August 25, 2019

Newsy Today

the Blues offer themselves in extremis Italy in preparation

24 hours after their success against New Zealand, French basketball players won their second warm-up match on Chinese soil against a good Italian team (82-80).

The World with AFP and Reuters Posted today at 14h56, updated at 15h16

Time to Reading 2 min.

Evan Fournier (here in 2017) scored 29 points on Sunday in a difficult win against Italy.
Evan Fournier (here in 2017) scored 29 points on Sunday in a difficult win against Italy. Lefteris Pitarakis / AP

The French basketball team displays a state of form encouraging just a few days before the start of the 2019 Worlds. French basketball players have gone up a notch by beating Italy 82 to 80, in their penultimate warm-up match at the World Cup. , Sunday in Shenyang, thanks to a sparkling performance by Evan Fournier (29 points).

The Blues will play their final friendly on Tuesday against Serbia before flying to Shenzhen, at the other end of China, where they start their World Cup with a shock to win against Germany next Saturday.

Vincent Collet may line up against the Serbs, the main outsider for the title behind the Americans, the twelve players he intends to put on the final list (to give 48 hours before the World Cup at the latest). Unless he still needs to see the men in balance.

Facing the Italians, the young Theo Maledon, lacking rhythm after a shoulder injury, failed to make his entry, losing three shots in quick succession. His competitor at the position of third leader, Elie Okobo, was not convincing either (2 points, 4 balls lost).

Fournier shines

Although he has so far claimed the opposite, it is not excluded that the coach leaves with two leaders, Andrew Albicy and Frank Ntilikina (rest Sunday), counting on Nando De Colo (12 points) or even Paul Lacombe, to provide some relay. Unless the latter, almost not used against Italy (3 minutes), is the last off the list, because Louis Labeyrie has made an energetic start to the game inside (5 points, 4 rebounds).

Opposed for the first time to a serious candidate for places of honor after defeating notably Brazil and Argentina during the first part of the campaign in France, the Blues have shown beautiful things, even if their inconstancy has failed their cost the victory. Rudy Gobert did a big job inside: 13 points, several counters and a constantly dissuasive defensive presence.

The man of the match was Evan Fournier. Discreet in the first period, he took things in hand offensively after the break, at three points (three baskets) that attacking the circle. Balance: 29 points, his record in France team. Nicolas Batum was also excellent in the role of handyman (10 points), essential defense.

Against the Serbs, the French will pass their biggest test. With his NBA players, Nikola Jokic and Bogdan Bogdanovic in particular, the team of Sacha Djordjevic is promised to the podium in Beijing on September 15, despite the absence of his leader Milos Teodosic, injured.