Parker, Turiaf No Match for Batum-Led Nancy
The NBA invasion of French Division A basketball continues.
In a game featuring three NBA players looking for something to do during the lockout, current French champions Nancy, led by Nicolas Batum, lit up Tony Parker, Ronny Turiaf and the rest of a ragged ASVEL squad, 92-77, in front of a sellout crowd in Villeurbanne last night.
The home team, severely outplayed in the first half (47-38), rallied to cut the lead to five on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter, but untimely fouls and questionable shot selection prevented Parker and co. from closing the gap in the final minutes.
While erstwhile Portland Trailblazer Batum (21 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals) was certainly the main event, the real difference in the game was the visiting team's impressive display of organization and team play. Unlike Parker (20 points on 6/21 shooting), who continually found himself alone with a basketball and four immobile teammates, Batum was merely the best part of a dynamic scoring machine (Pape Amagou was also impressive, putting up 20 points in just 25 minutes including 3/5 shooting from behind the arc).
To be fair, the normally-Knickerbocker Turiaf (9 points, 8 rebounds in 28 minutes) has only been on the Continent for two weeks, and has only been in ASVEL green for two practices: with all of the changes, the team can be forgiven a few extra turnovers and some misunderstandings between players. "We're really not broken in yet as a team," Parker candidly observed after the loss.
What is troubling, however, is the lack of dynamism in the ASVEL half-court offense: if it isn't a high-post pick-and-roll or an improvisation after a wild drive to the basket, the only thing left in the playbook seems to be the desperation three-point attempt as the shot clock expires.Continued on the next page