Victorious in the boiling Athenian halls of Panathinaikos and Olympiakos earlier in the season, AS Monaco will not achieve the pass of three in the cauldron of Partizan Belgrade. The Roca Team lost sharply on Thursday evening (80-100), weighed down by a nightmarish fourth quarter. Kept alive for 30 minutes by the aggressiveness of Elie Okobo (17 points, 9 assists) and the energy of Alpha Diallo or Donta Hall (11 cumulative rebounds), the vice-champion of France ended up cracking.
Unrecognizable in attack, like Mike James (9 points, 2 out of 12 shooting), Monaco saw Danilo Andjusic (12 points, 4 out of 4 behind the arc) and Partizan regain efficiency at three points to fold the case (85-73, 35th). Sasa Obradovic’s men remain co-leaders of the Euroleague but miss the chance to take control alone by taking advantage of defeats to Barcelona and Baskonia earlier in the evening.
An evening without for James
In Serbia, the elders of the Rock got in the way. Not used by Sasa Obradovic in the Betclic Elite play-offs last season, the back Danilo Andjusic launched the Serbian wave at the end of the match with his long distance arrows (12 points, 4 out of 4 behind the arc). Near the circle, Mathias Lessort completed his demolition work (21 points, 8 rebounds) against the Monegasque racket.
Miraculous against Zalgiris Kaunas last Thursday (84-82), an evening when Mike James had not scored a single basket, AS Monaco could not compensate for the match this time without their star leader. James hit the mark on his first two attempts…before missing the next ten.
Lost in a collection of bad choices – a shot fired 11 meters in the middle of possession – the native of Portland was kept his head under water by the Serbian defense. As against the Lithuanians, Elie Okobo (17 points, 9 assists) floated, supported by Yakuba Ouattara (10 points) to erase a first burst at the start of the match (from 9-19 to 33-32). Too little to put the lid on Partizan and Stark Arena.