A rare single-game final for a national championship has returned Asvel Basket to its historic spot atop the French League after six years of absence. Asvel used a defensive show of force to stop Orleans 55-41 at the neutral venue of Palais Omnisports Paris-Bercy in Paris. The victory gave Asvel its 17th national title, more than any other club in France, but its first since 2002. An incredible 19-0 run in the second quarter turned the game around and set Asvel's defensive tone for the rest of its triumphant performance. Amara Sy, the only double-digit scorer for the winners, with 10 points, was named MVP. Sy also pulled 8 rebounds and dished 3 assists. Three teammates followed him with 8 points each: Ali Traore, who also had 8 rebounds, Eric Campbell and Nebojsa Bogavac. For Orleans, making its first-ever title-game appearance, Cedrick Banks had 13 points and Aldo Curti 8. Asvel became the sixth different champion since the French League went to a one-game final format six years ago, meaning no club has been able to win the title twice in that span.
Nothing in the early part of the game indicated that Asvel would be able to shut down Orleans almost completely the rest of the way. Orleans followed Banks to a 13-17 lead after one quarter and then used a three-.pointer to open the second ahead by 13-20. Then and there, the game changed for good as Asvel embarked on a game-deciding 19-0 run before a foul shot just before halftime ended the nightmare for Orleans. Still, an experienced Asvel team had a 34-21 lead it its command and did not squander it after the break. Orleans tried to come back, but was hurt by its own bad shooting, 24% from the field and a poor 8-for-20, or 40%, at the foul line. After scoring only 4 points in the second quarter, Orleans was vicitimized again by Asvel's defense in the fourth, making only 7 points to avoid any notion of a comeback. An historic champion, Asvel, was back where it belonged in France, while a young upstart learned a lesson about one-game finals.
|Final Playoffs, Single-game Final in Palais Omnisports Paris-Bercy
||Asvel Basket (1)
French League Champion 2008-09: Asvel Basket
|Final Playoffs round game
||Asvel Basket vs. Orléans