Heavily defeated in match 2, AS Monaco reacted Monday evening taking advantage of Villeurbanne’s clumsiness – 3/22 from 3-points, but none registered in the first 37 minutes – in a sold-out Gaston-Médecin room (83-80). The Roca Team now leads 2-1 in this Betclic Elite 2022 final and will have an opportunity to conclude on Wednesday evening (8:30 p.m.), still in front of its audience.
It is often said that Game 3 is the seesaw in a series. The future will tell us if this is the case in this final of Betclic Elite but AS Monaco has in any case taken a serious option on the title Monday evening (83-80). Passed in front in the second quarter, the Roca Team snatched the victory thanks to their offensive rhythm, in particular that of Dwayne Bacon (19 points at 8/13 on shots) and Mike James (16 points at 5/17 on shots , 10 assists, 6 rebounds), but also defensive, leaving ASVEL at 3/22 at 3-points. And again, the three winning shots were scored in the last three minutes of the match. Without it, TJ Parker’s team would have sunk then, but they hoped until the last second.
ASVEL had however taken the lead at the start of the game. She had started as she had played in match 2: with great accuracy. Whether it was Elie Okobo or Marcos Knight, the Villeurbanne rears found Youssoupha Fall very easily in the paint and he used his 2.21m to conclude the caviars that were given to him. Collective and dynamic, TJ Parker’s team took advantage of their 2-point skill (10/16) and their defense to control a somewhat clumsy Roca Team, like Mike James’ early game (16- 20).
Even at the start of the second act, ASM – still deprived of Donta Hall and Danilo Andjusic – was still dominated by Villeurbanne’s aggressiveness, in particular that of Youss Fall (12 points and 3 rebounds at the break). The Principality team then piled up the loss of balls, especially Will Thomas and Dwayne Bacon (25-27, 15th). But Villeurbannais captain David Lighty expected a reaction, and it came from the threat from outside Monaco.
Carried by the three shots behind the arc of Paris Lee but also the distribution of Mike James (7 assists at half-time), the team of Sasa Obradovic passed a 12-0 and even a 15-2 in four minutes (37-27, 18th) to take control of the meeting. Unlike Monaco (5/10 from 3-points), ASVEL had still not taken a single outside shot (0/10 from 3-points) at the break (39-33).
The Elie Okobo show is not enough
The Principality’s team had no intention of going behind when they returned from the locker room, but Lyon-Villeurbanne clung on, in front of its president Tony Parker. A burst of pride came from captain David Lighty, who gave of himself in defense, but also and above all from Elie Okobo, author of 8 consecutive points (49-48, 26th). Undisciplined, like Alpha Diallo’s 4 fouls, the Roca Team relied on their individualities. Dwayne Bacon went into scorer mode, scored 7 points in a row and gave air to his people (56-48, 28th). Except that Elie Okobo did not let himself be disturbed and also saw Chris Jones – who plays with a torn groin – take over at the end of the third quarter (59-56).
The Gaston-Médecin public expected a close end to the match, and it was served. Despite a new tip from Bacon four minutes from time (70-62, 36th), ASVEL has always remained almost in the game. While she still hadn’t scored a single 3-point shot in the game, a burst from Chris Jones two minutes from the final buzzer gave her hope (73-70). Even after Motiejunas answered a minute later in the corner (78-72, 1’10 to play), ASVEL did not let go. By two 3-pointers from Elie Okobo then James Gist, she even came back to two points 6 seconds from the end (80-78). Except that TJ Parker had no more time out and Monaco controlled the last seconds on the line to clinch the precious success (83-80).
The Gaston-Médecin public expected a close end to the match, and it was served. Despite a new tip from Bacon four minutes from time (70-62, 36th), ASVEL has always remained almost in the game. While she still hadn’t scored a single 3-point shot in the game, a burst from Chris Jones two minutes from the final buzzer gave hope (73-70). But even after the response a minute later from Motiejunas in the corner (78-72, 1’10 to play), ASVEL did not let go. By two 3-pointers from Elie Okobo then James Gist, she even came back to two points 6 seconds from the end (80-78). Except that TJ Parker had no more time out and Monaco controlled the last seconds on the line to clinch the precious success (83-80).
Beaten in the evaluation (87 to 86), abused by Elie Okobo (25 points at 9/17 on shots, 4 assists), a diminished Chris Jones but clutch (15 points at 6/13 on shots, 3 rebounds) and Youssoupha Fall (16 points, 5 rebounds), Monaco is no less victorious in a breathless duel. Never titled in Betclic Elite, the Roca Team will have the opportunity to lift their first trophy on Wednesday evening, still ahead of Prince Albert at Gaston-Médecin (8:30 p.m., to follow on BeIN Sports). And it would be better for the team of Sasa Obradovic that the series does not return to Villeurbanne, where a match 5 would be tricky.
Boxscore Monaco – ASVEL / Playoff schedule
Photo: Yakuba Ouattara © Communication Department / Manuel Vitali