With this game opposite a slate of NFL football on a Sunday afternoon, not a lot of you were likely doing what I did — stream the game at home and watch it.
So for you, here are the highlights from France’s 80-66 win over Lithuania, which gave France its first ever European championship. Parker had 12 for France, but it was really Nicolas Baturm who led France’s 18-3 second quarter run that gave them a comfortable lead they never surrendered. Boris Diaw chipped in 15 for France.
As he should have been for his two-week performance, Tony Parker was named EuroBasket’s MVP.
Enjoy these highlights, because it’s the last really competitive basketball you will see until Oct. 29 (no, we are not counting preseason games as competitive).
Luol Deng and his wrist, Joakim Noah and his ankle were two names near the top of the lengthy scroll of Chicago Bulls injuries that undid them in the first round of the playoffs.
But those injuries are not keeping Noah or Deng out of the Olympics this summer. Both confirmed since the Bulls were eliminated from the playoffs.
Deng reiterated what he has all along — that he is going to represent Great Britain and be the face of the host country’s basketball program at the London Olympics, and then he will get surgery on his wrist if needed. Even if that means missing the start of next season. From Aggrey Sam at CSNChicago.com:
“I just know that I’m looking forward to playing the Olympics. I’m excited about it, something I wanted to do since I was a kid and I’m going to prepare myself for it,” he explained. “I’ve got to see how my wrist feels throughout the Olympics, how it feels from now going into the Olympics and right after the Olympics, I’ll make the decision, whether my wrist is good enough that I don’t need the surgery or if I need it, so I haven’t really ruled out not getting the surgery or getting it. I just haven’t made that decision. Just know that I’ve got the Olympics ahead of me. Since I was a kid growing up, it’s something I always wanted an opportunity to be a part of and the fact that it’s in my hometown that I grew up in, in a country that gave me the opportunity to even be here, I’m looking forward to it.”
Noah is part of what should be a medal-contending French side. (The USA and Spain are the teams to beat, but France with Noah, Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum and others could medal.)
Noah will play in the Olympics, he told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. While this was a pretty badly sprained ankle he should be fine for both the Olympics and the start of next training camp.
These decisions — particularly Deng’s — may frustrate Bulls fans, but I find it hard to fault a guy for loyalty to his country when if this were Rose playing hurt to be part of Team USA he would be lauded.
Tony Parker was able to work out a deal with Tony Parker that Tony Parker found acceptable and now Tony Parker will be playing in France if the lockout drags out.
Parker, the Spurs point guard, has signed a deal to play for ASVEL Villeurbanne, the team he co-owns in France, during the lockout, according to Sportando.
It will be formally announced at a press conference on Thursday.
In the meantime, at Radio Montecarlo, Parker confirmed the deal: ‘Today I can say that I signed with ASVEL for the lockout period. I took my decision on Monday. For me it is a big honor to return to France and it is a logical choice to play for ASVEL”. As reported by Basketusa.com, Parker accepted to play for the minimum salary, €1.500 per month and paid his own insurance. ‘I had a rich offer from China and an important one from Barcelona, but I said since the beginning I would have played just in France’ said Parker.
Parker will miss the team’s first game but will debut against Paris-Levallois. Parker played for France during the EuroBasket and was the best guard in the tournament, leading France to a third place finish and a spot in next summer’s pre-Olympics qualifying tournament.
It’s one of the risks of playing for your country — injuries.
Ronny Turiaf was supposed to play for France in EuroBasket, but he broke his hand in a tune-up game against Great Britain. The good news for Knicks fans is that the Energizer Bunny off the bench told NBA.com his hand is nearly healed and he’s ready to go whenever the league is.
“I’m out for another week or so and am just waiting to see if the fracture is fully healed or not and then I should be good to go,” Turiaf said.
“I really don’t have any other choice, so it’s not something I think about if it’s hard or not to not play. It’s not by choice and is now just a chance for me to deal with the adversity. And when I fall down I’m going to get up and run at you even faster, so I have no doubt that something great will come from my play in the long run.”
Say what you will about Turaif, do not doubt his desire and ability to come back.
The Knicks need a big man who can be the anchor on defense and on the boards to pair with their starters. Turiaf is a fantastic guy to have coming off the bench for 15-20 minutes a night, bringing energy. He’s a great guy to have brining his energy to practice and not letting guys coast. You just have to not expand his role beyond what he can do.
Spanish basketball fans should buy Mr. and Mrs. Gasol a dinner and a nice bottle of wine.
It’s because of their sons — Pau and Marc Gasol — that Spain is the champions of European basketball for the second time in a row. Spain beat France 98-85 in the championship game of EuroBasket Sunday to earn the title. France and Spain both earned automatic berths into the 2012 London Olympics by reaching the finals, which in and of itself is a huge win for France.
Pau Gasol had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the title game and was the steady force throughout the tournament. Mark Gasol had 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks against France.
The tournament MVP however went to former Grizzlies guard Juan Carlos Navarro, and deservedly so. He had 27 points in the final game and outplayed Tony Parker (who had 25 and carried the French offense throughout the tournament). Navarro had 25 or more points in all of Spain’s elimination games.
The French team is loaded with NBA talent — Joakim Noah had 11 points but fouled out, Boris Diaw had 12 and Nicolas Batum had 10.
Russia, Macedonia, Greece and Lithuania all did well enough this tournament to earn berths in the pre-Olympic second chance qualifying tournament next July. That tournament features the countries from around the globe that just missed out on earning a berth this year fighting for one of three last-chance spots in the games.