After holding the lead for three quarters on Wednesday in London, San Antonio Spurs players Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, and Nando De Colo couldn’t put up no more than three baskets in the final quarter, as Spain eliminated France from the Olympics 66-59 with tough fourth quarter defense.
Parker and Diaw were the only bright spots for Les Bleus as they combined for 30 points, but they were held scoreless in the final quarter as Marc Gasol (14 points), Juan Carlos Navarro (12 points), Pau Gasol (10 points) and the rest of the Spain’s defense was just too much in the end. Here’s the rundown.
First quarter: France (FRA) 22, Spain (ESP) 17
Player of the quarter (FRA): Diaw, Parker – Both Spurs had half of France’s first quarter points combined, as Diaw scored eight points by driving to the basket and hitting 3-pointers, while Parker was connecting on floaters and jumpers.
Player of the quarter (ESP): Navarro, Pau – Though the French tried to get the ball out of Pau’s hands when he caught it, he still managed to score six points in the first. Navarro hit his own floater in the first, to score five points in the quarter.
Spurs spotlight: De Colo scored his only two points in the first; both were free throws as he drew contact on a mid-range jumper.
Second quarter: FRA 37, ESP 34
Player of the quarter (FRA): Florent Pietrus – Pietrus (10 points) scored eight points in the second quarter after the Spanish used a zone defense to force the French offense out of its comfort zone.
Player of the quarter (ESP): Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Llull, Marc – Fernandez, Llull, and Marc all added five points a piece in the second quarter for Spain.
Spurs spotlight: By halftime, Diaw had 10 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Parker didn’t score, and had two turnovers, while De Colo also missed an open 3-pointer, but added two turnovers as well to his line.
Third quarter: FRA 53, ESP 51
Player of the quarter (FRA): Diaw, Parker – Parker added seven points in the third, by hitting floaters and even knocking down a 3-pointer, while Diaw also kept up the aggressive play with five points in the quarter, most noticeably another 3-pointer for him. Both players had 15 points each after three quarters.
Player of the quarter (ESP): Marc, Navarro – Marc put up seven points in the quarter since the French were intent on limiting Pau, and Navarro was up to 11 points after three quarters.
Spurs spotlight: De Colo didn’t play at all in the third quarter.
Fourth quarter: FRA 59, ESP 66
Player of the quarter (ESP): Spanish defense – The Spanish defense was incredible in the fourth quarter with their zone defense. France wasn’t able to penetrate into the paint, and every outside shot was either forced or shot from an off-rhythm position.
Once the game looked like it was decided in the final minute, France lost their cool. First they hit Rudy Fernandez with a cheap shot in the back. Then, after having to intentionally foul, Nicolas Batum threw a punch straight into Navarro’s groin out of frustration. Jose Calderon and Batum got into it verbally, but Batum was called to the bench.
Spurs spotlight: De Colo was blocked for a layup driving to the basket midway in the quarter that resulted in a Llull dunk on the other end, which gave Spain the lead in the fourth quarter.
Parker finished with 15 points (6/20 shooting), six rebounds, and two turnovers. Diaw finished with 15 points (6/11 shooting), eight rebounds, and five assists. De Colo finished with two points (0/3 shooting, two rebounds, and two turnovers in just barely 12 minutes of action.
Spain will move on to play Russia in the Semifinals, while Parker, Diaw, and De Colo made it through the Olympics in full health as they rest and recover for Spurs training camp coming soon.
For Parker, this was a tough loss. Reports after the game from writers in attendance said he grabbed his goggles and threw them on the floor, and the goggles shattered into pieces.