By Stefan Djordjevic/ firstname.lastname@example.org
“Offense wins games, defense wins championships” is an often quoted cliche in the basketball world, but AS Monaco could possibly live up to it.
With only one day away from the Basketball Champions League Final Four it’s a great time to remember how the French team dominated the Regular Season with their amazing defense.
Zvezdan Mitrovic’s squad allows its opponents to score only 68.4 points per game. From day one, Monaco showed that their defensive schemes are working well (they crashed Juventus Utena 90-53 in the opening game). A week after that they made another statement, by destroying UNET Holon 85-56 with another monster defense performance.
One of the key factors for Monaco’s stunning defense is the way the put pressure to the ball. They steal 11.6 balls per game, the competition’s leaders. Aaron Craft leads the way with the most steals per game in the Basketball Champions Leauge. Monaco’s point guard averages 2.1 steals per game (36 total ). His teammate, D.J. Cooper is also in the Top 5 with 1.9 steals per game.
The French team is also in the Top 10 when it comes to blocks. They stop the opponents 2.5 times per game, ranking ninth. From fellow Final Four competitors, only AEK blocks more shots than Monaco (3.1 per game).
Monaco’s opponent in the semi-final, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, averages 81.4 points per game, but will they be able to overcome Monaco’s defense? Will they find a way to neutralise Monaco’s aggressive guards who will be trying to press the ball all the time? The clash between these two teams is scheduled for Friday and there is only one ticket for the final!
Photo credit: BCL