Monaco prevails over French League foe ASVEL
AS Monaco claimed a convincing road win by beating LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 75-100 in a rescheduled Round 19 game at Astroballe on Tuesday night. The visitors used a 2-11 run midway through the second quarter to build a double-digit advantage at halftime, 41-51, and extended it to 53-75 late in the third to never look back. The Roca Team improved to 9-11, while ASVEL dropped to 8-11. Donatas Motiejunas led the winners with 22 points in as many minutes. Dwayne Bacon followed him with a career-high 21 points, Mike James chipped in 20, Alpha Diallo posted a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds plus 6 assists to reach a personal high in PIR of 29 and Yakuba Outtara provided 10 points. Marcos Knight had 19 points and 9 rebounds for ASVEL and Dylan Osetkowski and Elie Okobo contributed 15 and 10 respectively in defeat.
Both teams excelled in offense in the early going, hitting almost every attempt they tried. Okobo led the way for the home team as the visitors found more balanced scoring through James, Outtara and Motiejunas. As such, the score was 8-7 after 3 minutes. Motiejunas took over for the visitors with 7 points in a blink of an eye that built a 13-19 edge for Monaco. The hosts reacted behind the scoring of the duo of Chris Jones and Knight to trim the deficit and tie it at 24-24 entering the last minute of the quarter. Jerry Boutsiele dismantled it from the line and Bacon closed the period with a tap-in that put the visitors ahead, 24-27, after 10 minutes.
Even though the rhythm went down a little bit when the game resumed, neither team managed to prevail. Bacon and Diallo found open lanes to drive and score for Monaco and Osetkowski and Antoine Diot responded quickly to make it 31-32. Paris Lee and James helped the visitors stay ahead with back-to-back buzzer-beating buckets that led a 2-13 run to set a double-digit advantage for Monaco, 33-45. Knight broke the trend and Kostas Antetokounmpo showed up inside to revive ASVEL, but James and Motiejunas didn’t need much to keep the visitors comfortably ahead, 41-51 at halftime.
Diallo came up strong after the intermission, as he first had a dunk, then fed Motiejunas inside to make it 41-55. The Lithuanian center repeated inside twice soon after to extend the lead to 41-59, while ASVEL was held scoreless for 3 minutes. Knight ended the drought and Charles Kahudi and Okobo accompanied him later to reactivate the hosts’ offense, but back-to-back triples by Lee and Bacon negated the comeback. Rebounding also helped Monaco keep rolling and when Diallo chained an inside bucket and a fast-break slam, ASVEL was down 50-71. A timeout and a zone defense seemed to work fine for the hosts, but it didn’t last for long as Monaco found the way to break it and claim a 58-76 advantage thanks to Bacon at the end of the third quarter.
James opened fire with a floater and Motiejunas added a tip-in to help his team reach the 20-point margin again early in the last stanza. ASVEL kept trying but was unable to string together more than two consecutive successful offenses. Even though Knight and Osetkowski combined on a 7-0 spurt that reduced the gap to 72-89 with less than 4 minutes remaining, Monaco needed only a couple of three-pointers by Diallo and Outtara and an inside bucket by Boutsiele to put the game to sleep, 72-97, entering the last minute.
Motiejunas leads Monaco’s magic quartet
Donatas Motiejunas was unstoppable in the paint against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne all night long and led all scorers by posting 22 points in just 22:42 on the court for AS Monaco. He played a key role for his team early in the game as he scored 9 points in the first quarter to help Monaco take charge, 24-27, after 10 minutes. Right after halftime, he showed up again to punish his opponents with 6 points in a row that boosted the difference to 41-59 early in the third quarter. But he was not alone, as Dwayne Bacon, Mike James and Alpha Diallo also scored prolifically. These four combined for 80 points, 5 more than all of ASVEL!
ASVEL has no answer for Monaco’s terrific offense
This was not the first time AS Monaco surpassed the 100-point mark in a Turkish Airlines EuroLeague game. The 7DAYS EuroCup champions had already scored 107 points against Zalgiris Kaunas in Round 15 on December 15, but on that day, they needed overtime to do it. Against French League rivals LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, the visitors showed impressive accuracy from all over the place, shooting 30-of-48 on two-pointers (62.5%) and 10-of-17 on threes (58.8%). ASVEL even tried a zone defense for a while, but nothing worked against Monaco’s offensive superiority. As such, ASVEL allowed the highest number of points this season, after the 85-93 home defeat against Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv in Round 4.
James reaches 3,000 points
Mike James was just 20 points shy of reaching the 3,000 points milestone in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and he didn’t miss the opportunity of achieving it. He was the first one to open fire with a jumper in Monaco’s first possession and continued scoring steadily all over the way until he made a corner three-pointer to take the prize midway through the last period. James, who also dished 7 assists, didn’t score after that, but his team didn’t need him to because the name of the winner of the game was already crystal clear when Monaco led 65-89 at that moment.
Tuesday, January 18, 2022