Monaco sours Ricky Rubio’s debut with Barcelona | Basketball | Sports


Euroleague working day 27


AS Monaco

AS Monaco

Half an hour before the meeting began, the great mystery was revealed, the news of the year in the Palau; Ricky Rubio came out on the court with number 9, long legwarmers, blue sneakers and a smile from ear to ear, one more of the team. Almost 13 years after defending the Barça shirt, the point guard returned to his other home – he trained and debuted at Joventut -, again with the orange ball in his hands, a round trip that almost didn’t end before time due to chronic stress, because he lost the desire to play due to a mental health problem. He returned (where he left off) with the Spanish team a week earlier – against Latvia and Belgium – and this Friday he did so in the Euroleague, with the fans giving over to a differential player, a “magician” as they define him in the locker room, a genius of ball that made the Americas to earn more than a name. There were fans scattered with Ricky’s shirt, both the old one and the current one, although they all stood together when he was named over the public address system, a deafening roar, a vitamin breath that the player returned with a brief applause and then pointed to the sky. and touch your heart in memory of your mother. Ricky was at the Palau; Ricky was ready for the game… To his chagrin, Barça played with a sprained wrist, a shooting failure, a painful defeat.

It was also a match that could be very special for Mike James – he was 29 points away from becoming the top scorer in the Euroleague and surpassing Vassilis Spanoulis’ record of 4,455 -, Monaco’s point guard as exceptional as it was volcanic, who already protested The first foul, fuss and grind him. But Vesely opened the duel from the free throw line as a greeting, as he took over the low post, comfortable at his time and as always with mid-range shots. Effervescence that he shared with Laprovittola, who punished the rival with two triples in a row to open the gap and try to explain that this Barça is no longer what it was, since the team has gained momentum and confidence, cruising speed. Or so it seemed… The Blaugrana played at full speed, atomic circulation and energetic defense, a cocktail that initially became indigestible for Monaco and James, who missed his first four shots and could do little against the scorching basketball of Barça, who He closed the first quarter very satisfied (21-12), only penalized by the permanent defect of the course, free throws. The joy, however, was short-lived.


Barcelona: Satoransky (8), Laprovittola (13), Kalinic (2), Parker (7) and Vesely (19) -starting quintet-; Da Silva (2), Rubio (5), Brizuela (2), Hernángomez (3), Abrines (4) and Jokubaitis (2).

Monaco: James (17), Strazel (13, Blossomgame (10), Brown (3) and Motiejunas (12) -starting quintet-; Okobo (7), Diallo (4), Cornelie (0), Jaiteh (1), Walker ( 0) and Hall (10).

Partials: 21-12; 14-21; 16-27; 16-17.

Referees: S. Radovic (Croatia), S. Shemmesh (Israel) and S. Petek (Slovenia). No eliminations.

Palau Blaugrana. 7,045 spectators.

Although Monaco closed the gap thanks to Okobo, the fans looked more at the bench than at the hardwood, eager to see their famous signing. “Ricky,” Grimau called him as the stands cheered and the point guard responded with a shy greeting. There were 8m 43s left in the second act and the 9th entered the court. “Ricky Rubio, clap-clap, clap-clap, clap!”, the Palau sang with enthusiasm. But Barça had lost its rhythm and finesse, as well as defensive intensity and presence on the rebound, arguments for Monaco to go up (23-21). Ricky responded with a reverse and a jump back, his first basket to the delight of the pavilion, already melting before his new star, who distributed sweets that the pitchers did not taste. Bittersweet minutes for the culés, who were crying for the team, knowing that a victory would bring them closer to the Euroleague qualifiers, screwed as they are in second position. But it wouldn’t be easy, 35-33 at halftime.

Especially since the best version of Motiejunas appeared during the restart, scoring two goals from the outskirts and one more in the bottle, a giant with hand and waist. Barcelona barely complained, sleepy and stuck, not very successful in the shot: Kalinic and Parker did not score one; Lapro was not meant; and only Vesely was capable of shouting to the sky, of becoming strong and big under the hoops. It was time for Ricky to come out again. But it was difficult for his high-quality basketball – as it left his teammates with clear shooting options and time to arm themselves – to gain momentum. So he took the ball and command, a two plus one to call his teammates into a huddle. Not enough, however, to upset Monaco, who also found James, a player who scores points with astonishing ease and who increased the stakes for the Monegasques (51-60).

Barça tried to say theirs from the periphery, trigger comes and trigger comes – 4 of 27 in triples during the challenge, terrifying Kalinic’s 0 of 7 -, in the same way that it did not speak near the rim, without response to the electric rival defense. The goal was tiny for the Blaugrana and not for Monaco, who in the absence of James’ devastating version (17 points) relied on Strazel, Hall, Motiejunas and Blossomgame, all with double figures. And that was enough for Monaco, a team as successful as it was complete, to know how to decipher the Palau and take the victory, also to spoil Ricky Rubio’s debut as a Barça player.

On the other hand, Fenerbahçe was able to beat Baskonia thanks to the sprint final, to a sensational last quarter in which they scored 33 points. Too much for Obradovic’s team (111-96).

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