Parker's 23 help lead France past Nowitzki's German squad

Sep. 8, 2007 wire reports

MADRID, Spain -- Tony Parker scored 23 points and France defeated Germany 78-66 Saturday, moving closer to a berth in the quarterfinals of the European basketball championship.
Advertisement Florent Pietrus and Tariq Kirksay added 12 points apiece for France, while Dirk Nowitzki led Germany with 28 points.
The loss leaves Germany needing wins in its final two Group F matches to guarantee a place in the elimination round.
Both Germany and France played a high-tempo game at the start, but back-to-back unsportmanlike fouls on Steffen Hamann and Patrick Femerling allowed France to take a 21-13 lead.
France led 26-20 going into the second quarter, and then used a 15-2 run, ignited by Pietrus' 3-pointer, to go up 43-30.
Nowitzki carried his struggling team into halftime, hitting a fade-away 3 at the buzzer to narrow the deficit to 47-39. The Dallas Mavericks forward had 19 points by halftime and Parker led France with 11.
After Germany cut the deficit to 47-45 with 8:13 left in the third quarter, France closed the period on a 15-4 run and Parker's shooting was near perfect in the final quarter. Nowitzki was held to four field goals in the second half.
Ademola Okulaja was the only other German player to reach double figures, scoring 14 and pulling in nine rebounds.
Later in Group F, unbeaten Lithuania plays Italy and Slovenia puts its perfect record to the test against Turkey.
In Group E, Russia has six points, one more than both Spain and Croatia. Greece and Israel are tied with four and Portugal has three. Four teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals, which begin Thursday.
Two automatic berths for the 2008 Olympics are at stake. Spain has already qualified because of its world title.