For a week, Cologne (Germany) has eyes only for him. His number 77 in the Dallas Mavericks wins by far on the shoulders of the fans -and not only of his country- and when it comes to his name, during the presentation of the teams he is the one who receives the most ovations . Among the large number of NBA stars who came to play in Euro 2022 basketball, Luka Doncic is a special player, along with the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Serbian Nikola Jokic. It was his Slovenian team that faced the French men’s basketball team on Wednesday, September 7, in the final match of the group stage. At the end of a tough and disputed game, led by a sparkling Luka Doncic, the current European champions beat the Blues (88-82).
With 47 points, the Slovenian leader signed probably the best offensive performance in the history of the competition. Only in front of him, the 63 points of the Belgian Eddy Terrace in 1957 against Albania, but it is difficult to compare current basketball with the one where the European Championship was played outdoors at that time. In a trance, the Mavs player led his team to the top of the tough Group D. Third, the Blues will face Turkey in the round of 16 on Saturday in Berlin.
“If a player scores 50 points, how do you want to win a game?asks French leader Thomas Heurtel. Of course it is Luka Doncic, one of the best players in the world, but we have to change something. In the end, we made it more difficult for him, but in the beginning it was very easy for him. »
“A total lack of respect”, denounces Vincent Collet
However, the Blues have made life difficult for the Balkan players. “We produced our best game [de la compétition] »said Vincent Collet. Usually of an Olympic calm, the French coach was not angry with the arbitration, as permissive with the Slovenians as severe with his troops, according to him. “There was a total lack of respect towards us. Tonight I consider that we have been mistreated “lamented the coach, deploring that the referees have “it prevented the players from deciding the match at the end of the match.” Since the start of the continental competition, if the level of play is very high, the refereeing sometimes leaves something to say, and the French coach is not the first to get excited about it.
In this rematch of the semifinal of the last Olympic Games, which had seen the French win thanks to a counterattack in the last seconds of their captain Nicolas Batum -absent during this campaign-, the two teams met at the hands of the cut .
Luka Doncic discovered Terry Tarpey. Opposed to the NBA gratin all year, there was little chance the Slovenian maestro would know who the Le Mans winger was before the competition – some of his Blues teammates didn’t either. But the relentless defense of the tournament’s French revelation weighed Luka Doncic down to begin with. And the Slovenians had to wait until the sixth minute of the match to register their first basket of the match. Dedicated in defense, and taking care of the ball in attack, the French started the match seriously.
Members “as spectators”
But they could only see the awakening of “Luka”, under the screams “MVP, MVP” of the public (by The player most value, ” best player “). Chaining brilliant actions, Doncic multiplied and by the break he had already accumulated 27 points. “Luka is one of the best players in history. We are like spectators, privileged witnesses of something great. And we’re doing everything we can to help him.” he recognized his partner Jaka Blazic.
“Luka is a fantastic player, he manages to raise his level of play like almost no other player, confirms the French center Rudy Gobert. He had his night today, some of his shots were very hard, and we have to congratulate him. » Even briefly damaged by an elbow from center Vincent Poirier during a rebounding battle, the Slovenian playmaker continued his fest. “I was very motivated before the game and started well. And when he starts to get hot, it’s really hard to turn him off.” exposes the side Jaka Blazic.
TAKE A BOW. LUKA IS 27 IN THE FIRST PART! #EuroBasket x #BringTheNoise https://t.co/yJFW7Pglk1
In a match played as a knockout match when both teams had qualified for the Round of 16, no one was able to separate their opponent far enough. “It was a semi-final or final match in terms of intensity.acknowledged Thomas Heurtel. It was also a great game for basketball fans. Luckily we lost it. » Like a powerful mate by Gobert on Doncic, the Frenchman did not allow himself to be counted at the end of the match, returning to equality two minutes from the siren. “Despite Doncic, and despite the decisions, the match remained even, and it was played in the last two minutes”, Rudy Gobert lamented. Angry with the referees, the Blues believe they were unable to defend their chances until the end, hampered by several unfavorable decisions. “In thirteen years of international competitions I had never seen that”the coach concluded.
Despite this defeat, the French team withdrew from the extremely tough Group B of the competition, leaving Cologne for Berlin. After playing five games in seven days, the next two days off will be welcome. “When blade matches start, it’s immediately different,” warns Captain Evan Fournier, anticipating a “Strong match against Turkey in a very tough table match”. If they overcome the Turkish obstacle, the Blues would probably face the Serbia of a great Nikola Jokic, double MVP in the NBA title. Before, who knows, find Luka Doncic and the Slovenians in the semi-finals.
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