Milan blasts Panathinaikos to keep rolling
AX Armani Exchange Milan continued its resurgence by crushing Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 75-54 on Tuesday. The first half was closely contested with Panathinaikos leading for long stretches of play, but Milan surged clear with a 16-0 run bridging the second and third quarters and never looked back from that moment. Devon Hall led the scoring with 19 points, while Kyle Hines added 14 points and Sergio Rodriguez controlled the rhythm with 6 points and 9 assists. Daryl Macon was the only visiting player with more than 7 points, scoring 14. Milan, which had previously lost four consecutive games, has now won two straight and improves to 10-5. Panathinaikos remains winless on the road at 4-11.
Macon scored a pair of early jumpers and a coast to coast layup for Panathinaikos, but Milan had 5 points from Troy Daniels to stay in touch. Okaro White hit from deep for the visitors as the fast scoring start continued, and Hines and Malcolm Delaney scored inside before Macon struck a corner three to make it 13-13 midway through the first. Both defenses then tightened up but Leonidas Kaselakis and Eleftherios Bochiridis hit from deep, making it 15-19 after ten minutes. Hall and Nicolo Melli tied it up early in the second quarter, and a triple from Rodriguez made it 24-21. Ioannis Papapetrou and Jeremy Evans got Panathinaikos back to 29-29, before free throws sent Milan ahead, 33-29, at half-time.
Hines scored the first 5 points of the second half with a dunk and a three-point play. Two scores from Delaney and a triple from Hall made it 45-29, as Panathinaikos failed to score for the first five minutes of the third quarter before Macon hit free throws. Kendrick Perry and Evans then made triples as the visitors bounced back with a 0-8 run, 45-37. Rodriguez responded with a triple and Hines added 5 more points for a Milan 8-0 run, and Rodriguez delivered magical assists for Melli and Hall to make it 57-42 through three quarters. Perry opened the fourth quarter scoring, Papapetrou struck from deep and White scored inside as Panathinaikos came back to 59-49. But Hall sank 7 straight points to quash the comeback, 66-49 midway through the fourth. Papagiannis Georgios scored inside but Hall hit another threeball, and Shavon Shields added another for a 72-54 lead to ensure the game was over.
Milestone nights for veteran duo
Although his 9 assists – many of them highlight-reel worthy – caught the eye, Milan backcourt ace Sergio Rodriguez made another mark as he climbed into second place all-time in the competition’s three-point shooting chart with a strike from beyond the arc early in the second quarter. The two-time champion and former EuroLeague MVP now has 520 three-pointers in his career, climbing above Vassilis Spanoulis (518). And his teammate Kyle Hines similarly moved into second place in two-point shooting by making 6 of his 7 attempts from inside the arc. The four-time champion now has 1,142 two-pointers, overtaking Ante Tomic (1,137) for second place.
Milan’s D clamps down
After allowing 19 points in the first quarter, Milan’s defense did a great job of clamping down on Panathinaikos the rest of the way as the Greens scored just 35 points in the final three quarters. The home team’s hustle was a key factor, with Panathinaikos forced into committing 16 turnovers with just 12 assists. Nicolo Melli was the most active presence, making 3 of Milan’s 9 steals. In contrast, Milan kept good control of the basketball by only committing 6 turnovers along with 15 assists.
Papagiannis stays strong on the boards
Panathinaikos big man Georgios Papagiannis came into the game needing 1 assist to reach 50 in his EuroLeague career, and 2 rebounds to record the personal milestone of 500 in the competition. He achieved both, registering a game-high 7 boards along with 1 assist. He leads the league in rebounding this season, averaging 7.1 per game. It was the 106th appearance in the EuroLeague for Papagiannis, who made his debut in 2016 at the age of 18 and has missed just three games for Panathinaikos in the last three seasons.
Tuesday, December 14, 2021