Asvel does not want to let go of its trophy! The Lyon-Villeurbanne club won a third French championship title in a row, the 21st in its history, by winning against Monaco in a suffocating match 5 (84-82) and after extra time. In the heat of their Astroballe, the Asvel players almost spoiled a hot start. They regained their senses in the last minutes of the match to finally break the Monegasque momentum.
It was the dream final for the National Basketball League. A match 5 between the two best French teams and a scenario under tension until the end. Asvel however wanted to kill the entry match, with a 17-point lead after eight minutes of play. But the toreador did not complete the injured beast. And slowly, point by point, Monaco got back into the game. At the break, the defending champions were only ten steps ahead.
Under the gaze of their president Tony Parker, the Asvel players were unable to reverse this slow trend in the third quarter. Despite an excellent Elie Okobo (20 points), they saw the Roca Team come back to a small point difference. Absent from the start of the match, Monegasque star Mike James woke up (16 points). Thanks to two three-point baskets, he even gave his team a four-point lead at the start of the last quarter. A gap increased to eight points with only four minutes to play.
But in terms of tenacity, Asvel is not left out. On the edge of the abyss, the reigning double French champion has regained his balance. David Lighty (9 points) and William Howard (15 points) brought theirs within range (67-68 two minutes from the end). In the last unbreathable minutes, everything could still come down to possession. Less than ten seconds to play, a point difference and two free throws for Monaco. A first failed from Alpha Diallo, a second successful.
— LNB (@LNBofficiel) June 25, 2022
Asvel’s turn to have a title ball, in the hands of its star Elie Okobo. The French probably thought he had done the hardest part by going for a superb “and one” (two points plus a free throw). But alone facing the basket, Okobo missed the mark. And offered an extension to the public already on the verge of asphyxiation in an overheated Astroballe (75-75).
The tension was palpable in those few extra minutes, and the players’ hands shook. But Asvel could count on William Howard to snatch the title. The French winger overcame stage fright to be the first to score, at three points. Howard behind the circle, again, to end a series of six points in a row from Monaco, just ironed in front.
— NBAextra (@NBAextra) June 25, 2022
At 83-82, with a single point lead for Asvel, Howard came to stop the final Monegasque attempt. LeBron James against the Warriors in 2016, Nicolas Batum against Slovenia at the Tokyo Games last year, the images immediately come to mind in front of Howard’s overpowering and saving counter. An already legendary action, and a 21st title for Asvel.