Russia And Spain Into The Semifinals

LONDON – Russia and Spain will square off in one Olympic semifinal, both of them having survived in quarterfinal action North Greenwich Arena Wednesday.

Russia survived a late Lithuania rally and held on for an 83-74 win behind Andrei Kirilenko‘s 19 points and 13 rebounds and some clutch shooting late from captain Sergey Monya. They led five players in double digits for Russia, which finished first in pool play from Group B.

“Sergey Monya, our captain, is the face of everything we do, the face of Russia,” said Russia’s coach David Blatt. “He has played in every game for Russia in the seven years I have been with the team. He came up the biggest at the right time. He made the two biggest shots of the game and maybe of our career together.”

Spain had to survive France and some late-game licks to advance. They closed the game on a 12-2 run and won 66-59 to set up Friday’s semifinal matchup against Russia.

Nicolas Batum took a nasty swing at Juan Carlos Navarro, balling up his fist and swinging below the belt with 24 seconds to play. His frustration boiled over after his team’s inability to finish with a flourish, the loss itself and Spain’s “flopping” as France exited the competition before the medal round.

It was the second or third such incident of the competition, with Chris Paul of the U.S. and Facundo Campazzo of Argentina both taking swings (or at least Paul was accused of taking one) during their last pool play game Monday night.

“I just wanted to give him a good reason to flop,” an unapologetic Batum said after the game. He was called for an unsportmanlike foul but wasn’t ejected from the game. And as players from both sides shook hands, Batum was in the middle of the mix without incident.

He objected to Spain’s tactics afterwards, though, insisting that he Spaniards resorted to acting late with the game on the line.

“That’s not basketball,” he said, haven taken particular offense to the reaction of Rudy Fernandez after he was fouled by Ronny Turiaf in front of the scorer’s table moments earlier. “Sometimes, you have to give them a good reason to flop. And I hope I did.”

Batum’s shot was just the latest hurled at Spain, lambasted by some in the international press for not being able to beat Brazil in their final pool play game. That loss removed them from the path of the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team until the gold medal game, provided both teams make it there.

“It’s pride, pride,” said Spain point guard Jose Calderon. “This is what we’ve been doing since we were like 13 years old, that’s how long I’ve been playing with Pau [Gasol], Juan Carlos Navarro and all of these guys together. And we never play to lose. Everybody can say what they want about Brazil and whatever happened. The bottom line is we lost a game. Brazil played better than us. And it hurts, because it took so many years to gain that respect from everybody, but because some people want to talk about that the last couple of days, yeah, it hurts your pride.”

The lack of respect from France was yet another shot, Calderon said. But one that ultimately doesn’t matter now that his team is moving on to the Friday’s semifinal matchup against Russia.

“I don’t know what was in their minds, I’m not sure,” he said. “But in our locker room, we knew we had confidence. We arrived today and said let’s just play basketball. And step-by-step we focused and we’re going to the semifinals. I don’t know if we’ll win another game or what will happen, but we’re playing again. And that’s all that matters.”

59 Comments

  1. Yago30 says:

    I am terribly worried about all those who thinks that this dirty trick is somehow justified by another reasons. You know the quantity of blows some players receive from the dirty ones because this is the only way to stop an upper team (Pau Gasol and Marc receive countless of them because of their superiority on the painture). Spain is weaker than other years, but one thing must be unforgettable, France did not loose because of the flopping, but they were incapable of doing more than 7 points in a quarter.

  2. atatna says:

    fiba rules are much different from the nba and sometimes you’ll be disappointed with the calls of the ref. that’s why when some european players go to the nba they don’t perform well because they are not use with the physical style of the nba.

  3. Lokaj says:

    oh come on!!.. Flopping?? all players do know how to flop.. but there are some losers who can’t do it lol.. shame on batum.. Even KB can do a good flop.. bottom line, batum is a total loser!

  4. BatFan says:

    A lot of you guys are in the wrong. I’m french, I can understand what Nicolas Batum did, even if I do not approve it at all and for those of you who say that french are the most unsportsmen in the world, take a look at Rudy Fernandez during the Euro2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd0L3DynejQ . As someone said, what thinking about Metta World (War) Peace on Harden, or Bynum on Barea??? I don’t care about the defeat against Spain, I think that the french basketball team is not enough efficient on offence and can’t always win thanks to a good defence, but the spanish team should be ashamed by flopping, which is reflecting an unsportsmanship sense, real sportsman win or lose in their entire dignity, this is not spanish team case, and they also should be ashamed by voluntarily lose against Brazil for not facing the US team on the semifinals, this is not strategy, this is just being scared to death in front of the best team of the championship, I mean “yoohoo Pau, Marc, Rudy, Juan Carlos were are your n.ts????”

  5. Ohmygoodness says:

    How can ANYONE defend what Batum did? A closed fist, right to the nads? If anyone actually think he didn’t do it on purpose, they need to get their eyes or maybe even head checked.

  6. Basketball=FLOPP says:

    NBA FLOPPERS NBA GIRLS

  7. The Only True Bulls Fan says:

    It’s just The Olympics for Christ’s sake. It’s not like you’re getting paid major loot for this, calm down!!

  8. Rocabye says:

    I don’t see how Spain is supposed to be a threat like this. They just don’t look anywhere near as deadly as they used to. It looks like it’s going to be a rather predictable year in Olympics basketball.

  9. dongers says:

    Batum! your a over rated player! Lets see u perform at the NBA!

  10. Chris says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is. He didn’t deny the hit and made his case that Spain are a bunch of floppers. I have nothing against either country, but after watching these games I have to agree with Batum’s case, just not the action (though I can understand his frustration).

  11. Eduard says:

    I’m a Spanish fan. In my opinion it is a no sense to put flopping and agression at the same level. It is like telling lies or killing someone. I agree that flopping is not a good thing, but this is something referees should take into account. What batum did at the end of the game, cannot be tolerated. Never. And in my opinion it is not only referees ‘s reponsability. I think it is FIBA who should wake up and banish the player. Flopping should be punished by referees, and yes, Rudy flops a lot, and Navarro a little bit less, but still. They are skinny players an sometimes use that factor, I don’t like it but agression should be punished. It is a criminal act. Period. Justifying Batum’s action has no sense. No floping or thrash talk justifies that.

    And for people who says Spain loses on purposes… IMO no. Spain is playing poorly. They are shooting very bad percentages, At this level anyone could beat Spain. I’m very surprised they were able to win France. France squad get in panick mode at the end of the game, but they were clear favorites (not historically but in current form). If they didn’t win bus because they put themselves in panic mode when thay had all to win. I understand they frustation, but agressions can not be tolerated. At least I hope Batum thinks about that and apologies some day

    Sorry for my english!

  12. tolindoy says:

    I dont care if Spain deliberately lose against brazil, its called strategy.

  13. mikemelia15 says:

    French are frustrated not all by flopping as number of loses in a row. Batum behavior is a shame. Don´t excuse him, please. They know Spain is playing awful and they thought that will win. Rudy and Navarro are so skinny that gives them an opportunity to increase the effect of fauls constantly. Refeeres didn´t stopped violence and fauls of french, so simple. French needs to play better to win Spain.

  14. Mikel says:

    Damn.. really liked batum.. after that, I don’t want anything to do with him anymore, used to always love his play. Plus batum should understand why it’s hard to beat spain, those guys play team ball since they were kids.. the french team on the other hand just put themselves together at a later stage, maybe another 4 years batum

  15. Uxio says:

    “As Batum explained, he did it on Navarro “to give him a real reason to flop” !”

    Yes! Thats it!

    Lets shoot a bullet in the head of murders instead of judge them.

    Idiot argument. Idiot player.

    France got pissed by losing with Spain… again. And they started to play hard.

  16. Rodo says:

    This is hillarious. If there is a country in the world that it’s know for it’s unsportsmanship that is France. I still recall the rap that Parker gave to De Colo for scoring the last basket that would match them vs Spain.
    Or when they played to loose on the RWC11. They used the substitute team! What about when Henry scored with his hand on the Soccer World Cup qualifing Round kicking Irland Out!

    Look at the stats of the game: France comitted 29 fouls. almost doubled Spain’s. And no flopping causes that. If they had wanted to win perhaps they should have focused on stealing the ball… and not Navarro’s nuts.

  17. ilbe says:

    I would really like to hear what fans of team Spain think about Rudy Fernandez’ flopping. While Batum’s actions can not be tolerated, the kind of flopping that has made soccer a joke is just as bad – or worse – if it becomes more common in basketball.

  18. Renton says:

    What a shame of player Batum is. He actually did a very good match, as well as France, but they did a horrible 4th quarter and Spain won just because they were more focused. There are no reasons to justify his action, moreover the reasons he states are clearly false. Players of both teams flop, dive or whatever you want to call this – haven’t you seen how Pietrus fall on the floor all the time without anyone touching him? The other reason to “justify” this action is that Spain lost on purpose against Brazil. Did you really see the match? I don’t think so.. French players are very bad losers, we already saw this in the France Spain “friendly” match last 15/07/2012, when Gelabale also took a nasty swing at Rudy Fernandez – have you already forgotten this??? In my opinion, the whole French basketball team should be sanctioned as their players keep attacking Spanish players game after game with no consequences, and this goas clearly against sportsmanship. Yesterday Spain lost against France in handball in the very last second and the Spanish players didn’t attack anyone, why French players in basketball should? Something should be done to stop these players..

  19. Damien says:

    Definitely this is another representation of what I’ve been calling the “success by all means necessary” theory. Materialism and wild capitalism make us think that there are no values beyond sheer materialistic ones. Hence, there are no moral values anymore, such as sportsmanship. The result is everybody is flopping around or losing one’s nerves just to get that W. What was supposed to be a game is now a business, what was supposed to serve as a substitute for war has now became war. Sad but true.

  20. Kornualles says:

    Yes, Bayum is also my hero. He was unable to score a single point in the final quarter, the reasonclearly was the spaniards floping. Did the french team lose the game on purpose? because they did the same things that Spain did against brazil

  21. TrueBluer says:

    Is it just me or does Patty Mills from Australia have that KB24 thing going with the ja-bstep fade-away three!

  22. bball says:

    Batums action was worth that call ofcourse but you have to understand the Spaniards have made an art out of “flopping” and when the refs dont revognize that it really gets to opponents nerves.

  23. vic says:

    French complaints are ridiculous.. last year at the eurobasket the french did not play parker and noah in a pool match againts spain so thye could avoid the home team (lithuania) in the semifinals.. thing that was actually quite wierd because lithuania never reached the semifinals and france had to beat greece and russia to reach the final and loose againts spain…
    and to address the critics to spanish flooping i think its really stupid to criticise that comming from the us… i mean you guys are refereed in a different way just because u r team usa and oh ref should respect you.. and to proove my point watch the video of 2008 finals and how u were never called for some crazy travelling…

  24. Gio says:

    Most posts criticize Spain for flopping. True, flopping is unsportmanlike and should be punished. However, flopping occurs in other teams as well, including the US team. How many undeserved fouls they get because players act like theatrically like they were fouled hard even though they are not even touched ? How many of them do theatrically argue at referees calls even when the calls are correct ?

  25. Lakers-R-Us says:

    Batum admits to committing this dirty play! For all of you that are justifying it; this was a dirty foul, plain and simple! Just like the Argentinan guy that fouled Carmelo Anthony! If you can’t lose with dignity you need to pay the price! quit justifying these dirty fouls! And for the dude that mentioned Artest; that was a dirty foul also I will agree! these types of fouls have no place in the game!

  26. Julius23 says:

    I could not even comment to this because its for some reason oviously difficult to broadcast these basketball games in Canada. Not even NBA TV is bothering to show replays, I’m guessing it’s a money thing..Very dissapointed, youd think by this time and age, we’d have all basketball olympic games showing on tv…PS. something is hopefully in place in the NBA for flopping, it’s time they try harder to get that call right..And until they fix that on the International scale, Batum has to be dealt with for that kind of activity, and comments. Shame.

  27. Julius23 says:

    he

  28. snukesniz says:

    Surely with all the controversy in team sports at the Olympics of teams purposely losing to avoid harder matches in the quarter finals and basically secure medals the easiest way to fix it is to have a lottery picked quarter finals rather than it determined by how you finish on the ladder?

  29. Fr3D says:

    Laker Fan? Ron Artest? Catch my drift? Enough said.

  30. And1mixtape9 says:

    Being French, I definitely agree that Batum’s behavior & fault was unnecessary and should be sanctioned. But looking in the root cause of this, the whole issue started with the diving and flopping of Rudy – something must be done with such players, including sanctions.

    I do hope basketball stays away from football (soccer), where diving and flopping here in Europe have demolished many games and ruined it for many youngsters getting the wrong exposure to the definition of ‘sportsmanship’.

    Whether Spain avoided USA or not with their loss to Brazil, who cares – Spain is playing badly this year and the US will beat them by 30 points in final – fact ! But as a player, a referee and a fan…I can imagine the state of mind of any players when you see a guy falling like a drama queen just for the sake of ruining the game and misleading the referees. It’s common knowledge to play this strategy of diving to annoy the opponent and ultimately impact them mentally. Why does this technique works so well? I believe because they know they won’t get caught in most cases.

    Overall, I am disappointed in both France and Spain. Something we should all have realized by now,,,”participating to the Olympics is what counts the most” is not a true statement anymore. Every athletes go there for winning, a medal at least, nothing less. And cheaters will need to be banned before that it frustrates and contaminates everyone.

    Good luck to the US team – you have so much talent that diving / flopping will not reach you – when you play your game, you are unstoppable. Thanks for entertaining us so much and please give us all a good lesson this year again on how to play the game.

  31. alex says:

    i cant’ believe myself and what i’m about to say, but exelent move from Batum , ’cause spaniards (Fernandez and Navaro specially) are big floppers, and their theatrics are ruining the game…..

  32. anserax says:

    Incredible for me to see some post here justifying Batum aggression!

    • dd def says:

      incredible to me seeing people acting like he stabbed a dude. i’m surprised to see this from batum, but from basketball players in general this is run of the mill and you all know it, you’re kidding yourselves trying to sound all wholesome sports purists, its total bs, how can so many people say that it was james harden’s fault for being on the court when artest wrecked him, totally ignore all the mess that happened between argentina and usa, and watch any nba game in which kevin love or blake griffin is playing and still make such a big deal about this. bad judgement yeah, but lifelong crucifixion? i’ve seen much worse. and its never this big of a deal. batum has been, and even after this still is one of my favorite players and someone i’m excited to have on the blazers roster. people need to get over it. had this been someone that we all expect this kind of behavior from then this would be a slap on the wrist and “oh there he goes again” but because batum’s reputation has been clean ya’ll are blowing it way out of proportion and conveniantly forgetting EVERYTHING ELSE that’s happened on a professional level basketball court in the last 2 years, much less since the beginning of professional basketball.

  33. zgillet says:

    I have no problem with punching cheaters in the groin. If only Bruce Bowen got some good nut shots, Vince Carter would have had a different career high.

    • The Fox says:

      And you were probably a bully in school and you probably raise your kids to be bullies. You will get yours one day son.

  34. Steve Knowles says:

    Batum violated the NBA personal conduct policy, David Stern needs to stop being a promoter for a little while and act like a commissioner for once.

  35. Edward says:

    Spain clearly lost on purpose against Brazil ! They took 31 points in the last quarter, come on !

  36. Edward says:

    As Batum explained, he did it on Navarro “to give him a real reason to flop” ! Concerning Fernandez, he is really an actor on the floor, it is sad because he is a great player ! Anyway, it is sure that this year, Spain is clearly overrated. Russia has good chance to beat them next round ! #Kirilenko

  37. sd sampa says:

    That was crystal clear that Spain lost against Brazil on purpose.
    Just watch again the last 5 minutes of the game!
    In Badminton, the Chinese were disqualified for such an attitude.
    Reading Calderon talking about pride is just a shame.

  38. Pak says:

    Batum should not be played never again in jjoo

  39. Joaquin Perez says:

    Honesty, I doubt Spain did play to loose against Brazil. They just played badly (as they did against GB and Russia) by having a good advantage during mostly half of the game and switching to mode ‘relax’ and ‘panic’.
    About Batum’s comments… he and their team are the last to talk. Back on time, less than a year ago exactly, France wasn’t able to beat Spain in the group stages of the Eurobasket 2011 as they did want a better path to the Finals. And now they are talking about Olympic spirit? Sometimes, memory is very weak!
    By the way, Batum’s acts and comments should be taken seriously in consideration by members of the Olympic committee and members of FIBA and they should take action soon. Nobody wants people like him in the game

    • cradok says:

      Come on !!!! Navarro and Fernandez are very good actors. Don’t your remember the ugly foul by Fernandez last year against France. Turiaf didn’t even touched him and he was rewarded for all the flopping game he did. USA will win gold that’s all.

  40. Chemanion says:

    Spain is playing really bad in this Olympic games. We arrived to London with several players injured but we will make better basket to win Russian Team. Spanish Team have good players, some of them a little old (Gasol,Navarro and Felipe Reyes), but we can doing it better than now. If spain recover the best Rudy and Navarro on 3 point line we wil options to play the Final with the great USA Team.

    About actions of Batum, only I can say a thing: Nothing. (Aggression is not Basketball. Besides he “broke” the France’s Team options for win)

    P.S: I’m sorry for my bad English, I’m trying get better on this language. Congratulations for article!!

  41. Keon R. says:

    There’s no excuse for what Batum did but, Spain did do a lot of flopping in that game. I could see how Batum would be frustrated and lash out. Spain needs to play the game of basketball and not Olympic diving. http://bit.ly/RFFFsN

  42. Amitpal says:

    I love that from batum. Not exactly the cheap shot but after taking the shot he didn’t apologize like it was an accident. He did on purpose, had a reason for it and didn’t deny it. I don’t recommend cheap shots but this flopping this is really annoying and Spain and Argentina use it more then anyone. It’s like the coach runs mutiple drills on how to flop. I can’t say if that was right or wrong but still. Batum had a reason it’s not like what that other guy did to melo which was no reason. He said Paul hit him so why did he go after melo. Luis scola and whatever the other dudes name is a bunch of lieing crybabies.

  43. BUDVA says:

    BATUM IS MY HERO!!!!!!

  44. Thenmostlyneutralguy says:

    I liked Nicolas Batum, he was one of my favorite international players… but when I saw that punch at La Bomba’s groin, I lost 80% of my respect towards him. It what absolutely unacceptable that full power punch, and he wasn’t even thrown out of the game!

  45. Common Sense says:

    Here’s my take. Batums foul to rudy fernandez near the end of the game that broke the 1 point lead should have been a foul, but Fernandez should get a unsportsmanlike conduct foul for the acting. Replay clearly shows that nothing happened to him and it was a very week foul. The second foul from turiaf to fernandez not only didn’t deserve the unsportsmanlike foul on Turiaf, but likely should have again been unsportsmanlike conduct foul on fernandez. Finally yes Batum, fouled with a fist, but he would have cleanly hit the ball had navarro not moved it, exposing his groin. Batum simply followed through to complete the foul. Although i still think Spain would have won, this over acting should be penalized if obvioulsy acting, if it’s continued for longer than a minute. Fernandez clearly was over acting everything, pretending to be unable to shoot his free throws. I agre with batum. It isn’t basketball, but then again neither is winding up with a fist. Cheers!

    • Albert says:

      “Finally yes Batum, fouled with a fist, but he would have cleanly hit the ball had navarro not moved it, exposing his groin. Batum simply followed through to complete the foul” Common sense lol you made me laugh. cheers!

  46. JG says:

    Spain is sooooo overrated.

    • Mosensimon says:

      Overrated? You probably do no know much about basketball. What country has men to play near the basket such as the Gasol brothers and Ibaka?. In addition to them, you probably have not seen Reyes play. He would also be an NBA player it it wasn´t because of his tendency to get injured. JC Navarro, in NBA material. He got to Memphis when everyone on the team was playing for the personal statistics. But more than anything, they have been Eurpean Champios and world champions. 7 of 8 possible finals in the last few years. As I said… no idea.

  47. Nikita says:

    spanish girls

  48. Laker Fan says:

    Batum’s attitude can’t be tolerated. unsportsmanship at its best man, do that and say that in the nba and you’ll be facing some serious consequences..

    • The Fox says:

      Yes Laker Fan. I love Batum, he plays for our Blazers but this is unnaceptable anywhere in sports (except maybe the WWE when the ref isnt looking). I feel Blazer management should suspend him for a couple games to start the season. His actions make Portland (and the NBA) look bad. For those who say he was going for the ball, you obviously never played basketball. You dont swipe at the ball with your fist, you swipe with an open hand.

      • Jason says:

        That’s how you teach those spanish players, did that in soccer and now bringing it to basketball. So why aren’t spain eliminated because of trying to lose?!

      • dd def says:

        first off, no one’s saying he went for the ball. batum owned it, and for that i give him props. but how can you say what he did is horrible when CP3 and what’s his nuts from argentina are equally guilty. what he does on france’s team is out of the jurisdiction of the nba, so i don’t think he will or should suffer any penalties from the nba. i’m not saying what he did was right, but get real people, this happens all the time in the nba, although usually it takes form of artest throwing elbows at people’s heads giving them concussions, or bynum knocking little guys out of the air cause he’s frustrated. but that’s all fine and dandy i guess, cause the lakers never can do anything wrong. and if they do, it’s justified right? i don’t understand why people are acting like this is such an unheard of thing. i don’t think that what batum did was the way to go about it, but i’m glad to see he’s finally growing a little backbone.

    • EZap says:

      Batun was clearly swinging at the ball. He missed and the consequense was a hard foul. So be it. Spain is a bunch of floppers, actors and downright dirty players. I wish the USA team would play tougher and quit trying to worry about America’s reputation. The world already knows what we’re about.