little bit. But in the end of the day we’re here where we want to be. We have to win games like we’re supposed to. Now Turkey is here. It’s a great team. And it’s good for the tournament.

heinnews: Teams sometimes say that losses are sometimes good to get them out of the way. Do you think that is the case here?

Calderon: Oh I like to win every game. You can say that losses are good. But at the end of the day we know how we have to play. We showed against Lithuania what we can do. The Turkey game was pretty crazy.

heinnews: How much motivation is there after 2010 World Championship?

Calderon: No, not from last year. We won Europe in 2009 and here will we have to fight against every team. It’s the toughest tournament in history maybe with all the teams – even in this group. We’re going to have to fight every day. It’s not like before where there were easy games. It doesn’t matter what the name, you have tough games. This is the EuroBasket.

heinnews: Saying that this is probably the toughest EuroBasket, would you say that the champions of this tournament are the greatest European champions ever?

Calderon: No, it’s the same. When you are a champion it doesn’t matter when you won it. It’s still the same – it’s a gold medal.

heinnews: What are your thoughts on the NBA lockout?

Calderon: I think we just have to wait and see. For us it’s like nothing changed. We are just focusing on EuroBasket. Hopefully we get an agreement as soon as possible. I think both sides want an agreement, so both sides are getting closer. There’s really not that much for me to talk about. I really know that same thing that you know.

heinnews: Besides winning 11 games, what does Spain need to do to repeat at European champions?

Calderon: Just play like we did against Lithuania. We just have to play our basketball. There are tough teams out there but we’ll see what happens. There are six or seven teams who if they win wouldn’t be a surprise. There are a lot of teams that can win this championship.

 

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