Nicolas Batum

Tony Parker
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Tony Parker leads 5 NBA players on France Olympic basketball roster

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Tony Parker headlines five NBA players on France’s Olympic men’s basketball roster announced Wednesday.

The other four NBA players are fellow returning Olympians Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw and Olympic rookies Rudy Gobert and Joffrey Lauvergne.

French NBA players not on the Olympic roster include Joakim Noah, who hasn’t played for the national team since 2011, and Evan Fournier, who did not play in a last-chance qualifying tournament earlier this month.

Parker led France at the 2012 Olympics with 15.7 points per game. The French lost two games in London, to the gold medalist U.S. in group play and silver medalist Spain in the quarterfinals.

In September, Parker and France fell in the EuroBasket semifinals to Spain in a winner-goes-to-Rio game.

The defeat forced France to a last-chance, winner-take-all, six-team Olympic qualifying tournament in the Philippines earlier this month.

Parker guided France past Canada 83-74 in the final Sunday, scoring a game-high 26 points in Manila, including 15 in the last seven minutes to extend a five-point lead.

The full French roster:

Nicolas Batum — Charlotte Hornets
Nando De Colo
Boris Diaw — San Antonio Spurs
Antoine Diot
Mickaël Gélabale
Rudy Gobert — Utah Jazz
Thomas Heurtel
Charles Kahudi
Joffrey Lauvergne — Denver Nuggets
Tony Parker — San Antonio Spurs
Florent Piétrus
Kim Tillie

MORE: Australia Olympic roster has 6 NBA players

Pau Gasol carries Spain to Olympics; France to last-chance qualifier

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Pau Gasol scored 40 points as Spain outlasted host France 80-75 in overtime to qualify for the Rio Olympics in a EuroBasket semifinal on Thursday.

Gasol carried Spain, winner of the last two Olympic silver medals, in the knockout rounds of EuroBasket — scoring 30, 27 and 40 points in the last three games to book the nation’s fifth straight Olympic men’s basketball berth.

No other Spaniard scored more than 18 in any of those games, all close at various points of the fourth quarter and, in the case of France, overtime. Watch Gasol’s highlights against France here.

Spain needed Gasol given other NBA stars sat out EuroBasket for various reasons, including Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Ricky Rubio and Jose Calderon.

The EuroBasket finalists qualify for Rio. The second EuroBasket semifinal, between Serbia and Lithuania, is Friday in Lille.

The EuroBasket semifinal losers (plus the fifth- through seventh-place teams) advance to global, last-chance qualifying tournaments in July.

On Thursday, Spain became the seventh nation to qualify for the 12-team Rio Olympic men’s basketball tournament. The field is as follows:

Brazil — Host nation
U.S. — 2014 World champion
Australia — Oceania champion
Nigeria — Africa champion
Argentina — Americas finalist
Venezuela — Americas finalist
Spain — Europe finalist
Lithuania or Serbia — Europe finalist
Asian champion
Three winners of three July global, last-chance qualifying tournaments

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. The other teams at its specific tournament haven’t been named yet, but they will of course not include any of the teams qualified for Rio.

France’s team at EuroBasket included six NBA players to Spain’s two — including Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw and Rudy Gobert.

The other top teams among those three last-chance tournaments will include Canada and may include Olympic bronze medalist Russia and Germany, which, with Dirk Nowitzki, nearly knocked out Spain in the EuroBasket group stage.

MORE BASKETBALL: Lithuania, Serbia meet for another Olympic berth

Spain, France to meet in EuroBasket with Rio spot at stake

Pau Gasol
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Either Spain or France must wait until one month before the Olympics to learn if it will qualify for Rio in men’s basketball.

The European stalwarts, which combined to win three of the last four Olympic silver medals, meet in the EuroBasket semifinals Thursday with an Olympic berth at stake.

EuroBasket acts as an Olympic qualifying tournament with the finalists receiving Rio spots. Teams that finish third through seventh advance to one of the global, last-chance qualifying tournaments in July.

Spain was nearly knocked out in the EuroBasket group stage last Thursday, beating Germany 77-76 after Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroeder missed a game-tying free throw attempt with three seconds left.

In the round of 16, Spain was tied with Poland after three quarters before a 25-11 fourth-quarter run.

And in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, Spain trailed Greece in the fourth before emerging with a 73-71 victory.

This Spain team is not reminiscent of the roster that reached the last two Olympic finals. It lacks NBA players Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Ricky Rubio and Jose Calderon and has leaned heavily on Pau Gasol.

Pau Gasol, 35, made six of seven three-pointers against Poland and scored a game-high 27 points against Greece.

France’s roster includes more NBA players than Spain’s — six, including Olympians Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum. France and Serbia, a nation in the other bracket half, are the remaining undefeated teams at EuroBasket.

Spain beat France in the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals.

France, then without Parker, beat Spain, then with both Gasol brothers, Ibaka, Rubio and Calderon, in the 2014 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals.

France beat Latvia 84-70 in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

MORE BASKETBALL: Canada’s Olympic basketball return on hold after shock loss