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If Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio‘s name had not been announced in the starting lineup, you may not have realized he was there.
Rubio recorded just one rebound, one assist, and two steals for the Spanish men’s national basketball team in Group B Rio Olympics preliminary action versus Croatia on Sunday.
The Croatians upset Spain 72-70, led by Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Bojan Bogdanovic‘s 23 points, three rebounds, and two assists. San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol led all players with 26 points, nine rebounds, and one assist.
Although the first quarter ended for Spain, 21-13, the game ended for Croatia as they outscored Spain 25-16 in the fourth.
Rubio missed Spain’s third shot of the ball game on a lackadaisical three-pointer which set his tone for the rest of the evening. Rubio appeared aloof in just 12 minutes of play.
With 5:38 remaining in the second quarter, Rubio drew his third foul and was benched for the rest of the game. Philadelphia 76ers point guard Sergio Rodriguez stepped up in place of Rubio, recording 10 points, two rebounds, seven assists, and one steal in 28 minutes.
Although the loss is a blow to FIBA’s second-ranked team in the world, Spain has three more opportunities to win in the preliminary round.
Spain faces Brazil, who lost their first prelim game to Lithuania, on Tuesday.
Brad Omland is a basketball writer for HowlinTwolf.com. Follow him on Twitter for Minnesota sports updates and commentary: @bradradio.