Olimpia closes the EuroLeague regular season in France against ASVEL Villeurbanne, who after a very interesting start had a drop in performance also determined by injuries that excluded her from the race for the playoffs, despite extremely talented and efficient guards (in pairs Chris Jones and Elie Okobo are worth almost 30 points on average) and the extraordinary athleticism and length of the “big men”. The game also has limited significance for Olimpia, who are sure of at least fourth place, but can only improve it if Real Madrid lose to Bayern Munich at home, ending up behind them in the standings and reaching third place. For the rest, the last day is essential only to understand who will be the opponent of the playoffs. There is also a bit of prestige involved: Olimpia have won 20 of the 31 games played in the EuroLeague, including the four played against Russian formations that do not make the rankings, so if they win in France they would reach 21 like the last year but with two fewer races. Even if the ranking position were the same – fourth – the percentage of races won would be higher. Speaking of numbers, Olimpia could win their tenth away game by drawing last season’s record. It should be remembered that despite the exclusion of Russian teams, Olimpia played all 17 away games scheduled in the calendar, but only 15 of the home games. Unfortunately, for various reasons, the roster available in France will be very small. Certain absences of Sergio Rodriguez, Trey Kell, Troy Daniels, Shavon Shields, Gigi Datome.
NOTE – It is played on Thursday 7 March at 21:00 at the Astroballe in Lyon. Live on Sky Sport and Eleven Sports.
WHAT COULD HAPPEN – Olimpia comes third only by winning but with the simultaneous defeat of Real Madrid at home to Bayern. In any other situation he would finish in fourth place and face fifth classified in the playoffs, with Efes having the advantage of direct clashes with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
COACH ETTORE MESSINA – “It is a game that we face with a limited staff due to Covid, but we will use it to better prepare for the playoffs and in general the next matches, giving space to those who have had limited minutes and especially to Nik Melli who returns after having missed the last EuroLeague match “.
DEVON HALL – “Our goal is to end the regular season in a positive way and take a few more steps towards the playoffs. We are aware that we are facing a very athletic team, with talented players, deep and of great physical size “.
ASVEL – The team is built around the two guards, Chris Jones, 30 five out of 30 appearances, scores 13.2 points per game with 3.6 assists and 40.7% in the three-point shot; Elie Okobo, who has missed four games, averages 14.8 points with 4.0 assists and 37.2% from three. In the guard sector there are also Matthew Strazel (3.5 points per game), Antoine Diot (only 15 appearances), Marcos Knight, who arrived during the current season (8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds) who is stopped due to injury, and Paul Lacombe (5.5 points for competition). David Lighty (8.3 points per game, 55.0% from three) only played 10 games due to physical problems. Among the wings are Charles Kahudi (4.9 points per game, very treacherous in the first leg), William Howard (47.6% from three), a tremendous shooter), and Dylan Osetkowski (6.2 points plus 3.2 rebounds per game). The centers are veteran James Gist (6.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game), 2.21 Youssoupha Fall (5.9 points per game, 70.6% from two) and Kostas Antetokounmpo (5.6 points per game, 71.9% from two). Finally, in the last round the strong forward Raymar Morgan returned, immediately 12 points on his seasonal debut, and compared to the first leg the eighteen-year-old prospect of 2.20 Victor Wembanyama is now in full swing (5.5 points and 3.7 rebounds in 12 appearances) .
PREVIOUS VS. ASVEL – In the EuroLeague era, Olimpia and Asvel Villeurbanne met only four times, always respecting the home factor. Two years ago in France, Asvel won 89-82 thanks to 19 points from David Lighty and 18 from Jordan Taylor, while Olimpia had 13 points and 10 assists from Sergio Rodriguez. Last year in Milan, Olimpia won 87-73 with 17 points and seven rebounds from Shavon Shields. In France, Asvel 78-69 again won despite Shields’ 18. In this year’s first leg, Olimpia prevailed 73-72. However, in their history they faced each other in the 1966/67 European Cup (the reigning champion Simmenthal lost the final with Real Madrid). Milan won away 86-66 (23 by Gabriele Vianello, 21 by Red Robbins) and at home 103-85 (Steve Chubin 26, Red Robbins 21). In the 1995/96 Korac Cup, Olimpia eliminated Asvel in the semifinals by winning 81-72 away and 73-69 at home. In the 1997/98 Eurocup, in which Olimpia reached the final losing it to Zalgiris, in the quarter-finals they eliminated Asvel, winning away from home 67-58 (24 points by Thurl Bailey) and surviving a defeat at home 70 -62 despite Flavio Portaluppi’s 17. In all, so it is 7-3 in favor of Olimpia, 3-2 in Villeurbanne, but 2-2 in the EuroLeague era.
THE ASVEL CONNECTION – Asvel president Tony Parker played in San Antonio for Ettore Messina.
GAME NOTES – Shavon Shields has scored 22 points in each of the last two games with 10/17 from two and 6/11 from three. Kaleb Tarczewski enters this race with two goals from 300 in career and in the Olimpia jersey (already first ever). In the last round Ettore Messina directed the 400th game of his career in the EuroLeague from the bench with 283 victories. He is second behind Zeljko Obradovic in both rankings. He now boasts 497 appearances in international club competitions.
Olimpia Milan Press Office