Parker vs Ginobili as France beat Argentina
LONDON - Manu Ginobili outscored his long-time NBA team mate Tony Parker, but Parker's team claimed the victory as France beat Argentina 71-64 in the Olympic basketball tournament on Tuesday.
It was the first meeting between the San Antonio Spurs players, who won three NBA championships in their 10 seasons together. Both men found it a weird experience.
"It was very strange," Ginobili, who led Argentina with 26 points, told reporters. "It's the first time we played against each other after playing in like a thousand games.
"Wishing for him to miss a shot was something new."
Parker, still wearing goggles to protect an eye that was injured when he was caught in the middle of a New York City nightclub brawl, was held in check for most of the game.
But down the stretch of the closely-fought encounter, Parker took charge, scoring six points in a row to turn a two-point lead into a 66-58 advantage in the fourth quarter.
He poured in nine points in all during the fourth quarter for a total of 17 as France raised their record to 1-1 following an opening-game loss to the defending champions United States.
Ginobili scored 26 points and Luis Scola added 16 points for Argentina, but a determined effort on defence helped France move level in the standings with Argentina as the teams jockey for a favourable draw in the quarter-finals stage.
"It's a big win for the team," said Parker. "It was very special. Manu is one of my best friends. We've been playing together for a long time. It was weird to see him playing against me.
"I was just happy at the end to make a couple of shots and get the win. We won the game defensively tonight."
Parker struggled before his fourth-quarter surge and finished the game having made just 4-of-17 shots. The point guard said he was still getting into top playing form after being sidelined following his eye surgery.
"I hate playing with the goggles," he said. "I'm still struggling with my shots. I'm still trying to get back in shape after coming back 10 days ago. Hopefully, I'll be 100 percent when we play in the quarter-finals." (Editing by Mark Meadows)