Roca Team has written a new golden page with a victory at Barcelona in the EuroLeague. The basketball team of Monaco won in the temple where the real Dream Team was born (Palau Blaugrana) with 77-67 against the Catalan top team, which was already defeated earlier this season at the Salle Gaston Medecin in Fontvieille.

Barça are in second place despite this loss, but Roca Team is now virtually in the top 4 and has a great chance of participating in the playoffs for the third year in a row. Last year, the champion of France finished in third place of the EuroLeague.

This victory at Barcelona has monumental value. The Catalan public had turned out for Ricky Rubio’s return to the EuroLeague after thirteen years as a star player in the NBA. The home team got off to a strong start and led 7-0 within three minutes. The Monegasques struggled to score points in the first quarter, which ended with a score of 21-12. But immediately in the second quarter, the situation changed and Roca Team erased that deficit within five minutes. Okobo, Hall, Diallo and Strazel even gave them a 25-27 lead. But in a hot final phase of the second quarter, Barcelona took the lead again: 35-33. Monaco was still too sloppy with the chances in that phase and missed a few three-pointers, including from Mike James.

Immediately after the break, Monaco also made the difference as Mike James went on to score points and took the team in tow, supported by Donta Hall and Donatas Motiejunas, who scored eight points in a row in this phase. After the third quarter, Roca Team had beaten 60-51. Obradovic’s team then only had to finish the game. Mike James took care of the final shot by adding five more points in the final minute, bringing his total to 17. Monaco won 77-67, a score. Strazel and Motiejunas accounted for 13 and 12 points.

The Lithuanian was very happy afterwards: “It’s the first time in my career that I win here. That’s really special. We really wanted to win to open the hunt for second place. We want to finish as high as possible in the regular season to force a high position in playoffs. That is why this victory is very important. We didn’t start well but recovered well in the second quarter and were able to take the win.”

Mike James is still 11 points away from becoming the all-time best shooter in the EuroLeague. The record of Greek Vassilis Spanoulis, who scored 4,455 points in the EuroLeague, can be broken on Thursday when Roca Team plays at home against Red Star Belgrade. James is now at the magic number of 4444 points.

FILE PHOTO: Mike James