Monaco fall in Kaunas after five consecutive Euroleague victories
After five victories in a row in the Euroleague, Monaco lost on the floor of the Lithuanians of Zalgiris Kaunas (79-70) on Wednesday during the 31st day and will still have to employ themselves to secure a place in the Top 4. The Monegasques, already qualified for the play-offs but who had the opportunity to take a big step towards a certain place in the first four of the classification in the event of victory, and therefore of the advantage of the field during the play-offs, remain under threat from their pursuers with 20 wins for 11 losses on the clock.
Sasa Obradovic’s players had already lost three days earlier, conceding on the Limoges floor their first defeat of March (83-76) after ten consecutive successes in all competitions, on the occasion of the return of their star leader Mike James, suspended for two weeks for disciplinary reasons. In Kaunas, Monaco delivered an insipid performance, far from the level of their last five successful outings.
Overwhelmed in intensity
While they had shown themselves to be exemplary in solidarity to overcome solid teams like Vitoria or Valencia, the Monegasques were overwhelmed in intensity, often being clumsy in their attacking animation. Despite the nine points in the first quarter of the local stage, Donatas Motiejunas, trained at Zalgiris, Monaco quickly ran after the score, led 17-11 (7th).
The Lithuanians were able to take advantage of too many lost balls by the Roca Team (six in the first quarter) thanks to a remarkable address behind the arc (5/7) to fly away. For his first European match since March 8, Mike James was shy, capable of too few brilliant shots (six points, four stray bullets). Kaunas, who was playing one of his last cards in the race for the play-offs, then mastered the game without ever letting Monaco come back.
The Lithuanians, who dream of a Final Four organized in their room, continued their work of undermining with an impressive physical presence, like the two rebounds taken in quick succession by the interior Kevarrius Hayes before registering a basket accompanied by a fault (51-41, 21st). Jordan Loyd’s teammates (13 pts, five assists) suffered during a late game where they never really believed it against a calm team, coached by winger Ignas Brazdeikis who chained the shots award-winning (22 pts, 4/5 at three points). Monaco will try to revive in Germany on Friday against an opponent a priori more affordable, Bayern Munich (15th).