Rudy Gobert ahead of game against Lithuania: 'Huge challenge awaits us'

Lukas Malinauskas
Staff Writer
2022-09-03 05:48

On Saturday, September 3, two powerhouses of European basketball will clash in a group of death of the EuroBasket 2022. A day before the game, French star player Rudy Gobert talked about the upcoming challenge vs. the Lithuanian national team.

Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

Rudy Gobert believed in the victory of the Lithuanian national team against Slovenia. The five-point lead of Kazys Maksvytis' team in the fourth quarter became the motive of the French tower watching the match from abroad.

However, Slovenia ended the game with a 19-7 score in the remaining time and gave Lithuania its first loss of the tournament (92-85).

"Both teams played a really physical game," Gobert said when asked by BasketNews.

Rudy Gobert

Rudy  Gobert
Position: C
Age: 30
Height: 216 cm
Weight: 111 kg
Birth place: France

"The end of the game could have gone the other way, Lithuania could also have won. Slovenia played better in the last few minutes. I thought Lithuania would win," said Gobert.

The French center believes that three or maybe all four teams from Group B can advance over their opponents from Group A once the knock-out stage begins.

"But that just shows how high the level is in this group. Every possession in the game is extremely important. I think this group will serve us well going forward, with 3 or 4 teams reaching at least the quarter-finals," said Gobert.

Meanwhile, the French national team were stopped at the start of the tournament by the host of Group B, Germany. Vincent Collet's team scored only 63 points and lost with a 13-point deficit (76-63).

In 25 minutes, Gobert had 11 points (4/5 2PT, 0/1 3PT, 3/6 FT), 12 rebounds, and 4 turnovers.

In total, the French team made 17 turnovers, while the Germans just 9.

"They [Germany] played aggressive defense and we made too many turnovers," Gobert said.

"There were many things we could have done better. The defense lacked communication and aggressiveness. We know that this is a long tournament, during which we want to take steps forward in every match," Gobert explained.

The French, who held a training session at the Lanxess arena on Friday evening, are going to face the Lithuanian national team next. The teams that started with losses in the group of death will face each other on Saturday, September 3 17:45 CEST.

"Lithuania is a really strong team. It's never easy to play with them. Lithuanians are always fighting hard and are united. A huge challenge awaits us," said the French center.

Gobert will have to compete against the Lithuanian towers Jonas Valanciunas and Domantas Sabonis in the upcoming game.

"Jonas and I have been playing against each other since we were eighteen years old, and now we both have beards," the Minnesota Timberwolves rookie smiled.

"There is always a fight between us. Jonas is a very good basketball player. I think he plays even better on the national team. We always fight really hard for our teams to win. I enjoy it," said Gobert.

"Domantas and Jonas are physically strong and distinguished by their abilities. We have to fight against them as a team and make their life difficult. The two of them play really well together and it will be a challenge," Gobert concluded.



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