Olympic basketball is rarely a thing of beauty. At least for us spoiled Americans that are accustomed to watching the best ball on the planet Olympic hoops can be a real chore. Of course it’s not like we’re talking about teams without any NBA players on the roster. Both Spain and France boast of plenty of NBA talent yet the two teams tangled in a pretty hideous game of hoops today in London.
Spain’s 66-59 win was far from entertaining but at this stage a win is a win.
The 22 points France hung on the scoreboard in the first quarter was good for the only quarter in which the teams eclipsed the 20 point plateau. For good measure the French also authored the lowest point total for any quarter during the contest. In the final frame France scored a pathetic six points.
Nicolas Batum of the Blazers scored the final points of the contest for the French (not counting a meaningless hoop as time expired). Batum’s 9th and final point of the game came with just under 7 minutes to play. From there out it was all Spain.
Marc Gasol put in work scoring a team-best 14 to go along with 8 boards. He also hit a crucial three in the second quarter that gave Spain a lead they’d never relinquish.
Not to be outdone by his brother, Pau posted a double-double going for 10 and 11.
France got 15 a piece from Tony Parker and Boris Diaw but that hardly matters when the two combined to shoot 12 of 31. But that was a common theme.
Neither side shot over 37% for the game as a sloppy Olympic battle went the way of the Spaniards. But you won’t hear any apologies for an ugly victory. Not with the way Spain limped into the knockout round and certainly not if their medal dreams are still very much alive.
Up next for Spain is a matchup with Russia who knocked off their longtime Lithuanian rivals today. That will be the first semifinal the second pairing will be decided today.