France came into the World Cup the defending European champs however they also came in without Tony Parker. With that came doubts… all of which were erased when the French played a great defensive game and knocked off host (and one of the two favorites) Spain.
Saturday, France had one more good run in them. Down seven to Lithuania entering the fourth quarter of the bronze medal game, they got a couple late game driving lay-ups by Boris Diaw that ultimately gave the French a 95-93 win.
France medaled at the World Cup, which is a big step for them.
Nicolas Batum of the Trail Blazers blossomed as a scoring option for France the last couple games and led France with 27 points on 8-of-12 shooting, and his attacking style got him to the line 11 times. Point guard Thomas Heurtel added 13 points for France.
The Raptors’ center Jonas Valanciunas had another huge game for Lithuania with 25 points and nine rebounds.
There will be players that get a bounce out of the World Cup and will carry it over to the NBA season. For example, the most obvious example with Team USA likely will be Kenneth Faried. I would watch to see how Valanciunas and Batum come out of this and into the NBA season. They could see a bounce as well.
The USA will play Serbia on Sunday (3 ET ESPN) for the gold medal. Team USA is a 21 point favorite going into the game according to the betting sit Bovda.