The French National Basketball team will not get a medal during the 2012 Olympics. That’s the easiest way to explain the consequences of losing to Spain during the London quarterfinals. The French had by any and all accounts a really bad fourth quarter. In that quarter, they mustered only six points and one of their best players, Nicolas Batum, looked like Dhalsim from Street Fighter when he cocked his fist back, flew at Spanish guard Juan Carlos Navarro and hit him square on the pills. So a bad final ten minutes for the Olympics all around for Team France. After the game, San Antonio Express News columnist Buck Harvey tweeted that San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker put the loss on his shoulder.
@tp9network: “It’s on me. It was my responsibility.” But what about playing 38 minutes until gassed at the end? It’s on the coach, too.
— Buck Harvey (@Buck_SA) August 8, 2012
As you can see, Harvey didn’t completely agree with Parker’s assessment. The All-Star guard went on to say France gave the game away after leading for much of the first three quarters. Certainly French head coach Vincent Collet could’ve found some time, particularly in the first half, to give Parker more of a rest. Either way, there’s very little shame in losing to this Spanish team. They’re very talented and have a lot of experience. The shame is how guys like Batum handled the impending loss, taking a cheap shot like he did.
The question now is whether this is Parker’s only Olympics. France has already qualified for Eurobasket 2013, where France would need a top three finish to qualify for the FIBA World Cup of Basketball (you can still call it the World Championship). If France doesn’t win the FIBA Worlds, they then have to be a top three team at Eurobasket 2015 to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janiero. That’s a lot of extra basketball for a guy who is now in his 30’s.