Roca Team, Monaco’s basketball team, has taken revenge for Tuesday’s heavy defeat and won the second game against Maccabi by a clear margin: 86-74. The overall score in this EuroLeague play-off match is now back in balance (1-1), but Roca Team now awaits two games in Tel Aviv, on Tuesday and Thursday next week. It has to win at least one of the two to keep the possibility for joining the Final Four and play the fifth match again in the Gaston Medecin Hall.  

Monaco had a great start to the match and took a lead of 11-0 after only three minutes. That was the reaction manager Sasa Obradovic expected from his players, who were very disappointingly outclassed by the champion of Israel (67-79) on Tuesday. After that, Maccabi came back strongly in the first period. The backlog was almost completely eliminated. In the end, the score was 22-18 for Monaco after the first ten minutes. At halftime, the score was almost even (42-41). The big question was whether Monaco would have an answer to the very physical play of the opponents. 

Monaco started the third period strong and closed a solid gap (67-54), with Yakuba Ouattara and Jordan Loyd in particular being able to distinguish themselves with some highlights. In the first five minutes after the break Monaco really outplayed Maccabi and silenced even the rowdy supporters from Israel, who also wanted to celebrate the 75th anniversary of their country noisily. Maccabi lost control of the match and also their self-control. The game was interrupted a lot for annoying fouls and even scuffles. Wade Baldwin, last Tuesday’s MVP, even gestured to the referees that they had been bribed to help Monaco win. 

In the final ten minutes, Monaco did not relinquish the lead, although it did indulge in sloppy play. Jordan Loyd was the MVP for Monaco with 35 points. However, the victory was no longer in danger and so the team can travel to Tel Aviv with a certain optimism. Still, it will be a daunting task because Maccabi is the best team in home games this season and has only been beaten twice in front of a home crowd. 

FILE PHOTO: Roca Team’s Mike James