|31 August 2013|
|Nicolas Batum and France go into EuroBasket on the back of a win over the hosts|
France edged out Slovenia 70-65 in an entertaining game in the final venue of EuroBasket 2013, Stozice Arena, on Saturday night to wrap up preparation games for both sides.
Antoine Diot with a three-pointer gave Les Bleus the edge in the final minute before Nicolas Batum put the finishing touches with two free-throws.
"We have a good team. I think we are ready. We played a couple of good games now, against Spain and now here," commented Batum right after the game.
"We have the chance to do something good [at the EuroBasket].
"Our goal is to go all the way through and get a gold medal."
Slovenia stormed out the gates as a long three-ball and an and-one play by Goran Dragic gave them a 12-4 lead, but Tony Parker and Mickael Gelabale ignited a 13-1 run that made it 17-13 at the first interval.
Jaka Lakovic opened the second frame with a three-ball, but France stayed in control and another three, this time by Diot made it 27-21 for Les Bleus.
Slovenia woke up though, rallying back to tie the game at 30 apiece after four straight points by Goran Dragic before Parker's free-throws made it 32-30 at the half.
Again, Slovenia had the better start and two lay-ups by Bostjan Nachbar and Goran Dragic brought them up 38-35.
|Goran Dragic's 18 points were in vain for Slovenia|
The EuroBasket hosts seemed to have found their rhythm and went up 47-41 on a monster-dunk by Gasper Vidmar.
Slovenia had their nose in front throughout the third and first half of the fourth quarter but France reduced the deficit to 58-57 before Alexis Ajinca brought his colours up with an impressive dunk.
"He (Ajinca) improved a lot. He is a completely different player now," explained Batum.
"At the end of the game he just dominated inside. He rebounded, blocked shots and dunked on people; that's are all we ask from him."
The teams traded blows and only two points separated the two sides going into the final minute, 65-63 for France.
Slovenia failed to score on the next possession and Diot's three effectively secured the win.
Ajinca led France with 17 points, adding six rebounds while Parker had 14 to his name.
Goran Dragic had a game-high 18 points in a losing effort.