For the first time in history, the French team won gold in the EuroBasket tournament. France defeated Lithuania 80-66 in the finals today, led by Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, and Tony Parker. The Lithuanian team held tight, and even led, in the first quarter, after a hot start from former Toronto Raptor Linas Kleiza, but was unable to recover their footing when France outscored them 31-12 in the second quarter.
Trail Blazer representative, Nicolas Batum, had a very well rounded game overall, but a truly remarkable first half. All 17 of his points came in the first half on 6/7 (85.7%) shooting.
Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs will undoubtedly be named EuroBasket MVP for his unwavering leadership and prolific scoring ability throughout the tournament. After seven tournaments, Parker is just 9 points away from surpassing Greece’s Nikos Galis as the all-time EuroBasket scoring leader.
Parker remained in the game late into the 4th quarter, despite a 20 point lead, in an attempt to reach 21 points and break that record. Even though he did not get there, it should be noted that Galis played in eight tournaments to Parker’s seven.
This title means a lot to France, who’s title hopes had been snuffed out by the Spanish team in previous years. After defeating Spain in an overtime victory on Friday, their eyes were locked on the gold, and there was nothing Lithuania could do to slow them down.
The final minute was filled with applause from the crowd and chants of “Lietuva” in support of the Lithuanian team that played with a lot of heart, followed shortly by cheers for France in recognition of their accomplishment.