Skip to content

Behind Parker and Batum, France cruises to first European championship

Sep 22, 2013, 5:07 PM EDT

France's Parker attempts to get past Lithuania's Seibutis and Maciulis during their European championship basketball final match in Ljubljana Reuters

Tony Parker has three NBA titles and a Finals MVP, but in six previous attempts he had not been able to lead his native France to a EuroBasket championship.

Until Sunday.

France won it’s first ever European title on Sunday, pulling away from Lithuania in the second quarter and cruising to an 80-66 win.

France did it with a lineup that should look pretty familiar to Spurs fans — Parker, Boris Diaw, and Nando De Colo. But it was another NBA player who key on Sunday in Slovenia.

Portland’s Nicolas Batum took control in the second quarter when France pulled away with an 18-3 run that led to a 31-12 quarter for France. Batum hit a few threes and finished with a team high 17 points on the night, plus six boards.

Lithuania led by three after one quarter — mostly thanks to Linas Kleiza —but after the run they were down 16 at the half and the entire second half felt was like a coronation for France. The outcome was never really in doubt those final 20 minutes.

For past couple weeks of the European championships Parker has been the best player on the court, but in the championship game he was a cold (4-of-14 to start, he hit 2 of his last 3 and finished with 12 points). But the win is all he will care about — Parker has been incredibly loyal to the French national team for years and has said a European championship was something he really wanted on his resume. Now he has it.

The Raptors Jonas Valančiūnas had looked strong through the tournament but he played just 11 minutes in the finals and had no points and three rebounds. He had some foul trouble but not going to him more was an odd coaching choice.

Diaw added 15 points and six boards for France. Kleiza had 20 points to lead Lithuania.

In the days earlier game, Spain crushed Croatia for the bronze medal, winning 92-66. All four of those teams will be in Spain next year for the World Championship, although France may be without Parker.

Latest Posts
  1. Jerry Colangelo on James Harden leading Team USA: ‘He’s the one’

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT

    Puerto Rico v United States Puerto Rico v United States

    Rockets guard continues to draw praise after offseason of petty comments

  2. Dion Waiters: Kevin Love ‘thinks I’m underrated’ and ‘knows I pass the ball’

    Aug 27, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT

    Dion Walters, Kevin Love Dion Walters, Kevin Love

    Waiters on the possibility of playing with Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving: ‘I’ve got to destroy my opponent’

  3. Michael Beasley gets second Lakers workout

    Aug 27, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat

    Former No. 2 remains unsigned after disappointing season with Heat

  4. Doc Rivers got PAID

    Aug 27, 2014, 4:22 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers

    New contract with Clippers makes Rivers the NBA’s highest-paid coach

  5. Cavaliers sold Kyrie Irving on contract extension with LeBron James-Kevin Love plan

    Aug 27, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat

    Go back to July 1 and consider the possibility of LeBron James and Kevin Love playing for Cleveland this season

  6. Kevin Love says Timberwolves owner should focus on his own team following trade to Cavaliers

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT

    Kevin Love Kevin Love

    Minnesota’s owner tried to point out some of Love’s flaws once the deal was done.

  7. Doc Rivers signs contract with Clippers through 2019

    Aug 27, 2014, 12:21 PM EDT

    Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer

    Clippers owner Steve Ballmer calls keeping Rivers ‘one of my top priorities’

  8. Donald Sterling doesn’t appeal, basically throws in towel on owning Clippers

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT

    Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

    Donald Sterling will try to embarrass the league going forward, but he will not ever own the Clippers again.

  9. Iman Shumpert excited to play in triangle offense because he won’t just have to stand in the corner

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT

    Miami Heat v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Shumpert and other Knicks will love an offense with player and ball movement… if ‘Melo shares the rock.

  10. Sixers GM says he never had conversations about acquiring Anthony Bennett

    Aug 27, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT

    Sam Hinkie

    Sixers value a pick in next year’s draft more than they do Bennett at this time.

  11. Report: Clippers plan to stretch Carlos Delfino, waive Miroslav Raduljica

    Aug 27, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT

    Carlos Delfino Carlos Delfino

    Clippers could sign Chris Douglas-Roberts, Ekpe Udoh with freed cap space

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Love (4011)
  2. D. Rose (3881)
  3. K. Bryant (2772)
  4. L. James (2772)
  5. T. Young (2765)
  1. K. Irving (2678)
  2. E. Bledsoe (2158)
  3. G. Hayward (2105)
  4. A. Davis (2014)
  5. R. Allen (1983)