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What a magnificent game of basketball, all around. It came right down to the wire, with France pulling away late & then holding onto the lead with some clutch free throw shooting all around. Vincent Collet did an excellent job, that was some magnificent coaching. Overcoming the loss of talents like Tony Parker, Ronny Turiaf, Rodrigue Beaubois, Joakim Noah & Mickaël Pietrus. All of which play in the NBA. They won on a day when the "team veteran" Boris Diaw shot a horrendous 1/7. Not enough can be said about France's team performance today.
This Spanish team has been together for the better part of the decade, although missing the likes of Pau Gasol & Jose Calderon. It featured a veteran lineup with Felipe Reyes, Jorge Garbajosa Juan Carlos Navarro - All who have been playing together since 2001. The Spaniards run & gun style offense at first startled the Frenchman early in the game. With Rubio making a couple of his usual eye opening plays. Old Rudy was present here today as well, a nice finish on an alley oop, a great cut through the lane & a couple of his (former?)trademark 3's. In the end, the excellent ball movement, slashing & team defense of The French National team was too much for Spain.
Now lets take a closer look at some standout individual performances.
Rubio - With such inferior competition at the PG spot I really expected him to flourish in the game. That wasn't exactly the case, but I think NBA scouts are very pleased to see that he can be a legitamate defender, he has the size and positions his feet well. Offensively, he did not look comfortable should have considering the competition although he looks so very natural running the break its fun to watch.
Rudy - Looked like the Rudy of old. Seems like Rudy is synergyzed when surrounded by his countryman. He did a good job getting(arguing calls ;) ) to the line, hit a few treys and surpirsingly grabbed 5 boards. Definitely raised his value showing his old flair.
Marc Gasol - His usual dominant self on the boards, but offensively a disappointing performance(3/7) considering Frances depleted front court & inferior talent. Both him & Rubio need to step up their aggression if Spain is going to make some noise in this tournament.
Alain Koffi - He took about half the load of Frances down low duties offensively, making himself free for easy baskets. Effeciently scoring 4/4, with 4 rebounds he showed nice hustle & defense. Nice job playing his role.
Andrew Albicy - For his age(20) and size(5'10",165lbs) not to mention the quality of competition he was facing(Rubio/Llull/Lopez) he had an outstanding game. Scored 13, 2-4 deep, hit some clutch freethrows down the stretch to secure the game,
Mickael "Jellyball" Gelabale - He was feeling it today with his jump shot, 2-4 from deep & 6-10 overall. Showed some nice hustle too, coming down with 7 boards. Looked good defensively too(Though he didn't take Rudy or Rubio, the other guys on Spain aren't exactly blow by drive to the basket players. It was a nice matchup for France. He looked like a legitimate NBA role player today.
Ian Mahinmi - Although he looks very raw on offense, he played an excellent game today defensively. To top it off it was against a legitimate NBA center in Marc Gasol, forcing him to 3/7 shooting.
Nicolas Batum - Our man ! Played his usual lock down defense & played through early foul trouble as well. Over came a slow 1/4 start to finished 4/8, which was impressive to see him shoot himself out of his funk - Including a MONSTER dunk. He moved the ball well & took good shots. He showed a nice crossover too which is very promising ! He ended up with 14 points, 2 impressive blocks, a steal, an assist & 3 boards. He played a very important role when his banged up team needed him the most. Great overall game by Nicolas ! Now for your viewing pleasure, BATUMSHAKALAKA
Nicolas Batum dunk vs Spain (08.28.2010) (via DejanBody2010)
All in all it was an excellent game. Can't ask for any more, I was so happy to see some basketball finally I thought I would write a review. France plays Lebanon tomorrow I believe. I can't wait to see how the French National Team develops, once they get everyone back & healthy I don't see why they can't contend with the US in the Olympics.