Turning point: Boris Diaw scored on three straight possessions to turn a tie game into a 61-57 lead. Russia did not get closer than one point the rest of the way.
Hero: Boris Diaw - his three-possession stretched capped off a fine showing all game to keep France in rhythm offensively.
Stats: France won despite making just 15 of 28 free throws while out-rebounding Russia 39-23.
The NBA trio of Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and Ronny Turiaf were too much as France remained perfect at EuroBasket 2009, beating defending champions Russia 69-64 to take top honors in Group B.
|Ronnie Turiaf combined with Tony Parker and Boris Diaw for 54 points.|
"We played our best game of the tournament. We defended at the same level. But we played much better on offense. We moved the ball much better and found some good situations," said France coach Vincent Collet.
"We really controlled what we wanted to do, committing only 12 turnovers. We dominated the boards. And that was very important for the game."
Turiaf added: "It was a tough game, very hard for both teams. We stayed focused for 40 minutes and played together and we are very happy to have beaten a tough Russian team."
Russia coach David Blatt was impressed that his team even was in the game after looking at the final statistics in front of reporters - including making just 12 of 20 free throws and giving up all the offensive rebounds.
"It's amazing we were in a position to win that game. That just speaks to our character and our ability to hang in there. With the kind of foul shooting we got and giving up 15 offensive rebounds, the sisters of the poor should beat us," said Blatt, whose team will advance along with France and Germany or Latvia to the Qualifying Round.
Russia, who dropped to 1-2, were led by 13 points from Kelly McCarty. Nikita Kurbanov came off the bench to score 12 points and Vitalii Fridzon added 11 points.
McCarty started the game in fine form, hitting a jumper and two three-pointers while Turiaf scored eight points in helping France jump ahead 14-10.
McCarty had to be helped off the floor with 3:32 left in the first quarter after getting hit hard on a drive to the basket.
But the Russian defense, especially Timofey Mozgov and his four first quarter blocked shots, helped keep Blatt's men in the game and Mozgov's basket even gave Russia a 17-15 lead after one period.
The second quarter saw Fridzon and Andrey Vorontsevich nail three-balls in helping Russia build a 28-21 advantage. France worked on pushing the ball after missed long shots and Collet's men chipped away at the lead and eventually pulled ahead 33-32 on Diaw's baby hook shot.
McCarty re-entered the game and made three free throws as the result of a technical foul on the French bench and Russia led 35-34 at intermission.
The Russians again used some long range shooting to pull ahead 47-40. Parker however drained back-to-back triples and Diaw converted twice more in the paint for a 52-51 French lead after three quarters.
Fridzon's three-ball knotted the game at 55-55 before Diaw came up with three straight baskets in building a 61-57 advantage. Kurbanov stole the ball from Parker for a break-away dunk to make it a one-point game.
But Russia went scoreless over the final 3:38 in the loss.
Timofey Mozgow (Russia):
"The game was very tough. Just at the end our opponents were a little better and won the game. I am sorry about the game, but this is a sport. For me it was a great experience to play against a few very good players from NBA."
Ronny Turiaf (France):
"It was a tough game, very hard for both teams. We stayed focused for 40 minutes, we played together and we are very happy with beating a very strong Russian team."
David Blatt (Russia Coach):
"Congratulations to the French team. Both teams played hard, both teams were in position to win the game. We rebounded badly, we turned ball over more, but on the other hand, in the third quarter we controlled the game. Statistically it doesn't make sense. France showed their great experience, they led relatively consisted game during whole 40 minutes."
Vincent Collet (France Coach):
"I am very glad because we beat a very strong Russian team. For now it was the toughest and our best game in this tournament. We played much better on offense than yesterday. We moved a lot and found good situations. The best thing that we've is controlling our game. We knew all the time what we should do with the ball. We had only 12 turnovers, we dominated boards what was the key to win."