James leads Monaco to OT win in Kaunas
In a highly entertaining affair that went into overtime, AS Monaco pulled out a 98-107 win over Zalgiris Kaunas at the Zalgirio Arena on Wednesday night. Monaco snapped a five-game losing streak to improve to 6-9, while Zalgiris dropped to 3-12 and last place. Monaco trailed 70-61 going into the fourth quarter, but quickly erased the deficit and opened a 6-point lead. Then Zalgiris rallied and forced overtime on a put-back layup from Edgaras Ulanovas with 1.2 seconds to go in the fourth. In overtime, however, it was all Monaco, which outscored the hosts 3-12 in those 5 minutes. Mike James paced the winners with 20 points, a career-high 14 assists and 5 rebounds. Dwayne Bacon scored 19 points, Alpha Diallo scored had 13, Rob Gray and Will Thomas contributed 12 apiece and Yakuba Ouattara finished with 11 in the win. Janis Strelnieks netted a game-high 22 points for Zalgiris and Arturas Milaknis had 19. Josh Nebo collected 14 points plus 9 rebounds and Lukas Lekavicius had 13 points and 6 assists in a losing effort.
The teams traded blows throughout the first quarter. Strelnieks knocked down a three for the hosts, but Thomas and Ouattara scored all the points for Monaco to make it 5-8. James had a pair of layups for the visitors before Mantas Kalnietis and Nebo combined to score the next 7 points for Zalgiris to even the score at 15-15. Nebo added another floater for the hosts, but Donatas Motiejunas had a three-pointer and James beat the buzzer after going coast-to-coast to give Monaco a 21-22 edge after 10 minutes.
Milaknis opened the second quarter with a three-pointer, but Bacon drove twice to the rim for Monaco. After Tyler Cavanaugh got a favorable bounce to hit a three-pointer, Diallo hit a triple and Danilo Andjusic knocked down a jumper to put Monaco up 29-35. Milaknis snapped a 0-9 run with a three-pointer. After Bacon's basket-plus-foul, Milaknis hit another three to spark a 7-0 run that put Zalgiris back up, 39-38. However, Monaco answered with a 0-8 run, fueled by Ouattara who nailed a three-pointer and dished assists for dunks from Thomas and Donta Hall. Monaco took a 43-48 lead into halftime.
The paced picked up some more in the third quarter. Strelnieks and Diallo started things by trading triples before Strelnieks scored 5 more points, including another three to tie it at 53-53. Ulanovas followed with a triple of his own to put Zalgiris in front. Close-range baskets from Ouattara and James restored Monaco's slim lead, 58-59. Fastbreak baskets from Milaknis and Tai Webster put Zalgiris back in front before Milaknis hit another one from downtown to make it 70-61 after 30 minutes.
Diallo and James combined for 9 points, with James scoring a layup and a triple and Diallo stealing the ball for a fastbreak basket to tie it at 72-72. A triple from Gray put the visitors in front 73-75 after only 3 minutes of play in the fourth. Streleniks scored 5 points, including a three-pointer to bring Zalgiris within 78-79, but Bacon answered with 5 points of his own. Milaknis hit a three for the hosts, but Diallo's triple made it 81-87. Zalgiris caught up going by getting to the free-throw line, and Cavanaugh's triple made it 91-92 with 34 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. Ulanovas sent the game into overtime with a put-back layup with 1.2 seconds left in the regulation.
In the extra session, Gray and Bacon made back-to-back mid-range jumpers and Thomas raced for a fastbreak dunk to make it 95-101. After a timeout, Strelnieks hit a three-pointer, but that turned out to be the only Zalgiris basket in overtime as James sealed the deal with 4 more points.
Monaco's big fourth quarter and OT
AS Monaco entered the fourth quarter at Zalgirio Arena down 70-61, but needed less than 3 minutes to put together a 3-14 run. From a 9-point deficit, Monaco quickly took control and built an 81-87 advantage by scoring 34 fourth-quarter points. The visitors added 12 more in the extra session, combining for 46 points in those 15 minutes. Mike James scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, Rob Gray scored 10 of his 12 points and Dwayne Bacon 10 of his 19 in those two periods.
Monaco's records and James's career-high
EuroLeague debutant AS Monaco set all kinds of offensive club records in the overtime win in Kaunas. Monaco scored in triple-digits for the first time with 107 points and set a new club mark with a PIR of 132. The team also made 32 two-point shots and dished 24 assists -both new club records. In addition, the 14 assists from Mike James was not only a club record but a career-high for the superstar guard. Moreover, James's assists, as well as Monaco's marks in points, PIR and two-point shots made are all EuroLeague-best numbers this season through 15 rounds.
Obradovic starts with a win
Both AS Monaco and Zalgiris Kaunas made coaching changes this season and for Obradovic this was the first day on the job. Obradovic led Monaco during the 2019-20 campaign, but that was in the 7DAYS EuroCup, so this was his EuroLeague premier with the club. Monaco improved to 6-9 on the season and Obradovic improved his career coaching record to 27-42, which he compiled over the years on the benches of RheinEnergie Cologne, ALBA Berlin and Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade.
Wednesday, December 15, 2021