Europe 1 with AFP 23:10 p.m., March 29, 2023Monaco stopped. The basketball players of the Principality, who remained on five consecutive victories in the Euroleague, lost on the floor of the Lithuanians of Zalgiris Kaunas (79-70). Monaco will have to ensure in its last matches of the competition to hope to finish in the Top 4.
After five wins in a row in the Euroleague, Monaco lost on the floor of the Lithuanians Zalgiris Kaunas (79-70) on Wednesday during the 31st day and will still have to work to ensure 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 top four of the standings in case of victory, and therefore the advantage of the field in the play-offs, remain under the threat of their pursuers with 20 wins for 11 setbacks on the counter.
Sasa Obradovic's players had already lost three days earlier, conceding on the floor of Limoges 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, excluded two weeks for disciplinary reasons. In Kaunas, Monaco delivered a tasteless performance, far from the level of their last five successful outings.
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Overwhelmed in intensity
While they had shown exemplary solidarity to overcome strong teams like Vitoria or Valencia, the Monegasques were overwhelmed in intensity, often being clumsy in their offensive animation. Despite the nine points in the first quarter of the local of the stage, Donatas Motiejunas, trained at Zalgiris, Monaco quickly ran after the score, leading 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 skill behind the arc (5/7) to fly away. For his first European match since March 8, Mike James was timid, capable of too few brilliant shots (six points, four loose balls). Kaunas, who was playing one of his last cards in the race for the play-offs, then controlled 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 back-to-back by the interior Kevarrius Hayes before scoring a basket accompanied by a foul (51-41, 21st). Jordan Loyd's teammates (13 pts, five assists) suffered during a late game where they never really believed against a serene team, led by winger Ignas Brazdeikis who chained the winning shots (22 pts, 4/5 three-pointers). Monaco will try to revive in Germany on Friday against an opponent a priori more affordable, Bayern Munich (15th).