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Diaw, France produce Spurs-like highlights in win against Croatia

Boris Diaw got Best Assist honors in the first round of knockout games in Spain, but it's his block and France's ball movement that landed two of the top five plays of the day.

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

France knocked Croatia out of the FIBA World Cup on Saturday in a 69-64 victory, and in that game we got a couple highlights from the Spurs' Boris Diaw and one particular France possession that looked downright Spursy.

As we see here, Diaw receives the ball to make his move down low, then moves past the help defender to get into the paint. He probably could have gotten by the third Croatian and finished that layup if he wanted to, but his instinct is always to find a better shot if he can, so he dumped the ball off to teammate Florent Pietrus for the easy lay-in and FIBA's best assist of the day.

Coming in at No. 3 on FIBA's top five plays of the day, we have Diaw spoiling Croatia's fastbreak play. After the France miss, Croatian forward Dario Saric heads down the middle as he sees the opportunity for a quick bucket. He passes left to Krunoslav Simon who thinks he has the layup, but Diaw swipes it clean for the block.

When Saric made that pass, Diaw is at the 3-point line on the right wing, which may have made Simon believe the basket was his. However, Diaw's deceptive athleticism worked in his favor and he was able to close at just the right moment. Saric doesn't look too happy at the 1:00 mark.

But it's play No. 2  that's sure to make Spurs fans' hearts glad. Just look the ball movement that can't help but bring back good memories of the Finals. What started off looking like a floater in the paint by point guard Thomas Heurtel turned into five passes that had the Croatian defense scrambling and ended in a wide open three by forward Mickael Gelabale after the assist by Diaw. France had a six-point lead with 4:20 remaining, and this 3-pointer to extend the lead to nine was crucial in securing the win.

France is now preparing to take on Spain at 3 p.m. central time on Wednesday. The best foe that France has faced so far, Spain defeated Les Bleus this past Wednesday 88-64.