It was like a shootout at the Lithuania corral. OK, so it doesn’t exactly work the same way, but a shootout is what Eurobasket fans got in the tournament opener between France and Latvia.
France, considered a heavy favorite to nab one of the two tickets to next summer’s London Olympics, got a huge game from San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker as he and Latvia’s Janis Blums dominated the scoring throughout the game.
France got a big bucket from Nicolas Batum, who opened up France’s two-point lead after Blum hit a three-pointer and a free throw to close the gap late in the game. On France’s next possession, Mickael Gelabale hut a three-pointer to put France up for good in their 89-78 win.
France ran an uptempo offense to utilize Parker’s speed, but they were able to balance the scoring with Joakim Noah, Batum, Boris Diaw and Gelabale all scoring in double figures.
While he wasn’t playing against NBA-caliber competition, Parker looked to be in midseason form, and even found a way to score outside to vary his offensive arsenal.
Parker finished with 31 points, shooting 71 percent from the field, seven assists and three rebounds. Diaw added 14 points and 5 rebounds for France while Blums had 32 points and six assists for Latvia.
Spurs draftee Davis Bertans displayed a quick release outside while racking up nine points.
Next, Parker and France will take on Israel tomorrow while Bertans and Latvia matchup with Serbia.