The Roca Team are champions of France for the second consecutive year. Monaco’s basketball squad seized power on Wednesday’s LNB finals deciding game with a rarely dominant victory at a packed Adidas Arena in Paris. Coach Sasa Obradovic’s team patiently devoured Paris Basketball, in this season the deserving winner of the EuroCup, and won with the outstanding score of 115-76. With that win, the total score in the final in a best-of-five was 3-1. The difference in strength was so great that it became clear after onlt one quarter that Monaco could no longer lose the national title.

Before the game on Wednesday, June 12, Obradovic said “We have to avoid having to play a fifth match with all the risks that entails. We just can’t afford to slack off and better finish it right now. That’s why we have to start this race with the best motivation.” The players got the message, and the Roca Team got off to a sublime start through Mike James, who opened the scoring with a three-pointer and then added three more points to his tally in the first minute.

With that, the tone was set for this fourth game in the final. Even before Paris could score itself, it was 19-0 for the defending champions. James scored a dozen points in the first four minutes. After this start, Paris tried to fight their way back into the game, but the Monegasques were totally focused and made almost no mistakes. Jordan Loyd, Mouhammadou Jaiteh and Petr Cornelie provided valuable points and so it was already 18-37 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter Donta Hall, Matthew Strazel and Elie Okobo also started to distinguish themselves. Monaco played fantastic basketball at times, but Paris, with Finn Jantunen as their best scorer, did not want to give up. However, the home team could not withstand Monaco’s dominance as the difference in the score grew greater and greater. After the first half, the score stood at 37-63.

Immediately after the break, the Roca Team ran even further away, and so it was 43-82 after 25 minutes. The crowd in the Adidas Arena had to accept this sensational superiority of the visiting Principality side, which then slowed down a bit because the game had long since been decided and Obradovic did not want to humiliate the opponent completely. With this in mind, James was pulled to the side, before Okobo took over the lead and showed his class with some three-pointers. After the third quarter, the score was 55-93.

In the last ten minutes, the home team had a run of eleven points in which Monaco did not manage to score against (from 55-95 to 66-95). Okobo, Jaiteh and Strazel (who became French champion for the fourth time in a row, after also two league titles with ASVEL) provided the points with which the magical 100 mark was passed in this championship match. The counter stopped at 76-115.

After that, the team was honoured and received the big trophy. James was deservedly named the MVP of this final, having showed his rare class in the last two matches, while also being the big man behind another successful championship campaign as well. The Roca Team is champion for the second time in a row, after being crowned the king of French basketball for the first time last year.

Featured image courtesy of @ASMonaco_Basket: Mike James