France to face US in Olympic basketball final after beating Doncic, Slovenia
France edged Olympic debutant Slovenia 90-89 Thursday to make the Tokyo Games men’s basketball final against defending champions the United States.
Nando De Colo poured in a game-best 25 points and Boston Celtics’ Evan Fournier added 23 to give their team a third crack at upsetting the US after failing to do so in their two previous Olympic finals in 1948 and 2000.
Earlier, Kevin Durant led the Americans past Australia 97-78 to clinch the first final berth.
The final match is on Saturday.
The French lost in the last two Olympic quarterfinals to send four-time NBA championship-winning Tony Parker into retirement without a medal, but they now have a golden chance for a maiden title.
“We just had to fight to the last second, that’s who we are as a team,” said their Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. “The US is the best team in the tournament, we just need to get ready and be up for the challenge.”
🗣️ "Nicolas is a class act. He told me he hates playing against me, but in a good way. That was nice of him, he's just a class act."
— FIBA | #Basketball #Tokyo2020 (@FIBA) August 5, 2021
Slovenia came out fast and was ahead for almost the entire the first quarter, with Luka Doncic and Mike Tobey both netting 10 points each to take a two-point advantage into the second term.
They led by the same margin at half-time, but a stronger third quarter saw France go into the final stretch with a 71-65 lead and they held on in a tense finale.
Doncic had 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 18 assists in his first career loss in international competition.