For the first time in national team history, France can call itself a EuroBasket champion. The French took more than a quarter to get in a groove, but it eventually overpowered and outplayed Lithuania on Sunday to win, 80-66, in the championship game of the 2013 tournament.
After a three-point, three-turnover performance in a semifinal win against Spain, Portland Trail Blazers swingman Nicolas Batum recovered to lead France with 17 points. Boris Diaw contributed 15 points, four assists and six rebounds and his Spurs teammate, point guard Tony Parker, didn't need to score much, finishing with 12 points.
France became the first team to win the EuroBasket event for the first time since Germany won its first title in 1993.
Former NBA forward Linas Kleiza led Lithuania with 20 points, but aside from 19 points coming from point guard Mantas Kalnietis, Lithuania didn't have the firepower to keep up with France.
The game was tied at 31 apiece with five minutes to play in the first half, but that was seemingly the time France needed to warm up. Over the next 12 minutes that bridged the two halves, France outscored Lithuania, 33-11, to build its biggest lead at 64-42.
Oddly out of the rotation on Sunday for Lithuania was Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas, who played 11 minutes for coach Jonas Kazlauskas despite coming off a five-block performance in the semifinal win against Croatia. He finished scoreless and with three rebounds and two blocks.
As a team, Lithuania struggled to keep France out of the paint. The French shot 48 percent and doubled up Lithuania's points in the paint, 48-24. France also was the more physical team, winning the rebounding battle, 42-25, and grabbing 12 offensive rebounds compared to only two for the Lithuanians.
Spain earns 3rd with win against Croatia
The Spanish national team took its frustrations from a semifinal round loss to France out on Croatia. Spain rolled to a 92-66 victory on Sunday in the third-place game.
Sergio Llull led Spain with 21 points while Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol added 17 points and eight rebounds for the victors. Portland Trail Blazers swingman Victor Claver added 16 points and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio recorded six assists.
Croatia allowed Spain to shoot 12-for-24 from beyond the three-point arc and was led by Bojan Bogdanovic's 22 points.