AS Monaco Basketball ended the Euroleague regular season with a defeat against Anadolu Efes (87-72) before bouncing back in the Betclic Elite against Fos-sur-Mer (98-83) on Sunday.
Nothing was riding on Friday’s Euroleague game for either side. Monaco were already guaranteed fourth place; synonymous with home-court advantage for the post-season playoffs.
Pre-match, players evoked a need to “keep the rhythm” against Anadolu Efes, but they failed to do that after a second-half capitulation. Mike James (seven points, four assists) was largely contained as the Roca Team struggled for attacking fluidity.
Emerging French stars Yoan Makoundou (16 points) and Matthew Strazel (14 points) were Monaco’s main sources of points on a night of no consequence. Sasa Obradovic’s side will, however, have to refind their rhythm by the time the playoffs come around later this month.
“Naturally, we’re starting to think about Maccabi Haifa,” admitted Captain Yakuba Ouattara post-match.
Top spot guaranteed in the Betclic Elite
Monaco’s final four Betlclic Elite games will also be about rhythm rather than results. A comfortable victory against Fos-sur-Mer means that the Roca Team are guaranteed top spot.
Whilst Monaco didn’t pierce the 100-point mark, the team refound their attacking flow, with big performances from Alpha Diallo (30 points) and James (19 points), ensuring a comfortable afternoon for Obradovic’s men.
“I tried to bring some turnover to a side that played physically. We’re happy to be mathematically assured of the first place, and to therefore have home-court advantage,” said Obradovic.
Monaco have been imperious, on a European and domestic level in the regular season, but they now need to replicate that form in the post-season. With the Coupe de France final coming up next Saturday, we’re now into ‘money time’.
Photo by AS Monaco Basket