France had one of their most challenging games of Eurobasket in today’s matchup against Andrei Kirilenko and Russia.
Russia, who was unbeaten before the game, set the tone early and you could tell it would be a tough game all four quarters.
While San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker has been the hero for France throughout Eurobasket, another player, Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, stepped up when France needed him most to create some separation in the fourth quarter and give Russia their first loss 71-79.
With a win, France will play Spain in the Eurobasket finals. Spain gave France their only loss, but it came when France was missing three of their best players.
More importantly, the win means France has earned a spot in next summer’s London Olympics.
Parker has easily been one of the better players in Eurobasket, playing extremely motivated and when necessary, putting his team on his back.
Today’s game was no different, as Parker was also key late in the game, finishing with 22 points, four steals, three assists and three rebounds.
Parker is currently the third-leading scorer in Eurobasket and is averaging 21.7 points, 4.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
Sunday’s Eurobasket final will be just the second France has played with. They haven’t made it to the final since 1949.