2021-22Regular SeasonRound 18
December 29, 2021 CET: 19:00
Local time: 19:00 SALLE GASTON MEDECIN

Monaco beats Maccabi to finish 2021 on a high note

AS Monaco finished a banner year in club history by holding off Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv 82-76 on Wednesday night at Salle Gaston Medecin. 2021 saw Monaco win the 7DAYS EuroCup and then make its Turkish Airlines EuroLeague debut. It will head into 2022 with a 7-11 record after outscoring Maccabi in each of the final three quarters to snap a two-game slide. Donatas Motiejunas and Alpha Diallo scored 16 points apiece to lead the winners. Mike James tallied 12 points and 13 assists, Dwayne Bacon added 11 points and Leo Westermann, in his first game back in over a month, netted 10 points. Scottie Wilbekin scored 31 points and Ante Zizic added 10 points and 7 rebounds for Maccabi, which lost its eighth straight game and fell to 7-11.

The game was physical early with a few fouls in the opening minutes. It took 100 seconds until Derrick Williams opened the scoring with a layup-plus-foul. Paris Lee opened the Monaco account with a three-pointer. Maccabi’s guards Wilbekin and Keenan Evans helped the visitors regain the lead. Westermann and Donta Hall came off the bench midway through the opening quarter and helped Monaco to its first lead, 9-8, on a layup by James. Zizic dunked twice in a 0-6 Maccabi run that prompted a Monaco timeout. Diallo dunked at the other end and Hall’s tip-in at the first-quarter buzzer made it 13-15.

Bacon scored in transition to even things before Angelo Caloiaro pulled up for a triple at the other end. Will Thomas and Wilbekin traded threes as the visitors maintained a slim lead. Williams put Maccabi up 20-25 with a steal and windmill slam midway through the second quarter. Motiejunas battled to keep the hosts close and a Westermann triple made it 27-28. Williams showed off with another wild slam only for Westermann to tie it with his second three, 30-30. Motiejunas’s layup gave Monaco the lead and, after Wilbekin and James both made threes, the home team went into the locker room with a 35-33 halftime advantage.

A three by Evans to start the second half put Maccabi ahead. The lead switched hands on three straight possessions with a three by Motiejunas giving Monaco a 40-38 edge. Bacon went coast to coast for a tough layup and a 4-point lead and a triple by Lee made it 49-44 midway through the third quarter. The margin reached 6 before Evan knocked down a three for Maccabi. But the visitors did not score over the next 3 and a half minutes and Bacon gave Monaco a 7-point lead. Jalen Reynolds dunked just before the third-quarter buzzer to make it 56-51.

Diallo scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter as the lead swelled to 9. Maccabi called timeout and Wilbekin stopped the bleeding, but Diallo scored again for Monaco. After Wilbekin assisted on Reynolds’s free throws and then buried a three, Monaco called timeout at 62-58. James rose to the occasion with a tough three and a layup to keep Maccabi at bay. Free throws by Wilbekin on consecutive possessions made it 67-66 with less than 4 minutes remaining. Zizic missed a chance to put the visitors ahead and Bacon capitalized with a three-point play at the other end. A three by Diallo had the Monaco fans on their feet at 73-66. Wilbekin drilled a three and made 2 free throws to get within 76-72 with 56.6 seconds on the clock. Bacon the split free throws, but Wilbekin missed his next shot and Westermann iced the game from the line.

James leads the way with assists

AS Monaco’s Round 18 victory over Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv was the team’s fourth game under Coach Sasa Obradovic and it appears he has turned one of the league’s premier scorers into one of its best assist men. Mike James won the Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy in 2019 and has been in the running a few other times, but he has shined as a playmaker more recently. After going for 12 points and 13 assists against Maccabi, James is averaging 16.3 points and 11.0 assists with Obradovic on the bench. That comes after he averaged 4.6 assists in the first 14 games of the season. This marked the ninth double-double of James’s career and his teams are 7-2 in those games.

By the numbers: Monaco shoots much better

The key for AS Monaco in Wednesday’s victory over Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv was better shooting. The hosts made 63.6% of their two-pointer (21 of 33) and 40.9% of their threes (9 of 22). Both numbers were significantly better than the visitors, who connected on 52.8% of their twos (19 of 36) and 30.8% of threes (8 of 26). The better shooting masked the fact that Maccabi won the rebounding battle 29-33 – including 4-11 on the offensive glass – and committed fewer turnovers (14-11).

Wilbekin lights up Monaco again

Maccabi’s star guard Scottie Wilbekin has played 158 games in his EuroLeague career and he has scored 30 points in only two of them. Both of them came this season against AS Monaco. After setting a career-high and tying a club record with 37 points in a home win over Monaco in Round 10, Wilbekin carried the Maccabi attack this time on the road, albeit in defeat. He scored 31 points by making 5 of 10 two-point shots and 5 of 9 threes as well as all 6 of his free throws. Wilbekin added 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in compiling a PIR of 31, which was the fourth-best of his career.

Mike James - AS Monaco - EB21
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Euroleague.net
Referees: PEREZ, MIGUEL ANGEL; PANTHER, ANNE; FOUFIS, IOANNIS
Attendance: 3732 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
AS Monaco13222126
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv15181825
End of Quarter1234
AS Monaco13355682
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv15335176
AS Monaco
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
3 DEMAHIS, RUDY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 LEE, PARIS 22:43 6 0/1 2/4   1 1 2 1 1       4   3
8 BACON, DWAYNE 28:24 13 4/6 0/2 5/8   2 2   2 2     3 6 11
9 WESTERMANN, LEO 18:57 10 1/2 2/4 2/2   2 2 2   4     1 2 8
10 THOMAS, WILL 27:01 7 1/1 1/1 2/2 1 7 8           2 1 14
11 DIALLO, ALPHA 25:32 16 5/6 1/3 3/4   3 3 1 1 3     4 2 12
12 MOTUM, BROCK 6:18     0/1                       -1
20 MOTIEJUNAS, DONATAS 18:58 16 6/8 1/2 1/2 1 1 2 1   1     3 4 15
28 FAYE, IBRAHIMA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
35 TRAORE, ARMEL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
45 HALL, DONTA 17:06 2 1/1       4 4       1   1 3 9
55 JAMES, MIKE 35:01 12 3/6 2/5     2 2 13   4   2 2 3 16
Team             3 3     1         2
Totals 200:00 82 21/31 9/22 13/18 3 25 28 18 4 15 1 2 20 21 89
        67.7% 40.9% 72.2%
Head coach: OBRADOVIC, SASA
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 WILBEKIN, SCOTTIE 34:08 31 5/10 5/9 6/6   2 2 4 2 4     1 6 31
2 EVANS, KEENAN 31:09 8 1/3 2/7   1 6 7 5   2     5 1 7
4 CALOIARO, ANGELO 28:19 5 1/1 1/1   3 1 4 2 2       2 4 15
6 WILLIAMS, DERRICK 29:40 9 4/6 0/3 1/1   2 2 3 2 1     1 2 11
7 TAYLOR, KAMERON 15:17     0/2     2 2 1         1    
8 REYNOLDS, JALEN 15:02 7 2/7   3/4 1   1   1     1 2 2 2
9 SORKIN, ROMAN 0:08                              
12 DIBARTOLOMEO, JOHN 12:04 2 1/1 0/3   1 2 3 2 2 2     5   -1
14 BLAYZER, OZ 0:23                              
15 COHEN, JAKE 6:18 2 1/2     3   3 1   2         3
23 ZIZIC, ANTE 24:50 10 4/6   2/4 2 5 7   1   2   2 4 18
99 ZIV, IFTAH 2:42 2   0/1 2/2                 2 1  
Team             1 1     1          
Totals 200:00 76 19/36 8/26 14/17 11 21 32 18 10 12 2 1 21 20 86
        52.8% 30.8% 82.4%
Head coach: SFAIROPOULOS, IOANNIS

Head Coaches

OBRADOVIC, SASA
AS Monaco

"Compared to the previous games, it's notable that we played much better defense. Of course a guy like Wilbekin, who has extra class, he found some shots, but all in all we can be happy first with the win and second the way we did, especially defensively there was a reaction. This is supposed to be understood that it's the way we want to play. With all the guys giving a contribution, I think it was a great team win.

"I think [Mike James] understands what the team needs now at this moment, to have someone who can play not just for himself but also for the others. With all the assists he had, it was important to have all the guys together. I would also underline Westerman. With him on the court, it's another dimension; he understands the game, he can pass the ball, he has experience and quality. We have to be careful how to use him. 22 minutes is maybe too much."

SFAIROPOULOS, IOANNIS
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
"I think in the second half our defense was not good and we didn't play like the first half. that's the reason why Monaco got the lead. We had some chances to go back, let's say 4 minutes before the end, 3 minutes before the end, we had some chances, some good offenses, one fast break that we missed. I think we could have done something better."

Players

MOTIEJUNAS, DONATAS
AS Monaco
"It was crucial for us to get back on track and all the players and all the fans are happy."
JAMES, MIKE
AS Monaco
“We won and we’re making steps to get better every day. Winning is always a good thing, it makes you feel like you’re working and it’s paying off, so I’m happy with that.”
ZIZIC, ANTE
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
"It was a very tough game. In the first quarter, we did an amazing job and we should have kept the same energy, same toughness, but in the second and the third quarter, they were dominating us and in all other parts of the game, we were chasing the score. In the fourth quarter, we showed some energy and toughness, but that wasn't enough. When you are on a bad streak, some shots that were supposed to go in go out and you miss layups and make some bad plays. The toughest thing is to stop the streak. When we stop the streak, we will be great."