AS Monaco at the gates of the Euroleague Final Four

Mike James, leader of AS Monaco, during match 4 of the Euroleague quarter-finals, against Maccabi Tel-Aviv, in Tel-Aviv, on May 4, 2023.

AS Monaco (ASM) basketball will have to be solid as a rock. Wednesday May 10, at 8 p.m., in the Gaston-Médecin room, in Monaco, the players of the Rock have the opportunity to achieve a rare performance. Facing Maccabi Tel-Aviv, the Principality’s team has the home advantage to try to secure a place in the semi-finals of the Euroleague, the most prestigious of the continental cups.

Monaco, in search of European title, will have to get rid of an Israeli formation six times champion of Europe. After four games, the two teams are tied (two wins each). While they had the opportunity to get their ticket for the semi-finals on May 4 in Israel, the Monegasques let the opportunity slip away, suffering a big defeat (104-69).

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You have to go back to 1997 to find a basketball team from the French championship in the last four of the European basketball cup. Since the epic of Lyon-Villeurbanne at the end of the 1990s, no trace of a French club in the European Final Four. In recent years, French teams have become rare in the Euroleague. Between 2017 and 2019, there was not even a French championship team in the elite of continental basketball. But after reaching the quarter-finals in 2022, basketball players from the Principality are becoming more and more competitive on the Old Continent.

Mike James to lead ASM to victory

But Sacha Obradovic’s men have a major obstacle ahead of them this year: Tel Aviv, six-time European champion. The Israeli team is by far the most experienced, and the Monegasque coach stresses the importance of managing his emotions against a team like Maccabi. “Tactics can make the difference, but it’s more a question of the heart put on the ground at that timeexplained the Serbian coach, before match 5, on Eurosport. Everything will depend on us. Maccabi will try to outsmart us. Do not expect a predefined scenario. »

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Mike James is the best in European basketball. From the height of his 32 years and his 1.85 meters, the American playmaker can be the key to a match which promises to be undecided. Leg this season with 16.1 points on average per game, the Monegasque should be valuable for such a confrontation. James broke his own record for points scored in a half of the Euroleague playoffs, in match 3, May 2, in Tel Aviv (18 points), won by the Rocher team (83-78 ).

Motivated by the challenge, the players of the principality will want to erase the disillusion of last season (elimination in the quarter-finals). The Salle Gaston-Médecin will be the scene of a sold-out show. The Roca Team will be supported by a cheerful public by the possible exploit of its team. During the first two meetings on the Rock, the Israeli supporters were 500 in the Monegasque hall, this time they can only be 150. A detail that the leaders of Tel Aviv have trouble digesting and which could have its importance on the course of the meeting.

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In the event of victory, AS Monaco would put an end to twenty-six years of absence of a French team in the last four of the competition, and would earn their ticket to Kaunas, in Lithuania, where the Final Four of the Euroleague, from May 19 to 21, and for which Olympiakos and FC Barcelona have already qualified.


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