Olympics Basketball 2012: France beats Lithuania

Turn out the lights, the party’s over. France defeated Lithuania 82-74, in a game that all but sealed the Balticmen’s departure from medal contention.  Lithuania had a 4-point lead at halftime, but must have left their offense in the dressing room, as they only managed 9 points in Q3.  The French, led in scoring by Tony Parker’s 27 points, bent but didn’t break in Q4.  The Lithuanians closed within 4 with less than a minute to play, but were forced to foul, and France prevailed.

The Raptors’ players, Kleiza & Valanciunas, continued to play exactly as they had in the previous games. Linas scored, and JV sat. Kleiza led his team with 17 points on 5-8 shooting inside the arc, and 7-8 from the stripe, but didn’t make any of his three  3-ball attempts. Drawing 6 fouls is a testament to his aggressive play, as is his 7 boards.

I’ve already questioned the Lithuanian coach’s decision making around JV’s playing time, but I must mention it again. 7 minutes of PT? In a must-win game? Coach, if you are going to be a contrarian by keeping your most talented big on the bench, you better win.  Otherwise, the loss is on you. JV is a mere 20 years old; there will be other Olympics for him. I doubt the Lithuanians will trot out Coach Kemzura in Rio in 4 years’ time. His team was expected to do well, and instead did a faceplant.

Lithuania will close out round-robin play with games against Tunisia and the U.S. We will preview and recap those games for you, but for Lithuania, the results will be moot. They will be watchers in the medal round.

Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada. 

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Tags: 2012 Olympics France Jonas Valanciunas Linas Kleiza Lithuania Toronto Raptors

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