Basketball: Monaco begin Betclic Elite final with resounding win

AS Monaco Basket's Alpha Diallo v Boulogne-Levallois

AS Monaco Basketball began their Betclic Elite final series with a resounding victory over Boulogne-Levallois (87-64) on Saturday. 

All eyes were on Victory Wembanyama, the NBA’s number one draft prospect, who is destined to join the San Antonio Spurs later this month. However, in the face of the individual threat posed by the French prospect, it was an incredible collective performance from the Roca Team that not only silenced Boulogne-Levallois’ talisman but also allowed Monaco to notch their first victory of the series with ease.

Monaco are yet to lose during this year’s playoffs (2-0 versus Strasbourg, 3-0 versus Bourg-en-Bresse), and at no point on the night did they look like losing that record inside a packed Salle Gaston Médecin.

John Brown III was the neutralising force, limiting Wembanyama to a mere eight points, but their dominance wasn’t simply man-to-man, Boulogne-Levallois were dominated all over the court, especially in the second quarter, which put pay to any chances of an away victory.

A lead stretched to 34 points

Monaco’s top-scorer, Alpha Diallo, only scored 14 points, but he was backed up by the entire team, notably by the usual suspects’ Mike James (12 points, eight assists) and Elie Okobo (10 points).

The Roca Team’s foot was firmly on the accelerator from tip-off, and by half-time, Boulogne-Levalloise trailed by a mammoth 32 points (52-21), largely thanks to a second-quarter capitulation (29-6). It was not so long ago that Monaco were on the receiving end of such a collapse against Olympiacos.

Midway through the third quarter, Monaco’s lead reach an incredible 34 points, and there was no way back into the game for Boulogne, despite a late rally to add an air of respectability to the scoreline (87-64).

“We approached this game with the right attitude,” began Sasa Obradovic. “Tactically, we were good, firstly in stopping Wembanyama and then by limiting the players around him. We mustn’t rest, however. I’m expecting a reaction from them. We mustn’t give them a chance,” added the Serbian coach.

Monaco are two win away from the Betclic Elite title, and they can go one step closer to their objective on Monday night at the Salle Gaston Médecin.


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Photo credit: Direction de la Communication / Stephane Danna