10,406 spectators in Montpellier provided the cauldron of noise. And France ignited in overtime to shake off a tenacious Finland 97-87 in Montpellier.
Turning Point: Out-scoring the Finns 16-6 in over-time, including a priceless 7-0 run, France coach Vincent Collet made a switch to insert Joffrey Lauvergne into the middle in place of Rudy Gobert. It paid off, with Lauvergne's physicality huge at both ends.
Stats Don't Lie: Through three quarters, the French had a 15-to-9 assist-to-turnover ratio. In the fourth, 3-to-6. Part of it was Finnish pressure. But their offence was stagnant at times, underlining both how much the Final Round hosts miss the injured Antoine Diot and how they need to tweak more.
Game Hero: Tony Parker had a game-best 23 points for Les Bleus but in his competitive debut, Jamar Wilson paced Finland with 21 and never backed down in the battle of the point guards, inspiring a 10-2 run in the third when his team trailed 63-47 and looked beyond help.
Bottom Line: The French got the victory. Pressure off, a little. However Collet preaches defensive effort and he confessed to concerns about the lapses that could have proven very costly. As for Finland, confidence will surely be high despite the defeat.
They Said: "We played well for maybe 30 minutes but we stopped playing together" - France guard Nando de Colo.