In what could be a dangerous trend, France had another walkover victory. High energy defensive pressure at the point of attack, shooting up the wings and eclipsing the lane are the signature to France’s winning ways. The teamwork carries over to the offensive end where everyone moves in unison and the ball finds energy to push a consistent, throbbing attack.
The problem with this is that, despite a closer margin in their first win over Germany, the competition is about to ramp up. Hopefully France reacts positively to the pressure as more formidable opponents come to test them. Thankfully even though they have been blowing teams out, France seems to have maintained an edge.
I know, I know. More Frank Ntilikina, less France. Like gonyk said in the post game thread, I hope Fizzy Womack is going back to his roots and is all up in the film room dissecting these contests. On to the notes!
- First of all, the kid splashed another pair of triples. He even took a heat check at one point. Something I’m not sure I’ve ever seen from him.
- Frank got the start again and he immediately got into the Dominican guards, heating up the ball and breathing down their necks. Seconds after the tip, he was an immediate terror with a poke away and closing space without reaching or jumping when his man was trying to flee from him. They wasn’t ready.
- Five turnovers in the first three minutes of play for the DR. Frank seemed to get drawn into their chaotic and nervy play with back to back sloppy passes. First on a drive, rather than seeking contact and finishing through the smaller defenders, he twisted almost completely around to make a desperate drop off to Rudy Gobert who couldn’t corral it. Then a hit ahead Amath M’Baye couldn’t grab, that was just inattentive and off target.
- In more turnover news, the Dominican guards, seemingly out of frustration, made an effort to use their speediness to get under Frank and bop him into funky miscues. An over and back as he tried to get square crossing half court. A swing pass directly to the defense for no real reason. Some pretty bad glitches. He did get back into the play on the bad pass and cause a turnover in transition but some laziness that he’ll obviously need to curb.
- One way he did curb laziness was by scaring his matchups so much that they dribbled simply to get away from him. One play in particular, a deer in headlights dribbled half the clock out, just retreating from him, then dumped it off to a big man. He tried to cut away from the play but Frank stone walled him. He unexpectedly got the ball back and just forced up a 26’ hook shot to beat the shot clock. Menacing.
- Dominican coach Nestor Garcia wasn’t mad at his team, he was disappointed in them. And you won’t like him when he’s disappointed.
- Despite some of the pill mishandling, Frank doesn’t toy with it too much and has shown a much improved handle. He gets lower, it’s so much more crispy and he has some moves that create space rather than just turning left and right to back his way to where he’s headed.
- Still want to see him catch and attack with urgency. As it is now he is still willing to accept a defender into his chest and put the ball on the deck depending on what space they grant him. He’s too kind.
- In a semi-demotion, but possibly to get another look at different combinations, Andrew Albicy started in place of Ntilikina to start the second half. In the end though, Frank led the team with a +23 and played the most minutes.
- As the game wore on and the Dominican Republic stopped looking for answers and Frank started swerving on ‘em.
That’s it for now. France will square up with Lithuania at 8:00 AM on Saturday. Set all of your clocks, wake up and watch the fox.