Posted Jul 31, 2012By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
LONDON (AP) — Tony Parker scored 17 points and fed a lob pass over San Antonio teammate Manu Ginobili for a key basket down the stretch to help France stun Argentina 71-64 on Tuesday in an Olympic men’s game featuring 10 NBA players.
Parker, wearing goggles to protect a left eye seriously injured in a New York nightclub brawl in June, got the best of Ginobili in the first game between the two longtime Spurs guards.
With France leading 67-62, Parker — one of the world’s most dangerous players with the ball in the open floor — drove the left side and threaded his pass over Ginobili’s outstretched arms to Kevin Seraphin, who laid it in to make it 69-62 with 1:07 left.
Following a miss by Argentina, Parker made two free throws to put the game away for France, blown out by 27 points in its opener against the U.S.
Nicolas Batum added 14 points for France (1-1), which came in 0-4 in Olympic competition against Argentina.
Ginobili scored 26 — 18 in the second half — and Luis Scola had 16 for Argentina (1-1), which had looked so impressive in a 23-point win over Lithuania in its opener.
Parker and Ginobili have been Texas teammates for 10 seasons, but this was the first time they gone against each other — except in practice.
Following the respective national anthems, the two Spurs sought each other out and shared a warm embrace near center court before the opening tip. They’re good friends who have helped San Antonio win three NBA titles and have become one of the league’s top backcourts.
The pair hugged again after the game, perhaps relieved they’re on the same team most of the time.
After Ginobili’s 3-pointer brought Argentina within 60-58, Parker, who had to be treated for a cut on the bridge of his nose, went to work.
He made two straight layups, the second on a nifty scoop after dribbling through traffic to make it 64-58. Ginobili threw the ball away on Argentina’s next possession and Parker made the gold-medal contenders pay for the turnover by making two free throws to extend France’s lead to eight.
A few days ago, Ginobili joked that he’s been giving his teammates advice on how to defend Parker.
“Go up to him,” Ginobili said, “and go ‘whooo!’”
He then blew hard into the air.
“That should fog up his goggles,” he said.
Parker, though, was the one blowing past Argentina’s defenders, helping France open an early 19-10 lead. As expected, Argentina fought back and tied it at 22. But with Seraphin, who plays for the Washington Wizards, scoring twice on nice inside moves, France took a surprising 32-29 lead into the locker room at half.
France continued to hold off Argentina in the third and went into the final 10 minutes up 55-53.
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