Latvia Roll, Hand France First Loss

05.08.2008

After two losses in a row the home team of Latvia took on the strong French team, and displayed ultimate domination in a show that won't be forgotten soon.

The scoreboard showed 96-73 for Latvia at the end of the game, but at some points the difference was already 41. France just made it look a little better in the last minutes, but will need to find the mental strength to recover in time before another difficult game.

Right from the tip off it seemed like a perfect night for Latvia, while for France, who didn't drop a game until tonight, the balls bounced on the rim and refused to go in.

Latvia climbed to 1-2 while France tasted a loss for the first time, and dropped to 2-1, leaving Montenegro as the only perfect team in Group F.

The Latvians finished the game with 16 three pointers on 43.2%. That is one more basket from long range than the 15 they scored inside the arc.

Dairis Bertans scored 22 points in less than 23 minutes in addition to seven rebounds and behind five out of seven behind the arc, Sandis Silavs added 20 points with three rebounds, assists and steals while three players - Janis Strelnieks, Janis Kaufmanis and Rihards Kuksiks - scored 13.

Edwin Jackson was the only player in double-digits for France with 21. Kim Tillie added seven points, ten rebounds and three blocks.

"I didn't noticed I scored 22 points in 22 minutes," confessed Bertans after the game. "We came ready for this game and right from the start wanted to play hard."

The first quarter gave a glimpse to what was to come. Bertans and Silavs had six long range shots and outscored the entire French team, on the way to a 24-16 Latvian lead.

If someone believed Latvia's hot hand will lose its heat sooner or later, came the second quarter to seal the game earlier than expected.

The duo added three more hits from that distance combining a unique stat of nine hits out of 11 shots.

Jackson was the only living soul in France with 17 points in the first half, but Latvia was in another zone.

Bertans with 18 and Silavs with 14 at the half once again outscored France who reached only 30, as the entire team of Latvia stood on 58 points, with 13 three-balls at a crazy 56.5%.

The Latvian machine didn't stop there, and continued to excite the local fans, climbing to an amazing 41 point difference, even when the long range rain stopped.

France used the last quarter the make the final numbers seem more reasonable but will try to forget this game as soon as possible.

Latvia will hope to keep the momentum going against Russia. France must beat Spain in order to stay strong in the race for the semis.


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