France held a three-point lead with 6:51 to play. Their defense effectively rendered Spain’s backcourt obsolete and, with enough offense in the final frame, were in a good position to advance to the semifinals.
That didn’t materialize as Spain buckled down defensively, allowing a mere seven points in the final quarter.
Tony Parker, who tied Boris Diaw with a team-high 15 points, missed 14 of his 20 shots for an inefficient 0.75 points per attempt. It was those 14 misses, Parker believes, that affected France more so than his 15 points.
“We had the match in hand. We were leading the whole game and we had a big crash at the end,” Parker said. “You can say we were tired, that the preparation caught up with us. You can say many things. Personally I am very disappointed because I did not make the shots we needed.”
Diaw was considerably more efficient and he played like the best player on the floor, totaling 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Regardless of the result, Diaw remains proud of his team and the effort they put forth against Spain.
“We were convinced that we can beat them and besides, we have presented a team much better than what we had shown previously,” Diaw said.
I am very proud of the team. We gave everything today. It was very hard to score in the last quarter. We are not so far away now.”
As of right now, though, defeating Spain is still a ways ahead for Les Bleus.