France and China will look to bounce back from disappointing tournament debut when they collide in the group stage of the 2016 Rio Olympics men’s basketball competition. The French squad and the reigning Asian champions will face each other on Monday night at the Carioca Arena 1 in Brazil.
France are considered as big threat to tournament favorites USA Basketball but took a surprising loss in their tournament opener. They absorbed a humiliating 87-66 loss to Australia in Day 1 of competition on Saturday.
Tony Parker, who is playing in his last Olympic, had his usual numbers with 18 points but shot just 6-for-14 from the field. Mickael Gelabale added 13 points and four rebounds for France but their productions were not enough to lead their team to victory.
No other player from France scored in double figures and the entire team struggled to handle the sharp-shooting Australians. The Boomers shot 35-for-70 from the field, including seven three-pointer, and played better team basketball, tallying 29 assists against France’s 12 dimes.
On the other hand, China was manhandled in their opening match. The reigning Asian champions took a 119-62 beating from USA Basketball on Saturday, raising questions about their chances to advance to the next round.
Yi Jianlian, a former NBA first-round draft pick, was the lone bright spot for China, as he finished with 25 points and six rebounds. No other Chinese finished in double figures. As a team, they shot just 35.7 percent from the field and committed 24 turnovers. USA Basketball also won the rebounding battle by a mile, 52-39.
China are tipped to absorb another defeat to France but it will not be as ugly as their loss to USA. If Yi can sustain his form and get enough contributions from his teammates like Zhou Qi and Guo Ailun, China could push France to their limits. But still, France are expected to win by more than 15 points against the Asian powerhouse.
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