San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker and draftee Ryan Richards faced off against each other yesterday in day one of the London Invitational tournament. On Wednesday night, Parker and France returned to action as they defeated Australia 71 to 67 in a very close game. Then Richards and Great Britain made a remarkable comeback but fell 75 to 70 at the hands of Croatia.
Parker finished again with a game high 27 points, one assist, three steals, and four rebounds in 31 minutes of action. Another Spurs draftee, Nando De Colo, finished with two points and two rebounds in just 16 minutes of action for France. De Colo struggled shooting as he shot 1-for-6 in the game. Portland’s Patty Mills led Australia with 20 points.
At the end of the first quarter, Parker had seven of France’s 15 points to help France lead 15 to 11. By halftime, the French could only push their lead to five as they went into the half leading 37 to 32. News came out that New York’s Ronny Turiaf broke his hand yesterday against Great Britain and will be doubtful for the FIBA Eurobasket.
Parker made his mark on the third quarter as he was up to 20 points and France led 56 to 49. The game went down to the wire when Parker put the French on his back and sank two important free throws with 9.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to close out the game.
Portland’s Nicolas Batum finished with 16 points, Charlotte’s Boris Diaw had 10 points for France. Mills was the high man with 20 points for Australia.
After the game, Spurs’ assistant coach and head coach of Australia, Brett Brown, said the Australians played very well defensively despite losing.
“It was a fantastic effort particularly defensively,” said Brown.
“To hold that team, with the talent that they have to 71 points was a great effort by our guys.”
Following France’s game, Great Britain took the floor against Croatia. Richards finished with 0 points, 0-for-4 shooting, and four rebounds in 12 minutes of action.
With three minutes remaining in the first quarter and Great Britain leading 16 to 7, Richards was inserted into the game. By the end of the first quarter, G.B. led 18 to 12.
When halftime rolled around, Great Britain was trailing 35 to 23. Their shooting was an issue as they only shot 26% to Croatia’s 48% in the first half.
Croatia’s lead would grow as they led by 16 points, 63 to 47 going into the final quarter. With 5:39 remaining in the game and G.B. down by 12 points, Sam Neter of Hoopsfix tweeted that G.B. “looked defeated.”
The Brits went on a run as they cut the 16 point lead down to five points with 4:19 remaining in the game. Great Britain would get the game all the way down to three points but Croatia eventually closed the door on the comeback.
Parker, De Colo and France will face China tomorrow while Richards and Great Britain will face Serbia in day three of the London Invitational tournament.