ASVEL survives road battle to beat ALBA, improve to 2-0
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne survived a battle on the road and knocked off ALBA Berlin 67-71 to improve to 2-0 to start the season. ASVEL struggled with 20 turnovers but the team’s defense held strong. Chris Jones scored a career-high 24 points in the win, and Elie Okobo had 13 points with Kostas Antetokounmpo chipping in 9 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks. ALBA could not make use of a club record 19 offensive rebounds in falling to 0-2. Maodo Lo came off the bench to score 22 points while fellow reserve Oscar Da Silva had 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals on his team debut.
Dylan Osetkowski opened the scoring from deep for ASVEL, with Luke Sikma doing the honors for the German champion. Both teams looked a bit nervous early on with a combined 10 turnovers in the first 5 minutes and ASVEL up 4-7. ALBA finally started to score and Lo’s three-pointer gave the hosts their first lead, 9-7. Lo added free throws and another triple and ALBA was up 16-9 - with the lead 18-13 after 10 minutes. Lo continued his excellent surge with a layup to start the second quarter and Louis Olinde’s score had the hosts up 24-17. But after committing 12 turnovers in the first 12 minutes, ASVEL finally started to score with Okobo hitting six straight points in a 0-13 run for a 24-30 advantage. Lo came back off the ALBA bench and hit a three-pointer to end the rut, but Matthew Strazel connected from long range at the other end and ASVEL was up 29-34 at the break.
ALBA had a strong start to the second half with Da Silva scoring four points in a 6-0 run for a 37-34 lead. Okobo’s three-pointer finally got ASVEL on the board and the guests stepped up its defense with a 0-11 run over more than 5 minutes for a 37-45 cushion. Tamir Blatt came back at the other end for five points, reducing the gap to 43-49 after 30 minutes. The tough ASVEL defense continued and Charles Kahudi, Okobo and Jones all drove to the basket as the margin grew to 43-57. Lo ended ALBA’s bad run with a three-pointer after almost 4 minutes, and the hosts tried to make things interesting as Sikma pulled it within 50-57. Jones responded with two big three-pointers to keep the lead in double figures, 53-63. The hosts would not go down without a fight, and Lo’s layup made it 59-65. But Jones hit a dagger triple with less than two minutes left for an 8-point lead. Lo put the pressure on ASVEL with a layup to get within four points, before Jones hit two free throws with 8.8 seconds left.
Chris Jones came up huge for ASVEL as he led all scorers with a career-high 24 points. ALBA were fighting to make it close in the fourth quarter but Jones drained 3 three-pointers - twice re-establishing a 10-point lead and the last one making it 59-68. Jones then finished the job for good with two free throws with 8.8 seconds left. He also chipped in 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal for an index rating of 20, which was one off his career best.
Lo and behold … Maodo ties career high
ALBA’s offense was spluttering for much of the game and the only real engine keeping the scoreboard going was Maodo Lo, who three times snapped long scoreless droughts for the home team. In the end, he came off the bench to lead ALBA in scoring with 22 points - tying his personal career high - while also picking up 2 rebounds and 3 assists. He also would not let the team go down without a fight, hitting a layup with 9 seconds left to make it just a four-point game. But he didn’t get enough help.
ASVEL committed 20 turnovers and allowed ALBA to grab a club record 19 offensive rebounds. But TJ Parker’s team gave up 'only' 14 second-chance points (to six of its own) and it was rock solid around the basket on offense, hitting 21-of-31 shots for 67.7% on 2-pointers. The ASVEL defense also did enough to disturb ALBA’s shooters into hitting just 6-of-33 three-pointers (18.2%). The guests were especially good on ALBA shooters not named Maodo Lo, as the rest of the team made just 2-of-25 from long range (08.0%).
Friday, October 8, 2021