Credit: AS Monaco-Direction de la Communication
Credit AS Monaco-Direction de la Communication

AS Monaco face the biggest challenge in the club's short history when they lock horns with hosts Olympiacos Piraeus on Wednesday night. It will be the fifth and last chapter of an extraordinary playoff series that is widely considered an instant classic. 

Will Thomas

Will  Thomas
Will  Thomas
MIN: 27.14
PTS: 7.5 (62.5%)
REB: 4.06
As: 1.12
ST: 0.56
BL: 0.09
TO: 0.44
GM: 34

The Roca Team landed in Athens on Tuesday at around 19:40 local time, after a two-hour charter flight from Nice airport. Prior to departure, coach Sasa Obradovic conducted a training session in the Gaston Medecin. Then, the team had lunch and took the bus to the airport.

Game 5 will feature the series' fourth overall sold-out after Games 1, 3, and 4. More than 11.500 highly energetic and rowdy home fans are expected to pack the Peace and Friendship Stadium on Wednesday night.

Monaco and Olympiacos had never met before the start of the current season. In their six clashes so far, they are tied at three wins apiece (1-1 in the regular season, 2-2 in the playoffs).

All their meetings gave rise to very different scenarios. In the regular season and in the first two contests of the series held in Piraeus, the average winner's margin was 20.5 points. 

It makes sense that Sasa Obradovic doesn't know what kind of game to expect. 

"A good practice doesn't necessarily guarantee you a good match, and vice versa," the Serbian tactician said.

Since Game 4 took place last Friday, Obradovic thinks energy doesn't seem to be a problem.

"The key is to stay focused and not be distracted by what will happen during the clash. We have to build our game possession by possession. Our Game 1 in Piraeus was not good."

Credit AS Monaco/Direction de la Communication

Obradovic broke down what he really means by 'distractions'.

"It is not necessary to challenge a call made by the refs or react to an opponent who will provoke you," he said.

"We have the experience of playing in that environment, we should be more ready to face it."

Will Thomas

Will  Thomas
Team: Monaco Basket
Position: PF
Age: 35
Height: 203 cm
Weight: 104 kg
Birth place: Maryland, United States of America

Moustapha Fall has been an important factor in the series so far. Obradovic acknowledges that stopping him is important because a lot depends on him.

However, according to Monaco coach, "Kostas Sloukas made the difference despite the big pressure we put on him."

In fact, in Game 4, the Greek guard was the man to miss a shot that could have sent Olympiacos to the Final Four. 

With FC Barcelona making it 14/14 for home teams in Game 5, Monaco are aspiring to break the tradition that puts the away squads in a dire disadvantage.

"Stats are made to change," Obradovic thinks, "Although Olympiacos are still the favorites in their home court. So far, they have only lost to Red Star and us."

The Serb maintains that his team took the lessons from the first two games, improving on the communication between players and overcoming any tough moments that may occur on the court.

"Being in the playoffs is already a historical feat; it would be an incredible achievement to reach the Final Four. We want it very much, but we shouldn't be too disappointed if it doesn't happen," Obradovic pointed out. 

Will Thomas, who had a terrific Game 4 with 16 points on 7/8 from the field plus 4 rebounds, thinks that energy the intensity will be the keys.

Echoing his coach's words, the experienced power forward holds that Monaco "going to the Final Four would be an extraordinary achievement for everyone - players, club, fans. I can assure you that we will do everything to get there. Playing a Game 5 doesn't often happen in your career."

Thomas expects Olympiacos' fans to push very hard but adds that Monaco have already proved that we are capable of winning on this court.

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Olympiacos Piraeus
AS Monaco
3 Position
Field goals
2 Position
9 Position
7 Position
5 Position
14 Position
9 Position
4 Position

Teams leaders

Aleksandr  Vezenkov
13,9 PTS
67% 2P%
38% 3P%
Mike  James
16,2 PTS
49% 2P%
32% 3P%
Aleksandr  Vezenkov
5,7 REB
4,2 DREB
1,5 OREB
Donta  Hall
5,2 REB
3,4 DREB
1,9 OREB
Konstantinos  Sloukas
4,9 As
2,2 TO
25 MIN
Mike  James
5,6 As
2,5 TO
31 MIN