Lithuania lost again! France issued a powerful comeback and miraculously escaped from failure
Lithuanians start the tournament with two defeats in a row.
The next match of the EuroBasket 2022 group stage took place in Germany. In the second round, the French team met with the national team of Lithuania. The team of Kazis Maksvītis was leading throughout the meeting and only in the very end lost the victory! The French gave an unexpected comeback and drastically reduced the chances of the Lithuanians to advance from the group.
Both the French and the Lithuanians had previously played one match in the tournament. Wards of Vincent Collet unexpectedly lost to the German national team with a score of 63:76, and the Lithuanian team lost to Slovenia in a stubborn duel – 85:92. Before the start of the meeting, France occupied the last, sixth place in the group, and the Lithuanians – the fourth. At the same time, before the start of the tournament, France was called one of the main contenders for the title of European champion.
French team in action
Photo: Getty Images
But despite the status of the favorite, on the eve of the match, the team did not underestimate the opponent.
“Lithuania is a very strong team. They are never easy to play with. Lithuanians are always united and fight with all their might. We are facing a huge challenge. Domantas and Jonas are physically strong and distinguished by their abilities. We have to fight against them as a team and make life difficult for them. They play very well together and it won’t be easy,” said Rudy Gobert.
The meeting took place in Cologne, at the Lanxess Arena. The game was attended by many Lithuanian fans – they were perfectly audible, yellow-green colors prevailed in the stands, and shortly after the start, a colorful banner was stretched in support of the Lithuanian national team. Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and head coach Mike Brown also came to watch Domantas Sabonis play.
In the starting five of the Lithuanian national team, Rokas Jokubaitis, Ignas Brazdeikis, Rokas Giedraitis, Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valanciunas entered the floor. From the first minutes they were opposed by Rudy Gobert, Evan Fournier, Thomas Ertel, Terry Tarpy and Gershon Yabusele.
Rokas Jakubaitis in attack
Photo: Getty Images
The scoring was opened by Domantas Sabonis, who scored a two-point hit. After that, the Lithuanians managed to quickly get ahead, and by the middle of the segment, the advantage of the team of Kazys Maksvytis reached the mark of “+13”. The Lithuanians converted as many as 9 out of 14 points from the game, leaving the opponent with only 5 rebounds. But Evan Fournier and Mustafa Fall, who recently returned to action from an injury, immediately issued a response series of hits. The Lithuanians failed to defend, and by the end of the first ten minutes the difference in the score was only 2 points – 25:23.
At the beginning of the second quarter, the French managed to level the score. Fournier, who scored 17 points in 13 minutes, continued to attack the opponent’s ring. However, in the middle of the segment, the pace of the game slowed down significantly. Both teams experienced problems in attack – the main star of the Lithuanian national team, Domantas Sabonis, scored only 2 points in the first half. The same amount was on account of the French center Rudy Gobert. At the same time, the Lithuanians with their team basketball still remained slightly ahead. The second quarter, which turned out to be much less productive than the first, was left for the French – 17:16. However, the minimum advantage in the match was still held by the Lithuanian team – 41:40.
EuroBasket 2022. France – Lithuania (77:73)
Photo: Getty Images
After a long break, the French team looked quite cheerful and four minutes later took the lead for the first time. However, the Lithuanians quickly managed to equalize, after which a points drought set in again in the match. In France, even Fournier stopped hitting, but the wards of Maksvytis ran away at the end of the segment. They continued to gain second chance points, which the French were noticeably lacking, and gave a breakthrough 8:0. At the same time, in the third quarter, both teams scored even less in total than in the second – only 25 points. So, the teams approached the final segment with a score of 56:50.
However, the Lithuanians were not allowed to consolidate the advantage in the final 10 minutes. Through the efforts of Fournier, Tarpi and Jabusele, the French managed to equalize, and subsequently successfully repel the attacks of the Lithuanians. Then the Lithuanian national team made two unexpected losses, to which Kolle’s wards responded with fast passes to the other half. Three minutes before the final siren, Fournier’s “three-pointer” brought the team forward. It was followed by two two-pointers from Ertel, and the French team suddenly led “+7”. However, the struggle continued to the last. The Lithuanians still managed to close the gap, and 13 seconds before the end of the match, the difference in the score was only 2 points. The fate of the match was decided by free throws.
First, the French team received two free kicks – Fournier did not kill the intrigue in the match and scored only one, 73:75. Then the Lithuanians got their two attempts from the penalty line – Brazdeikis smeared the second shot on purpose. This was followed by a Sabonis foul, and Rudy Gobert went to the line. The center successfully realized his two attempts and put an end to the match. The result – an unexpected victory for the French team, 77:73.
Evan Fournier led the game with 27 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Jonas Valanciunas was the best in the Lithuanian national team with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Another 14 points were added by Rokas Jokubaitis, 13 by Marius Grigonis, 12 by Brazdeikis. Domantas Sabonis has 6 points and 9 rebounds.
In the next round, the French team will play with the Hungarian team, and Lithuania will meet with the German team. Both meetings will take place tomorrow, September 4th.