Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz will host AS Monaco in the Fernando Buesa Arena on Friday evening, in a game that counts for Round 10 of the current EuroLeague season. The two teams are tied in the standings with 5-4 records, but their recent results are very different.
Baskonia had a fairly good season last year under the guidance of head coach Joan Penarroya. The Basque team just missed the playoffs finishing the regular season in 9th place with a positive 18-16 record. Despite losing Darius Thompson, the best passer in the EuroLeague last season, the expectations remained high. Unfortunately, the results in the first month of this season were poor so the board decided to part ways with Penarroya after a 1-4 start in the EuroLeague and brought back Dusko Ivanovic to save the season. It is Ivanovic’s fourth stint as head coach in Vitoria and it started really well: Baskonia won all four games since the Montenegrin took over. They beat powerhouses like Partizan, Olympiacos and Barcelona. Another big part of this recent success is Nigerian power forward/center Chima Moneke, who leads the EuroLeague in PIR and is second in scoring and fourth in rebounding.
The guests from Monaco are not in such great shape currently. On the contrary, the red and white team suffered two consecutive defeats and is desperate for a win tomorrow. After playing in the Final Four last season they want nothing less this year, but their results are inconsistent. Starting the season with two defeats (including a shocking 59-83 at home against Virtus Bologna) Mike James and co went on a 5-game winning streak, then lost both games in last week’s double-round against Efes Istanbul and Real Madrid. As expected Mike James is the statistical leader of this team and the American is currently fourth in the league in scoring with an average of 17.2 points per game.
If we look at team stats, Baskonia is the more uptempo team of the two. The team from Vitoria scores more (82.2 points per game vs. 78.4 for Monaco) but also receives more points than Sasa Obradovic’s team (82.7 points received vs. 77.7).
Image credit: EuroLeague