The French went down flagrantly, with a nut shot from Ronny Turiaf on Rudy Fernandez and a felonious foul by Nicolas Batum against Juan Carlos Navarro.
France missed 11 consecutive shots before getting a meaningless one with 9 seconds left, and a new chapter of crunch time failure was added to Les Blues’ history book in a 66-59 quarterfinal loss at the Olympics in London.
Batum committed an intentional foul that was so flagrant, a hard, long-armed swipe that knocked Navarro to the floor, that it appeared American referee Bill Kennedy (a veteran of several top-level FIBA competitions) wanted to eject Batum from the game only to be overruled by the other two officials (from Greece and Brazil).
The Spanish team was already livid after Turiaf clocked Fernandez near midcourt when France was in a situation in which they were forced to foul to stop the clock. But Turiaf’s fifth and final foul was clearly too hard, and Fernandez had to leave the game. He continued to writhe in pain near the France bench throughout the final minute.
Spain trailed for most of the game, a rematch of the 2011 Eurobasket gold medal game, but made defensive stop after defensive stop over the final six minutes.
Serge Ibaka had a tip-in with 6:26 left and then an assist on a fast-break bucket by Sergio Llull (the Houston Rockets hold his NBA rights) with 5:35 remaining to give Spain a 58-57 lead. They were the first four points in what turned into a 15-0 run that came despite neither team scoring again for more than 4 minutes until Fernandez made two free throws with 1:31 left.
Fernandez and Pau Gasol then each blocked a shot by Tony Parker to force a 24-second violation, and Marc Gasol fed his brother with a pretty bounce pass off a pick-and-roll for a bucket that put Spain ahead by 5 with 45 seconds left.
Diaw, who shot 3-for-12, missed a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left, leading to all the extracurricular stuff that followed.