The French national team was re-launched in the European Championship. The Blues fully recovered in the match and in a state of mind, the Blues imposed themselves in a tough battle against Lithuania (77-73), on Saturday in Cologne. And they reassured themselves after their big defeat in the opening against Germany, two days ago at the Lanxess Stadium itself (63-76).
Against the very strong Balts, who was also playing big after their defeat to the Slovenian champions (85-92), the French were driven by unexpected champions (Mustapha Vall, Thierry Tarbe) before they finally snatched the decision by their leaders. , Evan Fournier (27 points, 5 rebounds), Rudy Goubert and Thomas Huertel.
We were more aggressive. Appreciated Andrew Bessie at Canal + Microphone. Those off the bench brought energy, and confidence was given to the players in the Big Five who finished the match. This victory is good for morale. » Here are the Blues on a better track with the goal of qualifying for the Round of 16, before facing Hungary on Sunday (8:30pm).
The Blues again missed the start of the game, finding themselves 13 tall (21-8) after 7 minutes of play.
However, they had to recover from a disastrous start to the match, which reminds of their failed starts during preparation meetings. Vincent Colette changed his fifth start again, firing Thomas Hurtl in place of Andrew Albissi and Terry Tarbe in place of Eli Okubo.
The offensive game was more fluid than it was on Thursday, but the French team lacked the efficiency of Heurtel, and proved unable to stop the Lithuanians with diabolical skill. In a crazy atmosphere of the room where there were about 4,000 Baltic fans, the guys in green managed seven of the first nine (21-8, 7).
Val revives the blues
But everything changed with Mustafa Fall entering the game. The Giant (2.16 m), who returned from several weeks of absence due to injury and did not play against the Germans, scored six points in two minutes, including Dunk after a great duel against New Orleans star Jonas Valanciunas. And it brought a precious point of attachment inside.
Yvan Fournier is also back in action after being off topic against the Germans: 18 points in the first two quarters and 3/5 behind the arc to start! The Blues made a quick recovery, tying 28-28 (12) in an award-winning basket from the New York Knicks player.
The euphoria of winger Marius Grigounis (13 points from the bench) allowed Lithuania to retain control (39-33, 38), but the French changed well. He was much stronger in defense, set a good rhythm for attack, and they came back to 41-40 in the first half, taking the lead for the first time with a long-range shot from Terry Tarby (46-48, 24th position).
However, the Blues found themselves struggling again, less accurate as Fournier whose counter stopped at 13 minutes. Jonas Valanciunas (15 points, 8 rebounds) benefited from the absence in the rebound (56-50, 30).
Evan Fournier is back at work
In a tense fourth quarter, and to the cheers of the Lithuanian fans, Thierry Tarbe proved why he was a surprise guest for this Euro with an interception, followed by a three-point basket for the equalizer (60-60, 35).
It was money time, manager time. Then Yvan Fournier took over again: a muscle interception, then an award-winning shot in transition to bring the Blues back up front (64-67, 37). Thomas Hurtle, so far out of the title, has scored two consecutive baskets (64-71, 38).
“If we play with that chemistry, it will be difficult for our opponents
In a stifling last minute, as Rokas Jokobaitis kept the Balts alive by hitting two three-point baskets, Rudi Gobert, previously conservative (8 points, 4 rebounds in total), was decisive. The future Minnesota player sank an offensive rebound (67-73, 40) and converted his two winning free throws without shaking a single second of the final siren (73-77, final score).
The French team won its fourth consecutive victory over Lithuania in the final stage of nine years and the glorious final of Euro 2013 (80-66). Here he returns to his place before the two games a priori, the most easily in this group B, on Sunday against the Hungarians (defeated in the opening by Bosnia, 85-95, who faced Slovenia later in the evening) and on Tuesday against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“It was still an away game, but I love it, Terry Tarbey smiled on Channel +. We started poorly but were able to find second winds and laps. If we play with this harmony, it will be difficult for our opponents. »