Milan rallies to hand Barcelona its first loss
AX Armani Exchange Milan took down the final undefeated team in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, beating FC Barcelona 83-70 at home to grab a share of first place. By handing Barcelona its first loss, Milan has now won five straight games and both teams are even at 5-1 along with CSKA Moscow. Sergio Rodriguez scored 17 points off the bench for Milan, including 9 in the final 2 minutes, 15 seconds. Vladimir Micov tallied 16 points with 8 rebounds and Luis Scola chipped in 14 points and 9 rebounds. Barcelona got 15 points from Brandon Davies while Nikola Mirotic had 13 points.
Brandon Davies picked up 3 points as Barcelona opened the game with a 0-7 advantage. Milan committed 4 turnovers and missed 5 shots before Arturas Gudaitis finally scored to make it 2-7 at the 5:30 minute mark. Milan was able to score more consistently, including a Michael Roll three-pointer, but Davies had 11 points for a 9-17 Barcelona lead. Vladimir Micov got the hosts within 15-17 with 4 points and an assist to Kaleb Tarczewski. But Alex Abrines nailed a corner three at the buzzer and Barcelona led 15-20 after 10 minutes. Malcolm Delaney's free throws opened the gap to 15-24 and, save for a basket by Micov, the Milan offense stalled for 4 minutes to start the second quarter. Nemanja Nedovic stop the bleeding from downtown and Milan got within 22-26 as Barcelona hit just one basket in more than 4 minutes. All of a sudden, the game was knotted 28-28 after back-to-back three-balls from Nedovic and Sergio Rodriguez. The Barcelona offense began to wake up and Nikola Mirotic scored his first 5 points for a 30-37 cushion at the break.
The three-pointers started to fly in the third quarter, Nedovic, Rodriguez and Scola all hitting from long range to pull the hosts within 41-42. Scola added another trey as Milan took its first lead 46-44. After a timeout, Barcelona punched right back with Cory Higgins getting a four-point play and Delaney nailing a triple to put the guests back up 46-51. Kyle Kuric chipped in 5 straight points as Barcelona surged ahead 52-58 after 30 minutes. Scola opened the fourth quarter with a free throw, a put-back and a steal that turned into a three-point play to even the score at 58-58. Adam Hanga finally got Barcelona on the board with a layup after 4 scoreless minutes. The home team continued to roll and Amedeo Della Valle nailed 2 three-pointers and free throws to send Milan ahead 66-61 with just more than 3 minutes left. Mirotic responded with a triple but Rodriguez was not impressed and nailed a trey of his own to make it 69-64. Ante Tomic missed 2 free throws for the visitors before Micov scored at 71-64. Milan finished off Barcelona with a flurry of three-pointers from Rodriguez and Jeff Brooks down the stretch.
Milan got some great shooting from its bench as the reserves nailed 10-of-17 three-pointers, paced by Sergio Rodriguez's 5-of-9 from long range.
Sergio Rodriguez was crucial for Milan with a game-high 17 points thanks to 5 three-pointers but he also had 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal and just 1 turnover in 29 minutes of action.
Milan nailed 14-of-28 three-pointers for 50.0% while holding Barcelona to a season-low 70 points as the visitors shot just 33.3% from long distance, 43.6% on two-pointers and 68.2% on free throws.
Milan will look to make it six in a row next week at home as it welcomes KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz on November 7. Barcelona hopes to get back to its winning ways at Zalgiris Kaunas on November 8.
Friday, November 1, 2019