Should France emerge victorious in Poland on Friday, they will go to Berlin to take on either Germany or Spain in the final on Sunday. At stake is the title of European champion.
Never settle for less than three. Les Bleus qualified for the final of the EuroBasket for the third time in their history, following their appearances in 2011 and 2013. This past Friday in Berlin, during the semi-finals of the European championship, they defeated Poland, the surprise guest of the last four, by a score of 95-54. They were led to victory by a top Rudy Gobert, Gershon Yabusele who was on fire offensively, and an iron collective defense. This time, there was no miracle, and there was no snatching of a victory like there was in the eighth round against Turkey (87-86 ap) or in the quarterfinals against Italy (93-85 ap). The strong Olympic vice-champions put on a show of force to advance to the final on Sunday when they will face either Germany or Spain in an attempt to win their second European title after winning in 2013.
Yabuele finished with 22 points, while Evan Fournier contributed 10 points. Gobert finished with 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Take note of how influential “defenders” Andrew Albicy (+/- to +24, 3 points, 4 wt) and Terry Tarpey (+/- to +20, 8 points, 4 rebs) have been in this game. In a game in which the executives were able to relax for the majority of the fourth quarter, the final stats for Thomas Heurtel’s performance were seven points scored and six assists sent out. And after the knife clashes on Saturday and Wednesday, it’s not exactly a matter of luxury… On the Polish side, AJ Slaughter scored 9 points, while Ponitka was muzzled and only scored 7.
The Blues are immediately in tune
The game got off to a tense start for both teams, with clumsiness, misplaced balls, and, in a nutshell, stress. In this rather insignificant contest, the Blues were doing better, thanks to Yabusele’s address (he scored eight points in the first quarter) and Fournier’s tenacity (13-6). Enough to take a 15-9 lead after the first ten minutes of play and further widen the gap in the subsequent minutes, while the Poles contributed nothing to the game (22-9). Which Poles only remained alive thanks to the address of Slaughter, but France pressed where it hurt with their twin towers, Gobert and Poirier, with a monstrous counter from the first and a huge dunk from the second (27-14). France pressed where it hurt with their twin towers, Gobert and Poirier, with a monstrous counter from the first and a huge dunk from the second. The blue defense did not allow anything to get by the excellent Gobert, and as a result, the Poles were only able to score 18 points, with France having a deficit of up to 16 points at halftime (32-16, then 34-18 MT).
In the third quarter, the Blues helped us become accustomed to air pockets. This time it won’t work. We rapidly realized that coach Collet’s players had no intention of slowing down in this area and that France was strolling on top of an already overwhelmed Polish team (59-30), with Ponitka behind the glass. Stroll… And +28 with ten minutes remaining in the game (64-36 at the end of the third quarter), with a triple-signed Okobo to conclude the third quarter and another to start the fourth, with Gobert, Fournier, and the executives swiftly glued to the bench. There is no reason to put the tricolor crew in harm’s way. There is a test that needs to be studied for (95-54 final score).
It will be Sunday evening at 8:30, and a second continental title, following that of 2013, will be within sight. It took place in Slovenia during the time that the Parker generation was still in control. There is little doubt that the level of opposition will increase significantly, whether it is the Germany of Dennis Schroder at home or the everlasting Spain, which will almost definitely be redesigned.