France 76 Russia 69

10.09.2003

David Palmqvist

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Tony Parker had 18 points for France
Russia's attempt at another amazing comeback fell short in the quarterfinal against France. France finally got their nerves under control and was able to pull out a 76-69 victory against Russia and became the first team to qualify for the semifinals in Eurobasket 2003.

NBA champion Tony Parker led the way for the French team as he has in previous games in the tournament, but Parker did not have his best game. Parker struggled with his shooting in the game, hitting only 5 of 14 from the floor and 6 of 11 from the line. He scored only 1 point in the fourth quarter and committed 6 turnovers. Parker still led the french team in scoring with 18 points and added 3 assists and 4 steals.

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With 22 points topscorer of the game: Andrei Kirilenko
France got huge contribiutions from two players that had not been playing good in their first three games in the tournament. Center Jerome Moiso, from the New Orleans Hornets, had a big game with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Moiso had been struggling, averging 7 points and recording only 1 blocked shot in the first three games.

Another player that had a big impact in the game was 21 year old prospect, and Atlanta Hawks draft pick, Boris Diaw. Diaw had been virtually invisible for France in previous games, scoring only 2 points in 3 games. In this game Diaw was forced to play big minutes after starting shooting guard Tariq Abdul-Wahad reinjured his bothersome shoulder only 3 minutes and 43 seconds into the game. He did not return after that.

Diaw threw down three thunderous dunks, two of them over Kirilenko, and energized the french team. Diaw fouled out with 8.40 left in the fourth, finishing with 14 points, on 6-8 shooting, and 6 rebounds. Veteran forward Laurent Foirest also had a good game for the french team, with 12 points and 9 rebounds.

"Boris Diaw was a big part of our win. He played good defense on Kirilenko and was really aggressive on offense, which he wasn't in the preliminary stage.", said french coach Alan Weisz.

France seemed to be in total control of the game in the fourth quarter, as they cruised to a 15 points lead, 70-55. After that Russia started their comeback attempt. With the score 70-62 in France's favour Russia began pressing full court and this led to a series of turnovers by France. Russia got as close as 4 points on two occations; 70-66 and 73-69.

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12 points and 11 rebounds: Jerome Moiso
France eventually weathered the storm and held on for the win. Moustapha Sonko hit 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute to preserve the win for France. Russia shot terrible in the game, hitting only 33 % of their shots and they were also heavily outrebounded, 42-30 by the french team.

Andrei Kirlenko almost single-handedly rallied Russia back into the game. He had a couple of steals, a dunk and a 3-pointer in the final minutes but it wasn't enough to get all the way back. Kirilenko played 38 minutes and scored 22 points, had 6 rebounds and 5 steals. Other good performances for Russia came from Victor Khriapa, 13 points and 8 rebounds, and Vassili Karassev, 12 points and 4 assists.

"We came here for the medals so of course we are disapppointed, but today we met a better team.", said Russian coach Sergei Elevitch.


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