evade (magicwaffles) wrote in spursfans,

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SENDAI, Japan (AP) - Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs scored 25 points at the world championships Saturday to lead Olympic champion Argentina to an 80-70 victory over France, which played without injured guard Tony Parker.

Chicago Bulls forward Andres Nocioni added 18 points for Argentina in the Group A game.

Florent Pietrus had 15 points for a French team weakened by the absence of Parker. The Spurs guard broke his right index finger in a tuneup game against Brazil and will miss the tournament.

"I wish he was playing so France could be at their best and we could see who truly was the better team," Argentina guard Juan Sanchez said.

Parker watched the game from the bench. He practiced Thursday with his finger bandaged but withdrew from the worlds after learning the extent of his injury.

"It really is very disappointing and tough to swallow because I felt in great shape before I got hurt against Brazil," Parker said Friday. "If I play hurt, I may not be helping my team so I can't be selfish and decide I want to play just for myself."

"And of course I also have to consider what the San Antonio Spurs staff would say about it if I decided to go ahead and play," he added. "If I aggravated the injury I could be out for up to three months. I don't think that would be a good idea."

France coach Claude Bergeaud was in no mood to discuss Parker's absence.

"I don't want to talk about that," Bergeaud said. "It's impossible to know what would have happened if Parker played because he didn't play."

Ginobili gave Argentina a 67-57 lead on a layup with five minutes left and widened the margin to 70-60 with a 3-pointer a minute later. France drew to 73-66, but another 3-pointer by Ginobili with just under 40 seconds remaining sealed the win.

Argentina, runner up at the 2002 worlds, led 44-33 at halftime before France narrowed the gap to 56-50 entering the final period.
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