EA7 Milano bested Maccabi Electra 89-82
EA7 Emporio Armani opened the 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague in style by downing difficult Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 89-82 in Milano, Italy in Group C on Thursday night. Milano survived a strong test and will battle for first place in Group C against Real Madrid next week. Malik Hairston paced the winners with 25 points. Danilo Gallinari added 23, Ioannis Bourousis had 13 and 10 rebounds while Mason Rocca got 10 points for Milano. Lior Eliyahu led Maccabi with 23 points. David Blu added 15 while Theo Papaloukas had 13 for the guests. Bourousis shined early to give Milano a 14-7 lead but a 0-14 run that Tal Burstein capped with a driving layup allowed Maccabi to get a 14-21 margin early in the second quarter. Hairston and Gallinari took over to make Milano regain the lead, 41-38, at halftime. Aggressive defense and an outstanding Hairston helped Milano to boost its margin to 65-52 after 30 minutes. Back-to-back triples by Blu brought Maccabi within 71-67 but Gallinari and Omar Cook allowed Milano to get a very important first win in this group.
Just as expected, Maccabi tried to run its offense through Sofoklis Schortsanitis in the opening minutes. He split free throws and had a big block on Gallinari but back-to-back baskets by Bourousis gave Milano a 4-1 lead. Eliyahu hit a close shot and Shawn James dunked it but Bourousis followed a layup with a three-pointer for a 9-5 score. Antonis Fotsis found his first points under the basket, as Maccabi tried to improve its ball circulation by bringing Papaloukas on court. Schortsanitis hit free throws but Milano kept finding ways to beat the guests' matchup zone defense. Gallinari split free throws and an easy basket by Leon Radosevic made it a seven-point game, 14-7. Schortsanitis stayed on fire with a huge dunk in traffic and Guy Pnini added a driving layup to bring Maccabi within 14-11. Blu buried his trademark catch-and-shoot triple while Papaloukas followed a layup-plus-foul with free throws to give Maccabi a 14-19 margin after 10 minutes.
Burstein capped a 0-14 Maccabi run with a layup in transition early in the second quarter. Rocca scored in the other end and fed Hairston for a three-point play, enough to keep Milano within 19-21. Rocca kept pacing the hosts with a backdoor layup that Richard Hendrix erased with a mid-range jumper. Blu hit a jump hook but Jacopo Giachetti beat the shot clock buzzer with a three-pointer that sent the crowd to their feet, 24-25. Jordan Farmar scored in penetration but free throws by Gallinari and back-to-back triples by Hairston made Milano regain the lead, 32-29. Eliyahu and Hairston exchanged foul shots and a long jumper by Devin Smith kept Maccabi within 33-32. Farmar shined with a wild alleyoop layup and Eliyahu added a big basket in the low post that Gallinari improved with a three-pointer that tied the game, 36-36. Burstein scored in penetration but free throws by Gallinari and a jumper by Hairston gave Milano a 41-38 halftime edge.
Schortsanitis and Bourousis traded baskets right after the break, as Maccabi tried to spread the floor for Big Sofo with Blu at power forward. Schortasinitis scored again but a driving layup by Gallinari kept Milano ahead, 45-42. Blu nailed a jumper but Bourousis scored in penetration, as both teams kept trading baskets at full speed. Hairston set the crowd on fire with an off-balance three-point play, good for a 50-44 Milano lead. Hendrix stepped up with a jumper but free throws by an unstoppable Hairston restored a 52-46 edge. Drew Nicholas struck from downtown and free throws by Gallinari made it a double-digit game, 57-46. Eliyahu sank a jump hook and matched Rocca's backdoor layup with an easy basket. The guests could not get Schorsanitis involved and that allowed Milano to keep playing up-tempo. Gallinari hit foul shots and a jumper by Hairston broke the game open, 63-50. Eliyahu scored again but Maccabi kept shots and Hairston gave the hosts a 65-52 edge after 30 minutes.
Maccabi needed a quick comeback to keep its chances alive and Eliyahu tried to ignite it with a jump hook. Meanwhile, Milano kept running its offense through an inspired Hairston, who hit a close jumper for a 67-54 score. Hendrix and Gallinari exchanged jumpers but back-to-back triples by Blu gave Maccabi some hope at 69-62. Fotsis rescued Milano with a jumper off a timeout but Papaloukas improved that with a three-point play. Maccabi improved its defense right when it mattered and Eliyahu scored down low for a 71-67 deficit. Gallinari rescued Milano with a corner three-pointer and Cook scored off a steal to make Maccabi call timeout at 76-67. Farmar scored in penetration but Cook answered with a long jumper. The hosts started to use long possessions to run the game clock down but Maccabi kept trying. Blu shined with a driving layup and a free throw by Papaloukas made it 79-74 with 1:51 left. Cook sank foul shots, a big block by Hairston and a reverse layup by Rocca allowed Milano to celebrate a big win in front of their fans.
Thursday, October 20, 2011