Limited then distanced, ASVEL showed character to overcome the Red Star

After a scathing loss in front of his home crowd against Monaco (75-100), TJ Parker’s men had to redeem themselves. They did it by winning 69-67 against Red Star Belgrade this Friday night at the Astroballe. Even more diminished than usual with Elie Okobo’s package, hit in the shoulder, ASVEL raced behind in the score.

Because the start was more complicated for the Rhodaniens. Faced with a team largely affected by Covid-19 at the start of 2022, and which had not played for almost 3 weeks, the locals did not put the necessary ingredients on both sides of the field. Like a Marcos Knight market (22-35, 17th), Etoile Rouge was calm in the face of local clumsiness (3/16 at 3-points), to be credited with 11 stray balls and 5 small assists decisive at the break (25-35, 20th).

Paul Lacombe was everywhere

At -10 at the break precisely, without Elie Okobo, William Howard, Victor Wembanyama, David Lighty or Antoine Diot – who quickly held his calf (relapse?) -, we could expect the worst for ASVEL. Nay! After scoring 25 small points in the first 20 minutes, Lyon-Villeurbanne scored almost as many during the third quarter. Under the impetus of a Paul Lacombe record (17 points and 7 rebounds) and all the good shots, author of 10 points in the third quarter, the game became tighter.

Ognjen Dobric (20 points at 7/15 on shots) was very alone in scoring on the Belgrade side. Clumsy, Nikola Kalinic (9 points at 3/9) came out for 5 faults and the momentum was on the side of Asvel. The undermining work of James Gist (9 points and 4 rebounds) would allow others to shine. Admirable in combat and aggressiveness, Paul Lacombe was well supported by Chris Jones (17 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists). Not at the level expected in the first half, the American leader did the job on high-class penetrations in the heart of a racket that could no longer stop him.

His last basket put ASVEL in a position to win a victory that we would have thought unexpected two quarters earlier (69-67, 39th). With 20 seconds to play and no downtime, Dobric took a very bad shot from a long distance challenged. L’Astroballe could exult: his proteges won a very precious success there, obtained through courage and resilience (69-67).

After 20 games, Asvel is practically in balance (9 wins, 11 losses) and remains in contact with the group which is eyeing eighth place. With only one defeat more than Anadolu Efes Istanbul, currently in possession of the last spot for the playoffs, Villeurbanne can still believe in it despite its current meager squad.

Click here to access the statistics of the meeting


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