Pau Gasol found brother Marc in the lane with a perfect feed leading to a layup to put Spain ahead 62-57 with 45 seconds left in the game. It was a very hard-earned hoop and the execution was symbolic of Spain passing the tough test of France.
Spain trailed by two points heading into the fourth quarter before holding France to just six points in the final period as they came away with the win 66-59.
Marc Gasol led Spain with 14 points and nine rebounds while Pau had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Serge Ibaka had four points and five rebounds in limited time, but made an important impact on defense in the fourth.
Boris Diaw was magnificent for France with 15 points, five assists and eight rebounds while Tony Parker scored 15 points but on 6-of-20 shooting.
The game ended in chippy fashion with an uncharacteristic dirty foul laid on Juan Carlos Navarro by Nicolas Batum. With the game essentially in hand, Batum went at Navarro for an intentional foul and crossed the line, balling his fist and swinging below the belt on Navarro.
Batum was not tossed from the game and in fact remained on the floor. He likely would have received a 5-game suspension in the NBA. Batum was clearly frustrated but the move was very unexpected.
Spain shot 37.5 percent from the field while France was at just 33.8 percent. Spain again struggled from deep shooting 4-for-20. France made 4-of-8 threes to start the game but then made just 3-of-13 to end the game.
Spain has not been sharp in their last few games but rose to the occasion in the fourth really upping their defensive intensity to pull out the gritty win. They’ll take on Russia, who beat them in pool play, in the semifinal on Friday.