“It’s us against the world” Jordan Loyd & Monaco look forward to facing Maccabi in Tel Aviv

May 1, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Jordan Loyd has made quite the career for himself over the years. Whether it has been in Europe where he had been a lethal scorer, top level defender and all around super player, or in the NBA when he was a part of the 2019 Toronto Raptors championship team, the guard has proven time and time again why he is highly regarded among basketball aficionados. Plus you’ll probably never meet a better person and an all-around terrific guy.

But how many people are actually aware that Loyd began his European travels back in 2017/18 when he featured for Hapoel Eilat and head coach Sharon Drucker. Loyd began honing his post college skills down by the Red Sea.

While he was playing in Israel, Loyd left a massive impression on all those who knew him, whether it was his teammates, coaching staff, neighbors and media members as every single person wanted for Loyd to be the best of the best, because he deserved it. He deserved it, because he earned it.

He earned the right to play with Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors as he played a major role in their first title despite his name not being on the scoresheet. During the practice sessions in the finals, Loyd played the part of Golden State Warriors superstar, Stephen Curry. He mimicked his moves, he mimicked his grooves and he had to do what Steph does in order to prepare his team as best as possible for a chance to win the championship.

After having spent a season in the NBA on a two-way contract and with a shiny, diamond championship ring to show for it, Loyd decided to take his talents to the Euroleague and signed with Valencia.

From Spain, it was off to Serbia and Red Star Belgrade and from there it was a season in Russia at Zenit Saint Petersburg before landing in Monaco where he would get a chance to play alongside the likes of Mike James, Elie Okobo and Donatas Motiejunas.

While he has yet to stay in one place for more than one season, it certainly looks as if he has made Monaco his home away from home and who wouldn’t like living in one of the most exotic places in the world.

Loyd was expected to be one of the most critical players in this series but after a dismal 3-point showing in Maccabi Tel Aviv’s game one 79-67 win, it looked as if Loyd was MIA.

However, that was not the case.

With poor performances across the board for Monaco’s guards in the opener, they all came back with a vengeance in game two to take a 86-74 victory. But it was Loyd who took his game one issues personally as he filled the basket one possession after the next.

Just ahead of game three, The Sports Rabbi spoke to Loyd about his thoughts on what the keys will be heading to Israel, why things turned around in game two, his personal return to the Holy Land and some of the reasons why he feels that Monaco was a no-show in the first game.

Jordan Loyd – Photo Credit: ©️Direction de la Communication / Stephane Danna

“We knew game one wasn’t a reflection of how we play as a team,” Loyd began. “But first I want to say that our captain came out, Yakuba [Ouattara], gave us a great spark and we followed his lead. We’re confident in ourselves, we didn’t show that I’m the first game, so we just wanted to come out in the second contest and be aggressive earlier on and just lead from that.”

“The ball goes in, it’s all good, when it doesn’t, it’s terrible. That’s basketball, right? Honestly, it’s just character. We’ve been playing pretty good basketball all year, that’s why we have the fourth seed and home court advantage and playoffs. So we just have to remember that and stay true to ourselves. As a team, we had more poise and more confidence, now we have to do it again in Tel Aviv.”

Just prior to the opening game of the series, on Saturday, Monaco defeated their arch rivals ASVEL in the French Cup championship game which zapped some of the energy from Sasa Obradovic’s team. But Loyd was crystal clear that this was not going to be an excuse for coming out flat in game one and it wasn’t because they had a bit more rest that they played a better game in the second tilt, he explained.

“Not necessarily, as far as rest. It’s been a hell of a 10-15 days leading up to the playoffs, but like I told the other guys, no excuses. Once you get on the court, no one wants to hear about anything else. You’ve got to perform, that’s what we’re paid to do. I think it was good to see how they played game one. We will watched film and then kind of went from there tactically, that helped a lot, to see what we needed to do. The biggest thing was just to take open shots and try to move their defense side to side and be confident.”

Jordan Loyd – Photo Credit: ©️Direction de la Communication / Stephane Danna

Game two saw plenty of aggressive hoops from both sides in what was an all out battle for the entire 40 minutes. The intensity and desire did lead to a number of Maccabi players being tossed from the game as emotions and perhaps a bit of frustration began to boil over

“You see in game two, we had a couple of ejections and technicals,” Loyd noted. “I think for me, the team that can keep it together throughout a long series has a great chance of winning. We know emotions are going to be high there, we know it’s just us against the world, basically, over there. We have guys that have great poise and are mature and I think we can handle that.”

Over there, as in Maccabi Tel Aviv’s home arena Yad Eliyahu will be hopping as there will be 11,000 yellow-and-blue fans who will be there to cheer their team on at the top of their lungs making sure that their home court advantage will be just that after having a 15-2 record in the regular season.

“They have the best home record, but we’re confident,” Loyd explained. “We played there this year, we were up 19 or 20 points or so and kind of shot ourselves in the foot. We know that we can get a lead there, we just have to sustain it and we have to have the right mental capacity to keep our emotions in check and stay true to the game, because we know it’s going to be pretty hectic. But we’re confident, we know that we can win there.”

Jordan Loyd – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Obviously, Loyd wants to see his club’s game two momentum carryover to Tel Aviv, but he’s also very well aware that this will be easier said than done, ”We know this is just one game. This is what we’re supposed to do. There was a lot of disrespect in that first game and we didn’t play the way we should. This is just one game, it’s a long series. It’s basketball. The ball didn’t go in for us in the first game, in game two it did. But like I keep saying, it’s just one game. We’re not satisfied, that’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re ready to go to Tel Aviv and do the same thing.”

Loyd is certainly familiar with Israel and what he along with his teammates will be expecting when they step on the Yad Eliyahu floor, “It’s funny, because I love playing in Israel. I love going to Maccabi’s gym and playing ever since I was in Eilat. I used to love going there and playing there. I’m sure they won’t be too fond of us now when we get there, but for me it’s exciting. I love it, I love being on the road, road warrior is kind of my thing, so you just have to embrace it. Everything comes with ups and downs and I just kind of want to ride the wave.”

Sign up for our newsletter


You may also like…


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!