Basketball: Monaco one win away from Euroleague final four

AS Monaco v Maccabi Tel Aviv

AS Monaco Basketball are just one win away from reaching the Euroleague final four for the first time in the club’s history after Tuesday’s victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv (78-83). 

The Roca Team’s welcome in Israel wasn’t expected to be a friendly one, and it wasn’t. On their way to the arena, the team’s bus was blocked and battered by the fervent home supporters, who greeted the players with deafening jeers and boos.

For Mike James (21 points, four assists), it was simply fuel for the engine. Monaco’s point guard drew a dazzling display out of the fire when his team needed it most.

“This pressure, this hostility, it doesn’t disturb me. All this hate that I’m targeted by, I see it as recognition, a type of respect. I was ready to play regardless,” said James.

Monaco on the brink of making history

Despite drawing level for periods of the first half, Maccabi were behind for practically the entirety of this third match, thanks to another impressive collective display in which the Roca Team lost possession only five times.

Despite some efficient three-point finishing at the death, Maccabi were never in striking distance, and have now seen their lead overturned thanks to Tuesday night’s defeat (78-83).

“We weren’t ready for the first game, but now we are. The cohesion that we’re showing on the court means we deserve our 2-1 lead. We have to continue with this character, this mentality, and the state of mind will once again be decisive in the fourth game,” said Obradovic.

Should Monaco win Thursday’s match in Israel, they will become the first team from the French championship to reach the final four since 1997. However, should they fail, they will have one final chance to pull off the feat, in front of their home fans at the Salle Gaston Médecin next week.


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Photo by AS Monaco Basket