The suffocating heat that reigned in the Astroballe like the weight of the opponent’s twenty titles did not constrain the Roca Team players. The Monegasques quickly put their mark on the match with their talent and power without TJ Parker’s men finding the solutions.
One of the keys to the match was the defense on Mike James. Should we take inspiration from Olympiakos who, in the quarter-finals of the Euroleague, had harassed the former CSKA player? From the first action we saw James being countered by Youssoupha Fall. If his team started the game well, it was not immediately his fault and, moreover, Asvel came back into contact at 12-12.
But this match was first of all a war of possession that Asvel was going to lose quite quickly with a real differential on the rebound. And then the concentration on number 55 of the Roca team freed up spaces for the others, like on this 3-point basket from Dwayne Bacon which placed Monaco at 25-15. And in these minutes, Baker like his colleagues scored on prevented shots when, at the same time, Paul Lacombe, for example, was 0 out of 3 in shooting.
Monaco thus reached the first quarter with +12 points (29-17). On the return, for the 2nd quarter, Bacon gave it a layer with a new 3-point basket and Baker finally asserted what was right. Asvel lacked skill while the Monegasques found themselves easily by making the right choices.
James precious in the money time
And as they have a lot of individual talent the gap between the two teams grew. They rallied at half-time with a score of 49 to 36 for the Roca Team. At this time Baker was 9 points and Alpha Diallo had 12 points. Among the descendants of Alain Gilles, it was William Howard who was sharp when Chris Jones had scored only 5 points.
Returning from the locker room, the players of TJ Parker seemed to have changed their attitude. Jones found Fall at the basket. And the latter finally benefited from an offensive rebound. And Asvel thus returned to 4 points… Were the Monegasques going to give in again after having largely dominated? But it’s a final. And the workforce of the Roca team is full of qualities. Moreover, it was difficult for the locals to maintain the intensity they had shown at the start of the second half.
And then Bacon was chasing his long-distance baskets. We ended the 3rd quarter at 54-65. But Monaco kept its nerves thanks in particular to Jerry Boutsiele. And then came the money time and there, 3 minutes from the end, David Lighty fired a fundamental 3-point basket which tensed the atmosphere; Asvel found themselves at minus 7. But James loves these moments and he then scored two precious baskets. Asvel lost 74-82 the first game at home and to darken the picture can also be Chris Jones through injury.