This was the single best game I have seen in EuroBasket 2013. Well, the best second half anyway. Spain had been eyeballing a 3-peat, after winning the last two EuroBasket tournaments, but had their hopes dashed by Tony Parker and a vengeful French team.
If you recall Batum’s assault on Juan Carlos Navarro’s southern front, you already know that it was Spain that knocked France out of the Olympics in 2012. France was able to get their payback today in a more acceptable fashion; a 75-72 overtime win in the EuroBasket semifinals.
It was a very gritty game that saw hard fouls, hard falls, and the occasional injury (none too serious). France trailed Spain 20-34 at halftime after shooting 0-9 from the 3-point line and surviving primarily on the adept play of Tony Parker. The French team had their work cut out for them.
Former Blazers, Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez, picked apart the French defense with not one, not two, but three demoralizing backdoor alley oops over the course of the game. The two combined for 28 of Spain’s 72 points.
Amazingly, France turned their 3-point shooting woes into an exhibition in the second half, sinking 8/10 in regulation. This allowed them to cut into the Spanish lead and tie the game, 61-61, with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
As for the performances of your Portland Trail Blazers, Victor Claver and Nicolas Batum were virtually non-existent, though both served an eventual purpose. Claver was used as a foul sponge when Spain needed to stop the clock, while Batum forced the Spanish team into costly turnovers in overtime.
Claver and Batum finished with only 3 points each. In the end, this was not a problem for France, as Tony Parker did most of the scoring with 32 points. Yeah, it was the Tony Parker show. France will go on to play Jonas Valanciunas and Lithuania in the finals on Sunday.