Monaco third in the Euroleague, a first for a French club since 1993
Mike James, the American leader of Monaco, during his club’s success against Barcelona, Sunday May 21, 2023, in Kaunas (Lithuania). INTS KALNINS / REUTERS AS Monaco ends on a high…
AS Monaco ends on a high note. After losing in the Euroleague semi-final on Friday against Olympiacos (76-62), the Monegasque club had another chance to make French basketball history by playing the match for third place against Barcelona on Sunday 21 May. It’s done in Kaunas (Lithuania), thanks to a comfortable 78-66 success, making Monaco the first French club to reach the Euroleague podium since the Limoges title in 1993.
Led by eleven points after the first quarter, during which they lost seven balls, the Barcelonans woke up slightly after half-time (44-28 for Monaco), returning in the middle of the third quarter to ten units of Monaco (52-42). The Rock club then accelerated again to seal their victory five minutes from the end (72-53).
Playing time for two French people
The Monegasques thus approach the start of the playoffs of the French championship, whose quarter-final against Starsbourg will be played on Wednesday. They will have no room for error after dominating the regular season and losing three of the last four finals (2018, 2019, 2022).
In view of the reunion with Strasbourg, which had almost eliminated Monaco last year at the same stage, and the possible following rounds, coach Sasa Obradovic gave playing time to two Frenchmen against Barça: the interior Yoann Makoundou (4 points in 8 minutes) and especially the third leader Matthew Strazel. The 20-year-old former Villeurbannais entered at the end of the first quarter in place of star Mike James (who did not turn back the floor afterwards) to finish as the Roca Team’s top scorer (14 points to 5/5 to two points).
Other key players in ASM’s success were center Donta Hall (9 points and 11 rebounds) and winger Alpha Diallo (10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 ists). Winner of the Eurocoupe in 2021, antechamber of the Euroleague, quarter-finalist of the European Cup last year and therefore on the podium in 2023 for their second participation in the competition, AS Monaco will try to climb one more step next year. But returning to the Final Four in 2024 will be “twice as hard” warned Obradovic.
The World with AFP (with AFP)