Fournier and France Lose First World Cup Game
The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier officially began FIBA World Cup action today. It’s the first time the 21-year-old is participating in an international tournament with the French senior national team. The first of 5 Group A games began Saturday in Granada, Spain against a challenging Brazil squad. The defending EuroBasket champions lost against the Brazilians 65-63 with the help of some horrendous French coaching by Vincent Collet down the stretch. Again, just like in the exhibitions, Fournier was on the bench when France needed a capable 3-point shooter late. Baffling. Evan finished with no points on 0-for-1 shooting from the field in 8 bench minutes.
France jumped out to a 12-3 start thanks to some timely 3-pointers by Nicolas Batum and Thomas Heurtel to set the tone. Brazil did not appear alert. It was strange to see both Charles Kahudi and Edwin Jackson get substituted into the contest before Evan did, something that Coach Collet had done very rarely in exhibition play. Those questionable substitutions played a role in Brazil coming back and making it a tight affair late in the first half.
Fournier didn’t check in until the 3:06 mark of the second period as he played at SG with Batum sliding over to SF. Evan only got one look, a relatively open 3-pointer from the left side that didn’t drop in. Brazil led 28-26 at the break. France shot 43% from the field and only managed 2-for-9 shooting from deep. The most notable thing about Evan’s three minutes was his solid defense. Oh, and his hair bun.
— Adam Papageorgiou (@adamosgp) August 30, 2014
The French were in their sleeved jerseys that are a hint at what the NBA will be seeing in a few years. Brazil was up by 6 when Fournier checked into the game at the 4-minute mark of the third period. Evan barely touched the ball but defended Leandro Barbosa very well. France trailed 46-41 entering the fourth period. In the final 10-minute session, Fournier remained on the court for the first minute before sitting for the rest of the contest. Boris Diaw finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists while Batum was the only other Frenchman in double digits with 13 points. Brazil was led by Marcelinho Huertas who tallied 16 points and 5 assists, while Anderson Varejao notched 8 points and 9 rebounds.
France plays a difficult Serbia side on Sunday to continue Group A play. Tip-off is slated for 9:30 a.m. EST and it’ll be shown on NBA TV as well as ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN mobile app. A second consecutive loss for France would make progressing to the Round of 16 all the more tougher.