AS Monaco Basketball’s five-game unbeaten run in the Euroleague came to an end at the hands of Zalgiris Kaunas (79-70) on Wednesday, in a detrimental but not decisive defeat in their quest for the top four.
The Roca Team began slowly in the cauldron of Zalgirio Arena, giving their Lithuanian opponents a generous headstart in the first quarter (28-19). Monaco never recovered from it, despite the playmaking efforts of Mike James (six points, four assists) and Joran Loyd (13 points, five assists).
Monaco were made to pay for their inefficiencies outside of the key. Donatas Motiejunas (13 points), back in his homeland for the fixture, found success in and around the basket, but their opponents were finding success from outside the key, which allowed them to keep the scoreboard ticking, and maintain a healthy gap throughout.
Monaco’s destiny within their own hands
The difference in quality between the sides were clear to see, despite Zalgiris being one of the Euroleague’s most profligate sides. The defeat (79-70) was, therefore, a logical one.
However, Monaco remain in control of their destiny in the quest to finish in the top four, synonymous with a home-court advantage in the post-season playoffs. Fenerbahçe’s defeat last night further helps the Roca Team’s cause. Should Milan beat Maccabi Tel-Aviv on Thursday, fourth place would be all but secured.
“We didn’t manage to play like we usually do. The best team won this evening. We need to sit down, watch the video and correct the errors. There were lots of them. It is difficult to have a lucid analysis after such a match. We’ll have to move forward in two days at Bayern,” said Motiejunas post-match.
Monaco face Bayern Munich on Friday, where a victory will as much as confirm their top four position with two games to spare.
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Photo by AS Monaco Basket