The game that was expected to be a fascinating showdown between two European powerhouses, turned out to be a show with only one protagonist. And that team was Spain which literally obliterated France, with a 92 – 67 victory.
By combining a defensive plan that dismantled France’s weapons with an offensive output that made the most out of what their opponents gave them on the other side of the court, the Spaniards began building a double-digit lead, ending the first half with a 13-point advantage, 43 – 30.
A blazing Nikola Mirotic scored 14 out of his 23 points in that period while Willy Hernangomez (16 points, 5 rebounds) provided many qualitative minutes for his team. Among other things, his presence disoriented the French defense which sole focus seemed to be how to stop Pau Gasol.
Mirotic returned from the locker rooms determined to finish the job as quickly as possible for his team, firing at will to make it an 18-point match, 48 – 30 in the beginning of the third quarter.
The French tried to answer back but their efforts were futile. And when Felipe Reyes made it a 69 -48 near the end of the period, they simply began crumbling down like a sand castle.
Spain was on the way to a basketball Oscar for their performance, readiness and impeccable execution of their game plan. Meanwhile, France won the golden raspberry for what they presented on court.
While “Les Bleus” kept showing no sign of life, Spain had no problem expanding its lead, even making it a 30-point game, 81 – 51. It was not just a defeat for France, but a humiliation.
It was definitely not the international career finale that Tony Parker dreamed of. And the fact that he was his team’s first scorer (14 points) offered no real comfort. via-eurohoops.net