The French basketball team won with great offensive ease (100-68) its third Euro preparation match at the expense of Italy on Tuesday in Montpellier a fortnight before the start of the competition in Germany ( September 1 – 18). The Blues, silver medalists at the Tokyo Olympics last summer, have a third consecutive victory after that against the Netherlands (89 – 65) and their sluggish success in front of these same Italians on Friday in Bologna (78-77 ap ).
In the absence of executives Nicolas Batum and Nando De Colo who are skipping the Euro and deprived of three players through injuries, coach Vincent Collet’s team has really launched its preparation around sharp and reassuring offensive sensations. In a sold-out Sud de France Arena, the Olympic vice-champions were more comfortable than four days earlier in Emilia-Romagna. In the wake of playmaker Thomas Heurtel and executives Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier, they reassured in attack, like their success in winning shots (58%, at 14/25).
Heurtel, prophet in his country
Concentrated in defense, solid on the rebound, the French team made people forget their laborious start to preparation. She never trembled, leading by eleven points at the end of the first quarter (25-14), she even mastered her game. The two leaders of the France team, namely Evan Fournier (13 points), promoted captain, and Rudy Gobert (10 points, 11 rebounds) started timidly before finding their know-how over time, to finally allow their team to unfold in the second half.
With the injuries of the leaders Frank Ntilikina and Andrew Albicy, the Biterrois Thomas Heurtel, regional of the stage, was one of the great satisfactions of the victory of the Blues. With ten points and five assists in the first period, he stayed the course at the head of the France team and made his game more fluid. match thanks to his experience, his efficiency but also his authority on the game.
Once again, the young winger from Villeurbanne: Elie Okobo (12 selections), best scorer of the evening (18 points, including a 4/5 at three points) ensured a perfect relay from the five major to finish at one hundred at the hour. The Italians, clearly dominated, were therefore drowned out by the attacking brilliance of the France team despite the performance of their captain Nicolo Melli (13 points).
Thursday, also in Montpellier, the Blues will face Belgium in the final friendly match, before playing two qualifying matches for the next World Cup against the Czech Republic and Bosnia-Herzegovina, before flying to the ‘Germany.