In the history of French basketball, only two clubs have tasted the intoxication of a Euroleague Final 4.
And that was in the previous century, in the 1990s. Limoges went there three times (1990, 1993, 1995), for a coronation in 1993, and Villeurbanne once (4th) in 1997, the latest.
By tackling matches 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Friday on their floor equally (1 victory everywhere), Monaco has a golden opportunity to join this very closed club.
"On our side, we must not burn ourselves with the pressure of wanting to write something very important for French basketball. We have done an incredible job so far, now there is a chance to pass, we cannot get out of this chance," said Monaco coach Sasa Obradovic.
"We are all very excited and we have to control that to be smart in the next match," he commented, after Sunday's league victory against Fos-sur-Mer (93-66), which allowed Monaco to stick to the Basques of Boulogne-Levallois at the head of the Elite.
Winner of the Eurocup last year, a coronation which allowed it to climb into the Euroleague, Monaco suffered for its first play-off match at the Stade de la Paix et de l'Amitié, stuck in the Greek defense in only scoring 54 points.
Donta Hall of AS Monaco in the smash against Olympiakos Piraeus in the Euroleague quarter-finals on April 20, 2022 in Piraeus Angelos Tzortzinis AFP / Archives
"In match 1, Olympiakos had suffocated us with superior aggressiveness. They will try to do it again. We know that we must not reproduce this kind of pattern. The motivation is very high for this meeting, with the support of our fans which will be very important", estimated Yakuba Outtara.
"Be mentally ready"
The "Roca Team" then regained their attacking game, which makes them a serious outsider for the semi-finals of C1, by correcting Olympiakos in match 2 (96-72).
"We had the two match models: the one which should not be and the second which is exactly how we should play. We have to repeat it and be mentally ready, as much as possible", warned Obradovic.
"Winning is all that matters. It doesn't matter in the play-offs, you just have to win. You never know what the game will bring us: lots of points or few points, sometimes Mike James, sometimes the other guys We just want to win," the coach concluded.
Left to rest for the championship match against Fos-sur-Mer, Mike James will once again be the most followed player of the "Roca Team".
Kostas Sloukas of Olympiakos comes up against the defense of Alpha Diallo of AS Monaco in the quarter-finals of the Euroleague on April 20, 2022 in Piraeus Angelos Tzortzinis AFP/Archives
The 31-year-old American star, silent for the first six quarters of the series against Olympiakos, caught fire for a quarter of an hour to score 23 points.
Opposite, the old veterans Georgios Printezis (37 years old) and Kostas Sloukas (32 years old), winners of the Euroleague with Olympiakos in 2012 and 2013, were much more withdrawn during match 2, against the intractable defense of Monaco.
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