France’s statistical leaders
Tony Parker — 13.5 points
Ali Traore — 60 FG%
Yannick Bokolo — 50 3P%
Boris Diaw, Ronny Turiaf — 6.0 rebounds
Parker — 3.5 assists
Lithuania’s statistical leaders
Linas Kleiza — 16.5 points
Darrius Songaila — 75 FG%
Paulius Jankunas — 50 3P%
Kleiza — 6.5 rebounds
Sarunas Jasikevicius — 6.5 assists
France and Lithuania are similar in the regard that they are both legitimate international threats though, through one way or another, they won’t compete for a medal unless they get the benefit of a little luck. France struggles to score from the perimeter, limiting their potential to string together a couple of upsets in the knockout round, and Lithuania doesn’t have enough elite talent.
For France, they rely on Tony Parker to create auspicious matchups through sheer attrition; by breaking the defense down from the point of attack, he allows the other French scorers to play off his speed. Nicolas Batum is an agile swingman that, offensively, is a double-edged sword that can create for himself and shoot from the perimeter. Boris Diaw is noticeably risk-adverse as a scorer though he compensates by providing Les Bleus with another playmaker.
The other NBA talent on the roster include Nando De Colo, Kevin Seraphin and Ronny Turiaf. Seraphin and Turiaf create a competent frontline, while not strikingly above-average, that can compete with the majority of international frontlines.
For Lithuania, they rely heavily on Toronto Raptor forward Linas Kleiza and Sarunas Jasikevicius to score and distribute. In a limited sample size, bear in mind it’s been a mere two games of preliminary action, Kleiza has posted a true shooting percentage of 68% in addition to stellar averages of 16.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. His efficiency suits Lithuania well as they are pretty efficient overall.
Jasikevicius, 36, has aged a bit since his last Olympic appearance. Still, he brings a good feel for the game and, along with Mantas Kalnietis, comprises a formidable backcourt. They have totaled 25 assists between them.
Perhaps Lithuania has a secret weapon waiting in the wings: Jonas Valanciunas. He’s averaged 13 minutes in two games and he played reasonably well in those limited minutes, shooting 62.5% from the field. Valanciunas has shown a proclivity to foul, though, limiting his ability to utilize his length.
Tomorrow’s game, scheduled for 3:00 am CST, will be pretty important for two teams vying for the second and third positions behind Team USA. This isn’t a trivial matter either; earning the second and third spots, respectively, will prolong a matchup against second-ranked Spain in the knockout stage. A win tomorrow could actually be conducive to their long-term success.
Tags: 2012 Olympics Boris Diaw Darrius Songaila France Jonas Valanciunas Kevin Seraphin Linas Kleiza Lithuania Mantas Kalnietis Nando De Colo Nicolas Batum Paulius Jankunas Ronny Turiaf Sarunas Jasikevicius Tony Parker