Monaco re***ures and equalizes against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Euroleague quarter-finals
The reaction of the Monegasques, lost on Tuesday at home against Maccabi Tel Aviv during…
The reaction of the Monegasques, lost on Tuesday at home against Maccabi Tel Aviv during the first game of the Euroleague quarter-finals (67-79), was eagerly awaited. It gave complete satisfaction on Thursday evening, for the second round contested at Gaston-Médecin. Transformed, much more aggressive and successful in shooting, the Roca Team delivered a second game up to the stakes to win a rather comfortable victory (86-74).
After the disappointment of the start of the week, coach Sasa Obradovic did not hesitate to turn his plans upside down: dismiss Elie Okobo, who was in the starting lineup in game 1, on the bench, in favor of the winger, defense specialist, Yakuba Ouattara, who had not played a second on Tuesday. A paying option since the Rock team started its match well (an 11-0 entry) thanks to the activity of the Frenchman, who is also very prominent in attack (12 points in total).
Monaco resisted the intense pressure put on by their opponent on the rebound rather well. Maccabi grabbed sixteen offensive catches (40 rebounds in total).
If Maccabi came back too easily at the end of the first act, thanks to the many points left on the free throw line by the locals (3/8 in the first quarter, 17/24 in the end), Monaco did not *****ed when his opponent temporarily took the lead at the start of the second quarter (22-23 then 24-26). A 9-0 remotely controlled by Elie Okobo (11 points) allowed the Monegasques to regain the advantage (33-26) then return to the locker room with a narrow lead (42-41, 20th). Until then, the impression left was much better than in the first game.
A second half under high tension
It will only be confirmed during a second half of the match which will above all have highlighted the nervousness and frustration of the visitors, who have chained the faults, and especially received six technical faults (!). Some seemed completely justified, like Wade Baldwin, accusing the referees of having been bought by the Monegasque camp. Sequence which also caused some tension in the stands, quickly extinguished by the security service.
Two Maccabi Tel Aviv players did not finish the match, excluded by the referees for two technical faults each: Darrun Hilliard and Wade Baldwin.
While the gap flirted with twenty points in the first part of the fourth quarter (76-58, 35th), Mike James – otherwise disappointing in many of his choices (11 points at 3/12, 4 stray bullets) – and consorts had a little scare by letting their vis-à-vis return to eight points (78-70, 37th).
A relaxation finally mastered which allowed the Roca Team to seek a most precious success. Because the trip to Tel Aviv, in the impregnable bastion that is the Menora Mivtachim Arena (Maccabi have lost there only twice this season, the best record for a home team in the Euroleague) already looks dangerous. It will be imperative to go for a victory to hope to see the Final Four.