As LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne coach Zvezdan Mitrovic said after the game, "heart, effort, support" may be the winning recipe for his team at home. ASVEL remains undefeated at the Astroballe after downing the reigning Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion, CSKA Moscow, along with two other playoffs team from last season, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, and another traditional Greek powerhouse, Olympiacos Piraeus.
ASVEL had a lot of heart against CSKA on Friday, as it played without its two main point guards, Antoine Diot and Theo Maledon, who are currently injured. Coach Mitrovic also lost another playmaker, Matthew Strazel, during the game. The French team’s only point guard available, Jordan Taylor, therefore had to play almost 18 minutes in the second half, and he decided the game with a big three-point shot with 13.4 seconds remaining.
ASVEL had to put a lot of effort in this game because shots were not going in, and that is usually equal to losing the game against a team like CSKA. ASVEL's effort was shown in the fact that it hit just 35.5% of its two-point shots and still won the game – the lowest two-point shooting percentage for a game-winning team in the 2019-20 EuroLeague season. In fact, ASVEL only shot worse once before and won a EuroLeague game: 34.8% (16-of-46) against Union Olimpija on December 2, 2004.
Despite those numbers, the crowd at Astroballe gave ASVEL the intangibles needed to go the extra mile, even when the game seemed to be lost at 60-64 with a minute left. "I think this is our plus factor, the energy from the crowd, which makes us do some very unbelievable things in the EuroLeague," Coach Mitrovic said after the game. "Game by game, we repeat an amazing effort, amazing heart, and get amazing support," he added.
As for the game-winning shot, Taylor had practiced it many times with ASVEL's assistant coaches. One of them, Joseph Gomis, used to take that shot regularly during his playing days in the EuroLeague with Unicaja Malaga and Spirou Charleroi. "It is a shot that I worked on a lot with T.J. (Parker) and Joe (Joseph Gomis)," Taylor said after the game. "Voigtmann backed off and Coach drew up the play, trying to get the switch. I have taken that shot a lot in my life and thankfully, it went down!"
Rihards Lomasz, who hit 4-of-4 free throws in the final minute to keep ASVEL alive, was completely stunned. "I think there are no words to explain this game. This is just... wow, a big WOW!" he said. "I could never imagine last season I would play against CSKA Moscow, the reigning EuroLeague champion. This is amazing and we won the game. I am speechless! We left our hearts on the court and I think that everybody saw that. Every player who stepped on the court gave 110%."
The timing is perfect for ASVEL, which does not a domestic game scheduled this weekend. Asked about the celebration, Mitrovic joked: "Now we have two days off and our next game is against Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade, but we have two days now. When we play a game like this and play two or three games a week, I say we don't have time to celebrate - but tonight, we will have time to celebrate!"