Milan's defense stifles Bayern
AX Armani Exchange Milan led from tipoff to buzzer in a 75-51 rout of visiting FC Bayern Munich on Thursday night at Mediolanum Forum. In so doing, Milan extended its win streak to four games and improved to a 13-7 record, good for fourth place. Bayern dropped to 12-9 but held on to sixth place for the night. Milan opened the game with a 16-2 run and never looked back. Behind their relentless defensive effort, the hosts held a 22-point lead at halftime that ballooned to as many as 29 points in the third quarter. Sergio Rodriguez paced Milan with 14 points and Kevin Punter netted 12. Riccardo Moraschini had 11 while Zach LeDay collected 10 points plus 8 rebounds in victory. Jalen Reynolds was the only Bayern scorer in double figures, with 12 points.
LeDay and Malcolm Delaney combined to score the first 6 points of the game. Nick Weiler-Babb hit a mid-range jumper that proved to be Bayern's only points in nearly 7 minutes against Milan's mix of man-to-man and zone defense. Meanwhile, Moraschini hit a corner triple and Punter converted a three-point play among 7 points to make it 16-2. Paul Zipser's triple snapped Milan's 10-0 run and Weiler-Babb followed a three-point play, but Milan had Bayern doubled-up at 20-10 after 10 minutes. Bayern kept struggling in the second quarter, needing more than 7 minutes to score its first field goal. Luigi Datome, Rodriguez and Kyle Hines each scored before Punter's nexT three-point play meant a 31-13 lead. Leon Radosevic scored a put-back for Bayern but LeDay and Rodriguez lifted the lead to 36-16. Wade Baldwin IV's triple didn't prevent Hines inside and Rodriguez from the outside making it 42-20 at halftime.
Hines combined with Moraschini to lengthen the lead to 47-20 right after the break. Reynolds hit a pair of jumpers and James Gist battled inside to give Bayern's offense a little spark, but Milan did not let the control slip away. Delaney drove for a three-point play, and after Baldwin and LeDay traded jumpers, Rodriguez scored 7 points, including a three-pointer, for a massive 63-34 gap late in the third. Bayern scored the first 8 points of the fourth behind Reynolds and Diego Flaccadori. But Delaney hit a triple and with baskets coming few and far between after that, Milan cruised the rest of the way.
The previous three games in Milan between these two teams were decided by a combined total of 5 points. The biggest win by any team in the series had been 14 points before this game.
Bayern couldn't buy a bucket in the first half, when Milan's defense held the visitors to 4-for-17 two-point and 2-for-9 three-point shooting. Bayern had just 1 assist to 13 turnovers and managed just 20 points in the first 20 minutes.
Milan swept the regular season series with Bayern, having won their Round 1 game in overtime 79-81, too. With both teams sitting on 12 wins before this game, this victory counts double for Milan against a fellow playoff contender.
Never before had Bayern scored fewer than 55 points in a EuroLeague game, made fewer than 3 three-pointers, or had a team PIR lower than 38. In this one, Milan held Bayern to club-record lows in all of those categorieS: 51 points, 2 three-pointers made, and a PIR of 32.
Both teams will be on a double-duty next week, and it will start on Tuesday of Round 22 when Bayern visits Khimki Moscow Region while Milan welcomes Olympiacos Piraeus.
Thursday, January 21, 2021