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Sunday, Sep. 4, 2011

Parker outduels Dirk as France posts victory


SIAULIAI, Lithuania — Tony Parker outplayed Dirk Nowitzki and the German team, scoring 32 points to give France a 76-65 victory at the European Championship on Friday.

The San Antonio Spurs guard, who was the MVP of the 2007 NBA Finals, took over the game in the decisive third quarter to guide France.

"When Tony has his night, he is impossible to guard," Germany coach Dirk Bauermann said.

Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol scored 21 points and defending champion Spain cruised past Britain 86-69 to also remain perfect with three wins.

Serbia, which lost in the final to Spain two years ago, also won its third straight, using a big fourth quarter to rally past winless Israel 89-80.

Host Lithuania used a 10-1 run to close out a 75-68 win over Turkey and go 3-0 as well.

Andrea Bargnani, the Toronto Raptors center, kept Italy in the game and in the tournament by scoring 36 points — more than half of his team's total — in a 71-62 win over Latvia.

France and Serbia are both close to moving into the second round from their Group B, while Lithuania and Spain look good in Group A. The top three teams from each of the four groups advance.

"We're on the right path, but Lithuania and Turkey have more talent to give us more problems. We need to bring more energy and aggressiveness," Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said of his team's next opponents.

The 24-team tournament will produce two qualifiers for next year's London Olympics.

Nowitzki, who was MVP of the NBA Finals this year when his Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat, finished with 20 points, but 10 of them came in the first quarter. He played little in the second half.

"We tried some man-to-man, some zone defense, but Tony was too strong and kept getting into the zone," Nowitzki said.

"They were the better team. Tony had an unbelievable night shooting the ball, getting to the paint and finishing," he said. "Offensively I really couldn't get anything going any more in the second half. They really played us physical."

Parker scored 13 points in a 29-12 third quarter for France, which had runs of 12-1 and 10-0 in that stretch to put the game away.

"We knew we had to step up our aggressiveness," France coach Vincent Collet said. "We started playing much better defense after the first quarter."

Turkey, last year's runnerup at the world championships at home, is now 2-1.

Darius Songalia led Lithuania with 12 points, while Simas Jasaitis and Rimantas Kaukenas each had 11. Ersan Ilyasova led Turkey with 20 points.

Marc Gasol had a double-double of 18 points and a team-high 11 rebounds and Rudy Fernandez posted his best game of the tournament, adding 11 for Spain.

Marc, Pau's younger brother who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, scored 12 of his points in the final quarter. Pau has scored 20 or more in all three games.

Britain trailed 42-36 early in the third quarter but the younger Gasol scored eight points in a 10-0 run for Spain that gave the defending champion a secure lead.

Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng led Britain with 17 points and Daniel Clark had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Bargnani produced the highest-scoring performance of the tournament so far to give Italy its first win of the event.

The only other Italian to score in double digits was Marco Belinelli, the New Orleans Hornets guard, with 11. Latvia kept it a close game until Italy turned up the pressure in the fourth quarter.

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