Kleiza fires EA7 Milan to road win in Poland
Linas Kleiza hit club record 8 three-pointers and had a career-high 29 points, leading EA7 Emporio Armani Milan to a 96-101 road win at PGE Turow Zgorzelec on Thursday. Milan finished its regular season with a 5-5 record and in the fourth place oinf Group C, while Turow ends its Turkish Airlines Euroleague debut with 1-9 record and in last place, but it will continue its season in the Eurocup Last 32. The teams combined for 27 three-pointers, with Milan hitting 14 of 25 and Kleiza missing his first four three-point shots before making 8 in a row – 2 in the second and 6 in the third quarter. Milan built a 42-55 margin in the third, but Turow - which made 13 of 32 shots behind the arc – rallied with Damian Kulig leading the way. Turow briefly took the lead at 60-59, but the unstoppable Kleiza made sure Milan recovered the lead for good before MarShon Brooks and Alessandro Gentile made plays down the stretch to hold off the hosts. Brooks finished with 14 points, and Gentile with 11 to help EA7 Milan to victory. David Moss chipped in with 9, and Joe Ragland contributed with 8 points and 7 assists. Kulig led the hosts with 23 points plus 8 rebounds, Mardy Collins posted 14 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, while Chris Wright had 13 points. Nemanja Jaramaz and Filip Dylewicz netted 12 apiece, and Vlad Moldoveanu had 11 in defeat.
First quarter: Milan jumps in front as Kulig carries Turow
In his first game back after injury, Milan big man Angelo Gigli opened the scoring with a basket-plus-free throw, and followed it with another close-range basket. A jumper from Dylewicz opened Turow's account, before Collins drove for a layup and assisted for a dunk from Kulig to make it 6-5. Joe Ragland drew a foul on a three-point shot and sank 3 free throws. And Brooks made a runner for Milan for a 6-10 advantage. Kulig scored inside, before Dylewicz and Moss traded shots from the outside for an 11-15 lead. Kulig scored from close range again, but Gentile sank a long jumper and Shawn James used a spin move on the baseline to make it 14-19. Kulig hit a three for the hosts, but Gentile banked in a runner, helping EA7 Milan to a 17-22 lead after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Turow catches up, but Kleiza leads Milan charge
Wright made a layup to get the scoring going and after Bruno Cerella hit a jumper, Moldoveanu hit from downtown to make it 22-25. Gentile scored from close range, but Jaramaz scored 5 points, including a layup-plus-foul to tie it at 27-27. Wright blocked a couple of shots on defense, and drove for a layup on offense to put Turow in front, before Daniel Hackett and Moldoveanu traded three-pointers to make it 32-30. After a timeout, Moss knocked down a corner three-pointer. Wright elevated for a monster slam, but Kleiza scored a basket-plus-foul and followed it with a three-pointer. Brooks added a triple of his own on the next trip down the floor for a 37-42 advantage. In the final minute of the half, Milan extended it some more with a layup from Melli and another three-pointer from Kleiza for a 39-47 lead at halftime.
Third quarter: Turow rallies, but Kleiza drains threes
The second half started with a fastbreak layup from Dylewicz, but Kleiza answered with back-to-back three-pointers to make it 42-53. An alley-oop layup from James extended the difference to 13 points, but Kulig and Collins buried corner three-pointers, and a tip-in by Collins cut it to 50-56. After a timeout, Dylewicz nailed a triple to get Turow within 3. Kleiza answered with his fifth three-pointer for Milan, but Turow went on a run to re-take the lead. Kulig was the force inside, Collins went coast-to-coast for a layup-plus-foul, and Dylewicz made a steal and raced for a fastbreak dunk and a 60-59 lead. Milan quickly went back in front with three consecutive triples – two from Kleiza and one from Ragland in between for a 63-69 advantage. Michal Chylinski banked in a triple for the hosts, but Kleiza was on fire, hitting his eighth three-pointer for a 66-72 lead after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Brooks and Gentile hold off Turow
Melli scored a pair of buckets from close range to extend Milan’s lead, but a triple from Jaramaz made it 70-76. After Brooks drove for a layup, Moldoveanu and Cerella traded threes. Wright made an alley-oop dunk, and followed it with a corner three to make it 78-81. But Milan got some breathing room with free throws from Hackett. Brooks made a great move to draw a basket-plus-free throw for a 78-86 lead with less than six minutes to go. Melli and Kulig traded easy layups, before Kulig hit a triple to get within 85-88. Brooks and Wright traded driving layups, but Turow got within 90-91 when Jaramaz knocked down another from downtown. Kleiza kept Milan in front by driving for a layup, before Moloveanu and Brooks each made a pair from the charity stripe, 92-95 with 68 seconds to go. Tony Taylor scored a layup in a crowd, but Gentile drove to the basket with ease. Brooks grabbed a key defensive rebound, leading to Gentile and Moss each sinking a pair of free throws to seal the deal.
Thursday, December 18, 2014