It’s been a dawdling, frustrating rehabilitation from his eye injury but Tony Parker is getting closer to his goal every game. As the tournament wears on, his timely bursts of speed turn into a consistent barrage of points and assists.
Parker scored 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting in France’s 82-74 victory over Lithuania. His performance, evident by his ability to pick apart multiple defenders with a head full of steam and some space, was telling because he didn’t look worn after playing 36 of 40 minutes.
“… I feel better and better,” Parker said. “I feel that I found my legs. Already the match against Argentina, I felt better, every shot I took I felt it was going to go. Even if I had a bad percentage, in my mind it was a good sign and … today I was in rhythm.
I tried to be aggressive and be patient too, because when you miss shots, do not get frustrated and … force too (many shots) because I have a good team around me. Mickaël, Nando, Nick, Boris, Kevin, everyone here is aggressive and plays basketball well. So I waited my turn and I was patient.”
Along with Boris Diaw’s best performance to date (10 points, eight assists and six rebounds), Les Bleus looked more like a legitimate contender rather than a talented bunch without much to show for.
Perhaps Parker’s newfound legs, and increasing confidence, will withstand the toll of carrying his team deep into the tournament after all.