France vs Japan
July 18, 2021 12:30 am EDT
The Line: France -15.5
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Japan and France meet Sunday morning in a mens basketball International Friendly exhibition match.
Japan is coming off three exhibition games against Iran where it finished with a 2-1 record. It’s not the most impressive showings for the Olympic hosts, but Japan is still waiting for the returns of Rui Hachimura and Yudai Baba, two players who greatly improve the ceiling. Until we see Japan play with a full roster and feature its best players, we have no real idea what to expect or where the Japanese rank in terms of the field. However, there is an advantage to Japan not playing a full roster yet, as it gives other clubs no tape to scheme against once the Olympic Games begin.
France is coming off back-to-back losses to Spain, which includes an eight-point loss last week. In the losing effort, France shot 50 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from three. Evan Fournier lead France with 15 points and two rebounds while Frank Ntilikina had 13 points and two assists. Rudy Gobert was the third double-digit scorer and Nando de Colo dished four assists. Defensively, France allowed 52.3 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent from deep. Despite the subpar efforts defensively and the losses to its rival, France is still a dark horse in the tournament and a team that’s given the USA trouble in the past. Don’t sleep on France.
Japan and France haven’t met since a 2016 friendly, which France won by 17 points.
This game probably means more to Japan than France, but the talent gap between both teams is quite wide. France is far and away the better club across the board and offensively can have its way in this contest. We have yet to see Japan at full strength and its struggled to string together consistent buckets against lesser competition. Assuming most of the top players for France suit up, this should be a comfortable victory.
I’ll lay the chalk with France.