Led by an excellent Mike James, Monaco won, Thursday evening in its home arena, a third consecutive success in the Euroleague during the 5th day of the competition against Maccabi Tel Aviv (107-79) and thus moved into the top 8 .
After a very start to the match where Maccabi interior Josh Nebo scored two points and grabbed three rebounds in a few seconds, Monaco got back into working order in the wake of a gala Mike James (24 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds). “He has maturity, calm without forcing,” enthuses his trainer Sasa Obradovic about the American. “He gives a lot to the collective. His level of basketball is incredible. This is above Euroleague level. He forces everyone to love him.
With James, who became the fastest player to reach 4,000 points in the Euroleague (4,017 points now), the Monegasques quickly took the lead. In the middle of the second quarter, the advantage rose to 15 units, on two new points from James (40-25, 14th). More aggressive under the boards, like the battle between Donatas Motiejunas and Alpha Diallo at the very end of the first period (50-36, 20th), the Monegasques reached the break with an unchanged lead (50-38).
From the start of the second period, the Monegasques made the difference. In just over three minutes, James, author of nine points in the period and an exceptional assist for John Brown III, passed a 17-4 to their opponents (67-40, 24th). Even after the exit of the American leader, whose name was chanted for the first time by the Monegasque public since his arrival at the club, and Brown, Monaco continued its work. Kemba Walker scored a first three-point basket (74-44, 25th).
This meeting was considered high risk by the authorities of the Principality, who had deployed a large security service around the Stade Louis-II. Forty Monegasque police officers and a special unit from France were tasked with screening the 2,400 spectators in the Gaston-Médecin hall, where Israeli flags were displayed during the third quarter. On the floor, Monaco had nothing to fear. Walker played and scored 10 points (plus two assists, three rebounds and two steals) especially in the last quarter, where the difference even rose to 31 points (94-63, 35th).
“There are several things that have changed since the defeat against Bologna: confidence, the systems, the adaptation of everyone on the pitch,” appreciates Elie Okobo. “You don’t have to get too big-headed, there are a lot of candidates for the play-offs.” Monaco will play their next meeting in Milan, on November 2, while that of Maccabi against Real Madrid will be rescheduled for a later date.