#FIBAOQT Semis Preview: FRANCE vs TURKEY

Image from FIBA.
This match-up will determine the second team that will enter the Final of the Manila OQT. FRA swept its Group B games after rallying past NZL last night, while TUR had to scramble to advance at the expense of a gritty SEN squad. The last times these teams met was in Eurobasket 2015, where FRA absolutely dominated TUR, 76-53. 

France assumed complete control of the contest after an Evan Fournier steal and subsequent breakaway dunk to tie the scores at 25 midway through the second period. This kick-started a 14-1 run into the third quarter, which sapped the spirit from their opponents. The hosts' dominance only increased in the second half.


France's superior depth was a real factor in this one as Vincent Collet got 35 points from his bench while Turkey's reserves only contributed 13. The French were merciless once they had the lead. Their six blocks and 10 steals - the joint most in the competition so far - demonstrated how they managed to maintain a high level of intensity throughout. Joffrey Lauvergne was extremely effective in giving France an inside threat. He finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

Keys to win:
In their last meeting last year, TUR didn’t shoot the ball well. They made only 32.2% of their FGs. That cannot happen here, of course. TUR needs to shoot better for them to have even a small chance to beat FRA. Right now, TUR is shooting only 40% from the floor, and that has to go up.

Rebounding was also a big problem when TUR lost to FRA last year. FRA outrebounded TUR, 41-34, but this time around TUR averages more boards in this OQT than FRA — 40 to 37. If guys like Semih Erden and Omer Asik can rule the glass, TUR has a shot to upset Les Bleus.

Another thing to watch out for in this game is FT shooting. TUR has been awful from the line, making only 56% of their freebies, while FRA has connected on 83%. TUR has to play great honest defense because fouling FRA gives them a good chance of scoring without time ticking. 


Key Players:
FRA:
Nando De Colo - De Colo was huge against the PHL, and he stepped up just in time to help FRA rally past NZL. He’ll have to continue playing well here, especially against TUR’s dangerous wingmen: Sinan Guler and Melih Mahmutoglu. 

Boris Diaw - Diaw has made his presence felt on the glass, on defense, and in playmaking. Along with Tony Parker, he is FRA’s best playmaker right now. If he can continue to grab a ton of boards and distribute the ball well, FRA may dominate.

Mickael Gelabale - Gelabale was the star of FRA’s comeback against NZl, and he cannot be overlooked by TUR here. If he is allowed to make an impact on the game, TUR will be in trouble.

TUR:
Semih Erden - Erden has been TUR’s best player overall, and as long as he isn’t in foul trouble, he can dominate in the box. He will have his hands full against Diaw and Lauvergne, but if Erden can score inside and get rebounds, TUR may upset FRA yet.

Ali Muhammed - Muhammed caught fire in the clutch for TUR as they rallied to beat SEN. He hit TUR’s final 15 points, which completed a nice bounce back game after playing badly against CAN. Of course, he will have to play his best against NBA star Tony Parker.

Sinan Guler - Guler is one of the stabilizers for TUR. He is a reliable wing presence on both ends, and he will be the main antagonist against De Colo. If Guler can limit De Colo, TUR should be in good shape.


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