With “Le Gros Match” about to start and Team USA ready to invade the Continent in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games, BallinEurope takes a brief look at some recent results from European national teams in friendlies. And we’ll do this is true TrueHoop fashion, a la bullet-style…
• Team France took care of Belarus in its seventh warmup match, 84-64, in Paris. On the eve of Nando de Colo signing his NBA contract, the “San Antonio connection” of he and Tony Parker was well praised, particularly in the second half.
Les Bleus will be unfortunately undermanned in taking on Los Rojos this afternoon, with De Colo and Boris Diaw out due to insurance issues.
In bringing new meaning to the word “friendly,” L’Equipe has dubbed this one “Le Gros Match,” but shouldn’t that be “Le Deuxième Gros Match”? After all, Team Spain took out France, 81-65, in Madrid … and in that one, France had De Colo and Diaw active.
“This game is really important,” Florent Pietrus was quoted as stating in L’Equipe. “It’s a match that will allow us to gauge ourselves relative to one of the best teams in Europe. We’re playing in front of our crowd and with this motivation, I hope we’ll have a big game, because there’s only one way we can progress.”
• After blowing out France on Tuesday, Team Spain yesterday overcame an incredibly slow start to blow out African champions/2012 Stankovic Cup third-placers Tunisia, 95-56, in Salamanca. With the score 9-8 in Tunisia’s favor after 10 minutes of play, Spain woke up to resemble “one of the best teams in Europe” to outscore the guests by a crazy 64-29 margin in the second and third quarter. In double figures were Pau Gasol (16 points), Serge Ibaka (13), Felipe Reyes (12) and Sergio Rodriguez (12).
Spain at France tips off at 2.30pm CET (8.30am EST) today.
• Team Britain finally got its first win of the summer in topping Portugal, 83-68, in Sheffield. Noted the BBL official website: “Loul Deng overcame a tough first half to lead all scorers with 20 points and six boards, with Pops Mensah-Bonsu finishing with 12 points and as many rebounds. Mike Lenzly added ten points in just 14 minutes as ten of the 11 players used by coach Chris Finch got on the scoreboard.”
(The truly sharp-memoried will recall that Great Britain topped Portugal in game four of Eurobasket 2011 group play for the team’s historic first international win. Team Portugal meanwhile finished at the bottom of the table, going 0-5 in the tourney.)
Next up for the Pops and the Brits: Portugal again today, and good ol’ Team USA in Manchester on Thursday.