Credit: LNB
Credit LNB

LDCL ASVEL Villeurbanne got a dramatic 84-82 (26-13, 17-20, 11-20, 21-22, 9-7) win over AS Monaco in Game 5 of the French League finals, which handed them their third LNB title in a row. 

Free throws this season

Points made: 13,8
Accuracy: 75,2%
Place in standings: 4
Record max: 21
Record min: 4
Most made FTs: Mike James

In downing their main opponents 3-2 in the finals, the team from Lyon achieved an historic accomplishment, racking up a rare three-peat. ASVEL celebrated the last two titles awarded in the LNB in 2019 and 2021, while in 2020 there was no champion due to the COVID outbreak.

The last time a three-peat happened was 32 years ago. Limoges was the one who had won the last three consecutive titles (1988, 1989, 1990). In the years that followed, no team has managed to win more than two titles in a row. As far as Villeurbanne are concerned, they had won three in a row in 1955, 1956 and 1957, more than half a century ago.

Villeurbanne now boast a total of 21 LNB titles, with Limoges following with 11.

Elie Okobo made sure the French champs stayed on their throne. The French international put up 20 points (7/15 FG, 4/8 FT), grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 9 assists, in addition to scoring the basket that sent the game to overtime. 

William Howard and Youssoupha Fall completed the decisive triangle for the hosts on a night when Mike James and Paris Lee combined for 6/32 from the field.

In fact, James -despite his late crescendo- missed a lot of crucial shots that could have changed the course of the outing and given the title to Monaco. The American star contributed with 10 rebounds and 4 assists, but his 16 misses were too much for Sasa Obradovic's side to handle. 

Alpha Diallo and Dwayne Bacon scored 14 apiece for Monaco that saw Okobo snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for ASVEL. 

Monaco were leading 68-62 with less than four minutes left, largely thanks to Mike James' 11 points. But William Howard and Chris Jones responded with two buckets in a row apiece, making it 71-70 for ASVEL.

Jones missed the attempt that could have given his team the lead after Dwayne Bacon had scored from mid-range and it all went down to the closing seconds. Gist brought ASVEL back with a couple of free-throws (73-74) with only nine seconds remaining. Diallo made only one from the charity stripe and ASVEL had the final say.

Elie Okobo played one-on-one, drew the foul from Mike James and scored the basket to tie the game at 75. The French star missed the complementary go-ahead free-throw and the contest was led to overtime.

Elie Okobo kept scoring in the beginning of extra time, putting ASVEL up by five (80-75). Thomas, Bacon and James led Monaco to a 0-6 run, before Howard came up big with a three-point dagger (83-81). 

Mike James hit 1/2 free-throws with 37'' left and Paris Lee missed a crucial lay-up that gave the chance to Okobo to close the game for TJ Parker's squad. ASVEL's leader made 1/4 from the stripe, but Marcos Knight effectively defended Bacon in Monaco's last possession to seal the outcome.

ASVEL started Game 5 in impressive fashion, leading by 13 (26-13) in the first quarter. Elie Okobo and Marcos Knight dominated the game against, as the hosts were up by 15 (24-9) after only seven minutes. Mike James was misfiring and it was thanks to Paris Lee and Donatas Motiejunas that Monaco somewhat managed to stay afloat.

However, things were about to change, as the guests came back, allowing only 28 points in the two following quarters. However, Okobo made the difference in the end.

ASVEL Villeurbanne: Elie Okobo 20 (7/15 FG, 4/8 FT, 7 REB, 9 AST, 4 TO), William Howard 15 (5/9 FG, 3/4 FT, 9 REB), Youssoupha Fall 14 (5/6 FG, 4/6 FT, 5 REB), David Lighty 9 (3/10 FG), Marcos Knight 8, Chris Jones 8 (3/10 FG).

AS Monaco: Mike James 16 (5/21 FG, 4/7 FT, 10 REB, 4 AST, 3 TO), Alpha Diallo 14 (4/6 FG, 6/8 FT, 6 REB), Dwayne Bacon 14 (6/14 FG, 2/3 FT, 8 REB, 3 AST), Donatas Motiejunas 11 (3/6 FG, 5/6 FT), Paris Lee 8 (1/11 FG, 5/5 FT, 3 REB, 3 AST), Will Thomas 8. 


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