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Group:  E | 11.09.2011, 18:00h
Group:  E | 11.09.2011, 18:00h
69-96
22 - 2116 - 1810 - 2921 - 28
22 - 2116 - 1810 - 2921 - 28
Venue: Vilnius (LTU) |
Spectators: 7000 |
Referees: Sreten Radovic (CRO), Olegs Latisevs (LAT), Miroslav Tomov (BUL)

GAME REPORT


Spain Blow Out France, Clinch Top Spot

Turning Point: Spain led 39-38 at half-time and held France to just four points over the next eight minutes as the defending champions went on a 27-4 run to pull away.

Game Hero: Spain's Rudy Fernandez had 13 of his 15 points in the third quarter. He also pulled down four rebounds, dished out six assists and came up with three steals.

Stats Don't Lie: France had eight of their 17 turnovers in the third frame. Spain were 10 of 19 (53%) from three-point range while France finished three of 11 (27%). France were out-rebounded 28-24.



France decided to give Tony Parker and Joakim Noah the day off and Spain took full advantage by blowing out Les Bleus at the Vilnius Arena.

Spain's Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Fernandez led the way as the defending champions whipped the French, 96-69, and leapfrogged them into first place in Group E.

While France saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end, Spain won for the sixth time in Lithuania.

Spain coach Sergio Scariolo didn't sit down his stars but instead threw everything he had at France to win.

"It was a weird game but we wanted to respect our opponent as well as other teams who are playing in this tournament to define the final positions and especially for ourselves, we believe there is nothing better than a good game to improve and get better," he said.

"This was our motivation. Everybody gave something.

"We get to the point with the do-or-die competition starts.

"We know we start from zero but it's better to get there in the right way."

Vincent Collet, the France coach, defended his decision not to play Noah and Parker.

"The doctor asked me not to play Joakim Noah," he said.

"He has a calf problem, so I followed his advice.

"Tony felt tired after the last couple of games and we decided to make him rest."

Navarro hit all four shots from behind the arc he attempted in the first half and finished with 16 points while Fernandez had 13 of his 15 points in the third quarter when Spain broke open a close game.

With Fernandez stealing the ball three times to trigger fast-breaks, the Spaniards outscored France 29-10 in the quarter to stretch a 39-38 half-time lead to 68-48.

The advantage ballooned to 33 before Spain settled for a triumph of 27 points.

In the first half, France did play well without Parker, arguably the best player at the EuroBasket before Sunday's play, and Noah.

Big man Kevin Seraphin showed a soft touch up to 15 feet and made six of his seven shots before the break.

He had 14 of his game-high 18 points in the first two quarters while center Ali Traore had 10 of his 16 points before half-time.

The two sides will now sit back and watch how Group F unfolds, but Spain know their next opponents will be either Slovenia or Finland.

France will go up against Greece in a continuation of their rivalry.

The biggest game between the French and Greeks in recent times was played in the Semi-Finals of EuroBasket 2005 when Greece battled back from a 62-55 deficit with 47 seconds to play to win 67-66.

Greece then beat Germany to capture the gold medal and France hammered Spain in the bronze medal game.

Current France players Parker, Boris Diaw, Florent Pietrus and Mickael Gelabale were in that Les Bleus squad.

Collet's team is no longer unbeaten but he says the team's focus was on getting ready for the knockout stage of the tournament.

"We know that whatever happened tonight would not change a lot," he said.

"We want to be ready for the Quarter-Final.

"We are not so deep as Spain is and we wanted Tony to be fresh.

"Our goal is to go to the Olympics. You can reproach what you want."


 

 

COACH QUOTES


Quotes France vs. Spain

France Head Coach Vincent Collet:
"We were happy with the first half. Despite missing Tony, Joakim and Mickael, we played well. Our first half gave us too much confidence and we started the second half very badly. Spain played very well. Our team doctor asked me not to play Joakim Noah because he had a calf problem and I opted to rest Tony because I want him fresh for the Quarter-Finals."

France Forward Boris Diaw:
"We played pretty good in the first half. We didn't come out with the right mindset after the break. Missing certain players did not help. Congratulations to Spain, they played very well."

Spain Head Coach Sergio Scariolo:
"It was a weird game. We wanted to respect our opponents and the other teams that are competing in the final standings. Above all, we wanted to win for ourselves. We believe there is nothing better than to have a good game, improve and get better. These were our motivations for this game."

Spain Guard Rudy Fernandez:
"We played better on defense in the second half and that was the key. We took care of the ball. We played aggressive which was what we wanted. It was important for us to get this win and to finish top of our group."

Top performers

Accumulated statistics

44.6%

25/56
FG
M/A

54.0%

34/63

48.9%

22/45
FG2P
M/A

54.5%

24/44

27.3%

3/11
FG3P
M/A

52.6%

10/19

76.2%

16/21
FT
M/A

81.8%

18/22

28

8/20
RT
RO/RD

35

11/24

9

AS

23

17

TO

14

7

ST

10

2

BS

2

22

PF

20

69

Pts

96

PHOTO GALLERY

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