KAUNAS (EuroBasket 2011) – Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum have provided a near carbon-copy to their performance in France’s quarterfinal victory over Greece in their 79-71 win over Russia, combining for 15 final quarter points to set up a EuroBasket final with Spain.
On Wednesday night Batum and Parker would hit 18 in the final quarter against Greece and they were back doing it again on Friday as they lit up just as Russia threatened to come back.
Parker would finish with 22 points and Batum 19.
Andrei Kirilenko was the leader for Russia with 21 points, but foul trouble would once more limit his involvement.
In a game that had seen the lead change eight times and scores tied on a further eight occasions, Joakim Noah would finally give France the break they needed, picking up two big offensive rebounds before hitting two jump shots from under the hoop late in third quarter to give France the break they needed. Ali Traore would then come off the bench with two minutes to go in the quarter, claiming four quick points to set up the stage for the main act to come on.
“He got us tonight”, Russian Head Coach David Blatt told media in relation Parker. “But the guy who really hurt us was Batum. Parker just had what is normal him and un-normal for most human beings…the two made the big plays at the big times and French team helped them.”
“We are very happy to be qualified for London. It was our goal coming here. But also this is only the second time that France will get the chance to get the gold medal. The first time was in 1949 so for sure we are very very happy.”
In that final, played more than half a century ago, France lost to the unlikely European Championship opponents Egypt. This time, the French will be out for revenge against a Spain team who dispatched them - missing Parker and Noah - with ease.