There was a nail biter in the Europe region.
Entering the night an undefeated 4-0, Team France, who was led by Theo Maledon, took on 2-2 Team Montenegro in a potential elimination game for the country. In a see-saw battle, Team France missed their final three buckets, handing Montenegro the victory 70-69.
While Team France is still stationed pretty at 4-1, Maledon is still hungry for his first win in this tournament. However, based on the numbers, they should be back in the win column soon.
Maledon finished Friday’s contest with 16 points, four rebounds, and three assists in the 20-minute role. Playing alongside former NBA guard Ellie Okobo, Maledon split reps in the ball-handling department, however, he made the most out of his reps on-ball.
In his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Maledon has seen a reduced role in the isolation department, particularly in crossing the timeline. Early into the second frame, he showed he still had transition play in his bag, blowing past his man for a breakaway jam.
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Maledon concentrated his efforts towards the interior against Team Montenegro. While the Frenchman downed 4-of-9 attempts on twos, he was nothing short of a foul magnet, ending the game with a team-high eight attempts at the line (6-of-8 FT.)
While he showed offensive prowess for most of the night, there were some hiccups in the later stages of the night. Maledon shot a wobbly 3-of-9 in the final frame while missing back-to-back inside shots in the final 15 seconds of play. Had either of those two shots converted, Team France would’ve snagged the late-game lead.
Maledon, who had his $1.9M option exercised this week, will conclude his FIBA run on Monday versus Team Hungary. While his status is unknown for Summer League, the guard is expected to take part in a backcourt battle which should lead into Thunder training camp.