Luis Scola Brilliant as Argentina Beat France, Advance to 2019 FIBA Final

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2019

BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 13: Luis Scola #4 of Argentina reacts against France during the 2019 FIBA World Cup Semi-Finals at the Wukesong Sport Arena on September 13, 2019 in Beijing, China.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

For the first time since 2002, Argentina will play for the FIBA World Cup title after Friday's 80-66 victory over France.

Luis Scola had his best game of the tournament with 28 points on 8-of-17 shooting. The former NBA power forward was a force on the glass with 13 of his team's 41 rebounds.

Scola's dazzling display in China caught the attention of a current NBA All-Star:

At 39 years old, Scola has been Argentina's best player throughout the tournament. He entered Friday averaging 17.8 points per game and was shooting 49.2 percent from the field.

Gabriel Deck also showed up big to support Scola, as the 2018 Argentine League MVP had 13 points and made six of his 11 shots from the field. As good as Scola, Deck and the rest of the offense was throughout the game, Argentina's defense was even better.

France came into the game ranked first in the 32-team tournament in three-point percentage (45.0), second in field-goal percentage (52.4) and fourth in points per game (89.3).

Rudy Gobert, who had 21 points and 16 rebounds in the victory over the United States, was a non-factor against Argentina. The Utah Jazz star finished with just three points on three field-goal attempts and 11 rebounds in 29 minutes.

Evan Fournier did contribute 16 points, but it was on 6-of-17 shooting. He also only made one of his six attempts from three.

One positive for France—and the New York Knicks—was the performance from Frank Ntilikina:

Despite a rough outing versus Argentina, this tournament was already a win for the French team. They entered Friday guaranteed to finish no worse than fourth, which would tie for their best finish in the FIBA World Cup since 1954, when only 12 teams were in the field.

France can secure their best-ever showing with a win over Australia in Sunday's third-place game.

Argentina will take on Spain, who defeated Australia 95-88 in double-overtime, in Sunday's final. The last time Argentina reached the final 17 years, they lost 84-77 to Yugoslavia in Scola's first FIBA World Championship.

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