Les Bleus secure deserved medal finish after string of entertaining games…
France defeated Lithuania 95-93 in the third-place playoff of the FIBA World Cup 2014 in Madrid on Saturday to claim bronze after an enthralling tournament.
With Lithuania leading by seven points entering the fourth quarter, key baskets from Boris Diaw ensured that the French sealed a closely-fought victory, with Nicolas Batum scoring a game-high 27 points while Diaw added eight of his 15 points in the fourth period.
Jonas Valanciunas responded with 25 points and nine rebounds for the Lithuanians, but it wasn’t enough to claim a medal as they ended on a disappointing note.
Nevertheless, with no Tony Parker to lead them this summer, France will be delighted with their efforts as they were only just edged out against Serbia in the semi-finals.
In addition, Les Bleus also upset hosts Spain in the quarter-finals, and Coach Vincent Collet insisted that the manner in which they achieved their success made the experience of the FIBA World Cup 2014 all the more pleasing.
Both Batum and Diaw played key roles throughout the run, although the likes of Heurtel, Lauvergne, Fournier and Gobert were all instrumental in ensuring that the French ultimately exceeded expectations without their influential point guard to lead them forward.
Team USA will now face Serbia in Madrid in the final on Sunday night to end what has been a thrilling tournament over the past fortnight, and the Americans are heavy favourites to defend their crown after looking dominant throughout.