“Come on, let’s continue,” Youssoupha Fall seemed to say to James Gist as he gave up his place. An explicit movement of the arm to express the need to keep the foot on the accelerator, despite the fact that ASVEL had already won the match (58-23) and remained at 8-0 since coming back from the locker room. Message well understood by the American veteran, who went there with his and-one in the next possession (61-23). A revealing sequence of the mood of the afternoon in Lyon-Villeurbanne, that of a champion upset by his inaugural defeat on Wednesday (74-82), already with his back to the wall but animated by a formidable desire for revenge. Does the perfect couple exist? Maybe not, but TJ Parker’s men at least had the perfect evening. Everyone contributed, including Antoine Diot, happy as a child to see his name uttered for the first time at the end of the third quarter (7 in 12 minutes), even Chris Jones, insecure but terribly precious during his short time on the court. (7 points and 4 assists in 9 minutes).
The biggest win in Finals history!
“I saw 12 players, they all played hard until the end and I am very proud of the team,” said the Rhone coach. “It is the best response we could give. That of a team determined to correct their mistakes on Wednesday, to undertake all the necessary efforts to erase their weaknesses against the Monegasque army. A highlight? Massacred in Match 1 under the panels (27 to 41), the locals won the rebounding battle this time (39 to 34).“Rebounding was instruction number one”, agreed TJ Parker.“Because we are small compared to them, we have to do the work in the ground and there we saw the desire. “Too “soft”, too “pleasant” according to the terms used by Youssoupha Fall 48 hours ago, the villeurbannais approached this second meeting with completely different intentions, this time with the desire to put themselves in the shoes of the aggressor. “We wanted to return with so much aggression”, confessed Elie Okobo, in every good shot (10 points in 2/5, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 20 minutes, +34, the highest differential in the game). “We wanted to show another face, it was not acceptable to start like this. We did what we should have done from the beginning of the final: put a lot of defensive aggressiveness, make stops and run for easy baskets. A performance like this gives us confidence. »
To tell the truth, if we expected a reaction of pride on the part of ASVEL, such a magnitude was totally unsuspected. In fact, the 37-point difference on the scoreboard (91-54) constitutes the biggest victory in the history of the French championship finals (information signed by Arnaud Lecomte, from L’Équipe). A deserved punishment for the Monegasques who, after having done what was expected of them on the road on Wednesday, arrived like tourists, rewarding the Astroballe with a performance of rare weakness: a game all isolated to the point of caricature (only 8 assists ), I do not wish, without intensity, a catastrophic “body language”, stars with absent subscribers with Mike James (6 points at 1/9) and Dwayne Bacon (4 points at 1/7) who left Ibrahima Fall Faye to finish as the top scorer of the night (10 points in 4/6). “This night has made us hot,” summed up the Senegalese interior. “ASVEL was more prepared than us, he wanted it more than us. »
Crushed by the way, the Roca Team still remains in a position of strength
If the coaches logically managed the game times for the rest of the final seeing the turn of events in the second half, the scoreboard took on embarrassing proportions by sequence: +40 from the 25th minute of the game (63 -23), and up to +44 at the end of the match (91-47), after Sasa Obradovic was voluntarily excluded for getting on Joseph Bissang’s nerves. “It was a problem of approach tonight,” admitted his deputy Mirco Ocokoljic, sent to take on press duties in place of his superior. “We didn’t approach this match in the right way but in the end it was one of those nights where nothing works. “And if we can ask ourselves about the face that the Roca Team has put on, the truth is that the players from the Principality have the keys to the series in their hands. -1 or -37, nothing changes: who remembers that JSF Nanterre started their 2013 Homeric final with an absolute win against Strasbourg (55-89)? “We don’t count the point spread in the playoffs,” tweeted Mike James, after expressing his exasperation from the Astroballe locker room with the messages from fans received at the end of the evening. AS Monaco has effectively done its job in Villeurbanne: regaining the home field advantage. But as this team is allowed to rest on its laurels too easily, it didn’t know how to kill the suspense and put both hands into the final. However, in a five-inning series, one can quickly regret missing the opportunity to complete the debates. Especially against a champion…
“Come on, let’s continue,” Youssoupha Fall seemed to say to James Gist as he gave up his place. An explicit movement of the arm to express the need to keep the foot on the accelerator, despite the fact that ASVEL had already won the match (58-23) and remained at 8-0 since coming back from the locker room. Message well understood by the American veteran, who…