Spain went on to tie France by outscoring Les Bleus, 18-10, in the fourth quarter, with an off-the-dribble bounce from Gasol providing a major spark in the waning moments of regulation.
Batum drew a foul and got three free throws, all of which he missed while Gasol finished the game with a move that opened the doors of history again.
“Last year was very hard for us, for our team to lose in the Quarter-Finals but it happens and they deserved it, they worked harder for it and we came out flat and we paid the price”, Gasol said. But he missed all 3 shots and Spain raced to the other end where Gasol sealed the win with a slam. Parker, meanwhile, continued to struggle with just 10 points on 4-for-17 shooting. Gasol ended the game when he scored the last eight points to take Spain in the finals. The second EuroBasket semifinal, between Serbia and Lithuania, is Friday in Lille. But the Bulls played miserably without Gasol in the lineup last season, most notably losing their 2-1 lead over the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals after Gasol went down with a bad hamstring.
Spain trailed by 11 points in the third quarter but turned the tide to lead 66-63 before France forced the additional five minutes with an audacious three-pointer by Nicolas Batum.
Parker worked on defence and Nando de Colo and Mickael Gelabale were the top French scorers with 7 points each.
France, which also lost to Spain in the London 2012 quarterfinals, will likely be favored at its six-team, global, last-chance qualifying tournament in July. Knowing that we have significant players that are not here this year, I knew I would have to carry a little more responsibility.
On Thursday, Spain became the seventh nation to qualify for the 12-team Rio Olympic men’s basketball tournament.
Greece rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat Latvia 97-90 and finish fifth in the European basketball championship on Thursday.
First of the classification games and ticket for the next summer pre- Olympics qualifying tournaments was played between Greece and Latvia.