LONDON — The first ever matchup between San Antonio Spurs teammates Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in a FIBA or Olympic competition lived up to the hype.
And when it was over Parker and France had scored the first legitimate upset of this Olympic competition with a 71-64 win over Ginobili and Argentina Tuesday night at the Olympic Basketball Arena.
Parker was the catalyst for his team, finishing with 17 points, despite a 4-for-17 shooting effort, and five assists in the battle for bragging rights between these two NBA champions and All-Stars. Parker had plenty of help as France bounced back from Sunday’s 27-point loss to the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team.
Nicolas Batum was hot early and late, draining three of his six shots from beyond the 3-point line, and finishing his night with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. France finished the game without both Ronny Turiaf (13 points and six rebounds) and Boris Diaw, they fouled on in a six-second span in the fourth quarter when the game was still in the balance. Nando de Colo (13 points) and Kevin Seraphin (10 points and six rebounds) played huge minutes off of the bench for the winners as well.
France played the game at the pace they preferred for much of the night, hoisting 25 shots from beyond the 3-point line (and making nine) and led by as many as nine points.
Still, they had to hold off the relentless Ginobili and his crew. Ginobili led Argentina with 26 points and five rebounds. But Luis Scola was the only other player on the roster to score in double figures (16 points and eight rebounds).