Whether in international play or the NBA, Tony Parker is no stranger to the big stage.
The four-time NBA champion came up big for France at the Rio Olympics on Wednesday, hitting a game-winner against Serbia to lift his team to a 76-75 victory.
The San Antonio Spurs guard did not have a big game statistically, scoring just six points, but his fade away basket with 31 seconds left kept his team from losing for the second time in three Group A games.
The United States’ men had a close call of their own, at least by their standards, beating Australia 98-88 thanks in large part to Carmelo Anthony’s 31 points.
Venezuela beat China 72-68.
Over on the women’s side, Spain defeated China 89-68, Canada beat Senegal 68-58 and USA pummeled Serbia 110-84.
Parker’s bucket helped France keep pace with Australia, who dropped to 2-1 with their loss to USA.
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Anthony was the hero for USA, passing LeBron James’ Olympics scoring record with his 31-point haul.
“It’s awesome. It’s not everyday you hit almost a buzzer beater, a game-winning shot. It was great, against a great team. Serbia is an unbelievable team and it was a great win for us,” – Parker on his critical shot against Serbia.
“I can tell you I wasn’t thinking about 2004 when I was out there playing tonight. That experience it is what it is. We accepted that as Americans, as ball players. We know that feeling and we don’t want to experience that feeling anymore. No I wasn’t thinking about 2004 tonight,” – Anthony on whether or not he was thinking of the 2004 team that lost to Argentina in the semi-finals.
“Yeah, it got real. It definitely got real. We’re probably going to see them again. We’re going to have to do a better job matching them,” – Paul George on USA’s close call with Australia.
Men’s Group B gets back into action on Thursday, pitting Argentina against Lithuania, Nigeria against Spain and Croatia against hosts Brazil. On the women’s side, Turkey will face Belarus, France meet Brazil and Japan will go up against Australia.