EuroBasket : Dominating before experiencing a terrible air pocket, the France team came very close to elimination in the round of 16, only getting out of it by a miracle against Turkey (87-86 a.p.), thanks to Rudy Gobert, huge Saturday in Berlin.
The France team will be there for the quarter-finals of the EuroBasket and the reverse would have been a huge disappointment. But she will appear there on Wednesday weighed down by the two faults that have plagued her since the start of her summer campaign: a propensity to fill wagons with stray bullets (21 this Saturday) and a chronic irregularity even within the meetings, with this times a 19-0 conceded between the 23rd minute (49-38) and the 31st minute (49-57).
Stunned by this unscrewing, while the first half had shown them in a good mood and even dominating (31-15, 15th), the Bleus came within a whisker of elimination. Or rather two free throws, those missed by Cleveland Cavaliers winger Cedi Osman at +2 for the Turks (77-75) and possession to follow seven seconds from the end of the fourth quarter after an unsportsmanlike foul whistled at Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot.
The miracle came from an interception by Evan Fournier on the throw-in, when the ball was intended for Bugrahan Tuncer, replacing Shane Larkin, untenable in the second half (14 of his 22 points). It was materialized by a tap dunk from Rudy Gobert for the equalizer in extremis.
“We almost got over it with Osman’s two throws but we never let go”, breathes Amath Mbaye, very useful at the relay from Guerschon Yabusele too short to play the money-time. The suspense never subsided in overtime, the Bleus still blowing the heat (87-82 with 1’30 ”from the end) then the cold, with a last potentially decisive Turkish possession (87-86) after two missed shots by Gobert. A rare stain in the colossal performance of the pivot (20 points, 17 rebounds), essential for his offensive rebounds when the match was played. The fate was finally cast on a stray ball from Furkan Korkmaz, defended by M’Baye.
The Bleus (France) will therefore see the Top 8, which is better than during the previous EuroBasket (elimination in 8th in 2017 by Germany, 84-81). Weighted with their faults, they will leave there on Wednesday in a position of outsiders, which they prefer, against the winner of Serbia-Italy (Sunday at 6 p.m.), the first of these two countries being announced as one of the favorites of the tournament. with his duo Nikola Jokic-Vasilje Micic. But with what the Bleus have just experienced, the rest will only be a bonus.