France pulled off the upset on Tuesday in London, beating Argentina 71-64 with Tony Parker stepping up in the second half.
Both Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola had big games for Argentina, but it ultimately wasn't enough as Parker, Nicolas Batum and Mickael Gelabale propelled France to victory in Group A action.
Tweets of the Night
Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports assessed the low-scoring game at the half:
France up at the half on Argentina 32-29.Is Argentina on the decline now with an aging Ginobili and Scola? Second half should be interesting— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 31, 2012
Ginobili is so good at rejecting the ball screen- Tony Parker should have told his guys about that.— Bobby Hurley (@BobbyHurley11) July 31, 2012
Basketball contributor Noam Schiller quipped about Argentina's Luis Scola:
Luis Scola is ruining his Russell Brand impersonation with that stubble.— Noam Schiller (@noamschiller) July 31, 2012
Grades for Key France Players
Tony Parker: B
Tony Parker struggled offensively in a low-scoring game, but he did pick it up when it mattered most down the stretch and got to the line when he wanted to. He didn't have his best game, but he showed later on why he's France's best player. Parker finished with 17 points and five assists, but shot 4-for-17 from the floor.
Nicolas Batum: B
Nicolas Batum's shot the ball well and crashed the boards for France. He also displayed his strong defensive skills. Batum finished with 14 points and seven boards.
Mickael Gelabale: B
Mickael Gelabale displayed a strong floor game, evident by his ability to snag rebounds. His play was needed with France struggling at times from the floor in a tight game. He ended up with 13 points and six rebounds.
Grades for Key Argentina Players
Manu Ginobili: A
While his fellow San Antonio Spurs teammate Tony Parker struggled, Manu Ginobili was on fire for Argentina, scoring at a high rate and using his pesky defense to disrupt France. He finished with 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting.
Luis Scola: A-
Luis Scola and Manu Ginobili carried Argentina for most of the game. Scola was efficient from the field and cleaned up on the glass like he always does. He added 16 points and eight rebounds.
Game MVP: Tony Parker
Tony Parker had a much better second half against Argentina, and that's why he gets the MVP award. It wasn't a stellar performance by any means, but Parker undoubtedly makes the biggest impact for the French when he's on the hardwood, even when he's struggling from the field.
France will play Lithuania on Thursday, while Argentina will battle with Tunisia.