The miracle, episode 2: these Blues are survivors!

These Blues have a great flaw and a very unique quality: their ability to get themselves into trouble is replaced only by a great strength of character, by their ability to get out of it like of the great ones. Through a true survival instinct, in short. “Sometimes you need a beating to wake you up”Terry Tarpey. “As long as you don’t wake up long, you’re fine! » This time, the knights arrived 2 minutes and 18 seconds from the final buzzer, after a long shot from Simone Fontecchio who had everything in the last sentence (68-75). But in a strange match with Turkey, the French team managed to grab a new extension by equalizing 77-77 at the end of regulation time, a score equal to Saturday.

Fontecchio, like Osman…

Heurtel’s decisive basket to clinch extra time (photo: FIBA)

“It was not the same game against Turkey, we showed more character”argued Thomas Heurtel, joined by Vincent Collet. “I agree. With 12 seconds left with two free throws and possession to follow for the opponent, it was a miracle. There, we returned before the last moments. My team didn’t stop fighting, kept believing in it no matter the situation: don’t take that determination away from them! I never felt rejected. » In the wake of their leader Evan Fournier, valuable for instilling 4-0 in a pick and roll for Rudy Gobert then an individual action (73-75, 39th minute), then private Terry Tarpey, to be credited with an important tap. (75-77, 40th minute), the tricolors actually have the merit of giving themselves the means to continue believing in it. But there must be an element of absurdity: it consists in the collapse of the best opposing player, Simone Fontecchio, on the free throw line, like Cedi Osman on Saturday. In 85% of the career exercise, the future winger from Utah – if not monumental (21 points on 7/15, 5 rebounds and 2 assists) – did not convert either of his two attempts 16 seconds from the siren, when almost opportunity to fold the debates. “At the bank, we said to ourselves that we have an impossible chance”, admitted Andrew Albicy. The Blues did not let it go: the hero of the night, Thomas Heurtel (20 points on 8/14 and 8 assists) brought all the beautiful people to the promised land, the extension. “He wears boxer shorts like me”Rudy Gobert smiled afterward.

Regardless of how they came out in the end, the French team repeated the same patterns, showing the same values ​​and the same weaknesses from one match to another. As against Turkey, Rudy Gobert’s teammates (19 points on 8/11 and 14 rebounds) were not rewarded for their defensive efforts at halftime (37-30) due to their excessive weakness (11 balls lost at break). “We should have been at +30”, laughs Vincent Collet. As against Turkey, the end of the third quarter was a real disaster, with the dreaded concretization of the transalpine straggler game (56-64, 34th minute), marked by the presence on the floor of a five defensively unfit that constitutes the Italian movement. And then, as against Turkey – spoiler! –, the Blues pulled their heads out of the bucket as the money time approached, not losing a single ball from the foot of Terry Tarpey in touch 6 minutes from the end (59-64). “At -8, I’m afraid we’ll lose the thread of our game”said Vincent Collet. “There was no longer the same pressure in defense and we rushed to attack. Then there was a change: we regained control, we started to play again, especially under the leadership of Thomas (Heurtel). » Aggressive and creative, the Agde point guard took all possible responsibilities, ball in hand, by accumulating 14 points and 4 assists in the fourth quarter and overtime. “People who know me know I’m not afraid”he launched, a small satisfied smile at the corner.

“We can’t get gold at our level in the last two games! »

Blues shock but in Top 4! (photo: FIBA)

And here is the French team, despite all its brutality, in the final four of the EuroBasket (93-85 victory). Here is the French team, despite all its imperfections, at the gate of its dream, with two games to play for a medal. “Gold is our first goal”, reaffirmed by Thomas Heurtel. Unless these Blues are miraculous or saved, there will be a time when the coin will fall on the wrong side, especially if we leave a lot of room for chance. “We know we won’t be European champions at our level in the last two games”Vincent Collet claims. “We know we have to play better, we tried everything for that, but we are still alive! The semi-final is an opportunity for us to do better! We have a chance, we deserve it because we did we have it for ourselves tonight. We will work for two days to get our best game possible. Now, you have to step-up (get up), it’s time! » To not have to depend on two free throws from the opposing star in the last seconds of 75-77…

In Berlin,

through

September 14, 2022 at 7:18 am

These Blues have a great flaw and a very unique quality: their ability to get themselves into trouble is replaced only by a great strength of character, by their ability to get out of it like of the great ones. Through a true survival instinct, in short. “Sometimes you need a beating to wake you up”,…

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