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Eurocup: Paris Basketball defeats London and moves closer to the final

A European evening that its leaders have dreamed of since the creation of the club five years ago.

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Eurocup: Paris Basketball defeats London and moves closer to the final

A European evening that its leaders have dreamed of since the creation of the club five years ago. This is what the 5,425 spectators present this Tuesday evening at the Adidas Arena, Porte de la Chapelle, experienced. Even if they struggled in the first period, the Paris Basketball players performed a much more serious second act in order to beat London (99-86) in the semi-finals of the Eurocup. The two teams will meet again in three days in England, for the second round of this best-of-three series. One more victory and the Parisians will reach the final. Otherwise, the beauty would take place on April 3, still at the Adidas Arena. Note that JL Bourg defeated Besiktas (86-74) in the other half.

The two clubs had been arguing all year on social networks and the tension was palpable as soon as the English players entered for their warm-up. The KOP Parisii did not fail to whistle them copiously, even 30 minutes from the start of this meeting, which started slowly. Messy start. The Parisians saw for the first time this season a team maintain the infernal pace that they are used to imposing. It was the players from the English capital who set the sights first (0-7). After a timeout taken after only two minutes of play, Parisian coach Tuomas Iisalo put everyone back in place. It is thanks to the talent of Nadir Hifi (9 points in this first quarter) that the locals came back to the level. Pushed by a public which never weakened in intensity, the Parisians therefore adapted to a team which was equal in terms of physical dimension. At the same level and even better: they took the lead by causing several offensive errors and finished this first quarter in the lead (30-27) despite a suspect three-point skill (2/8).

In the second quarter, the match took a completely different turn with a duel that was much more physical than technical. The two teams went blow for blow and thus fell into a very choppy match, committing a lot of mistakes. David Nwaba's 12 points in the first period accompanied by Sam Dekker's nine prevented the Parisians from taking the lead. Deprived of his interior and captain Michael Kessens, the Parisian coach tried to adjust but his absence coupled with the two early errors of the other pivot, Leon Kratzer, were clearly felt in the Parisian racket. Still clumsy behind the arc (3/15 at the break), the Parisians still managed to manhandle the London defense by moving the ball a lot more (19/28 to 2 points). Further back in this first period, pocket leader TJ Shorts (26 years old, 1m76) was still responsible for scoring two mid-range shots to keep a small lead before returning to the locker room (54-49 ).

To resume, the Parisians inflicted a 12-0 straight after the locker room. After a three-point shot forcing a timeout from the opposing coach, the American-Macedonian leader communicated with his audience to raise the temperature even more in this electric match. The latter did not fail to return it by chanting “MVP” when the latter found himself on the free throw line to increase his score to 17 points with still more than 7 minutes to play in this third quarter. Under the influence of Parisian winning shots which finally fell in, the players from the English capital only remained in contact thanks to personal exploits. But TJ Shorts, again, had put on his suit of lights and made the whole French team shine, alternating two-point baskets for which he has the secret (23 points) and decisive passes for his teammates who sanctioned the gaps left by the opposing defense. The English were seriously behind when starting the last 10 minutes.

Nwaba had decided not to give in and therefore sounded the revolt by physically impacting the Parisians who did not seem to have any solutions to prevent him from scoring. He finished with 24 points. But he was far too alone and the local defense pushed the English to lose a significant number of balls, thus widening the gap a little further. Disconcerted, the London players were short of solutions and never managed to get back into this match in the final minutes. As usual, Nadir Hifi (22 points) was responsible for freeing the entire audience with clutch shots in the final seconds. Like his team which collapsed, coach Petar Bozic was sent off at the end of the match after collecting his second technical foul.

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