Shaken three days ago, Vincent Collet’s players made short work of Italy (100-68) on Tuesday in Montpellier, in a warm-up match.
This time, there was no photo. Difficult winners of Italy in Bologna on Friday (78-77 ap), the Blues had this same transalpine selection on Tuesday (100-68), in Montpellier this time, for their third preparation match for EuroBasket (September 1-18). Four French players with 10 points and more (Okobo 18, Fournier 13, Heurtel 13, Gobert 10, Luwawu-Cabarrot 10) during this controlled game. Others who were not far from this symbolic bar (Poirier 9, Jaiteh 8, Maledon 8, Yabusele 7).
Start of the match closed on both sides. Over the minutes, it was especially for Italy (10-4, 14-8), more and more embarrassed by the defense of its hosts, with in particular these two interceptions from Fournier to start the machine. And as nothing came from afar for the visitors, who were annoyed with the image of this unsportsmanlike for Nicolo Melli (13 pts) and the technique of coach Gianmarco Pozzecco, the gap was climbing quickly. The entries of Poirier and Okobo also did a lot of good (23-12, then 25-14 at the end of 1st QT). On the ropes, the Italians returned their first two pluses of the match by Polonara and Baldasso (31-18, then 31-24), but France still raised the tone around its twin towers Gobert / Poirier. Add to that the address of Luwawu-Cabarrot from afar, and you get a significant gap (38-24). A few risky choices in attack and a relaxation in defense opened the door to a closer Italy (41-37). Not for long (51-37, then 51-40 MT).
Up to 36 points difference
Danilo Gallinari (11 pts) was doing what he could to keep his people alive on the restart. Not enough against this beautiful French team, which was playing its game, with a long time more than 60% on shots (70-50). And again, the French left a few points on the way to throws… If lightning fell on the Hérault city on Tuesday, Poirier made it fall on the boards, with a huge dunk in traffic (72-51). Which did not fail to delight the 8,234 fans of the Sud de France Arena. In the end, the Blues, authors of a very consistent third quarter, were up to 23 lengths ahead (76-53) and attacked the last 10 minutes at +21 (76-55). Collet could quickly rest his executives and allow others to show off. Okobo did not need to be asked and it turned into a correction (100-64, then 100-68 final score). Clear, crisp and smudge-free.
Next meeting for the France team? Thursday, still in Montpellier but against Belgium this time. Behind, there will still be two trial gallops before tackling Germany at the opening of the Euro (September 1), two matches which will also qualify for the 2023 World Cup, against the Czech Republic (August 24 ), in Bercy, and in Bosnia and Herzegovina (August 27).