Many signs pointed to a possible struggle for AX Armani Exchange Milan in its Round 8 makeup game at Khimki Moscow Region. The hosts were finally getting back to full health, while Milan, one of the poorest Turkish Airlines EuroLeague teams in assists, was without its main playmaker, injured former MVP Sergio Rodriguez.
Then Ettore Messina's men went out and dished a season-high 28 assists in an impressive road win.
Milan ranked third-worst in the league in assists coming into the game with just 14.3 per game, with 4.7 of those coming from Rodriguez. That didn't end up mattering much as Milan shot 58.7% on two-pointers and a white-hot 68.4% on three-pointers in a 93-102 victory in Russia. The 102 points scored are the most ever for Milan in a EuroLeague road game without overtime.
"We played together as a team tonight. We knew that they were going to make runs because they're at home. But we came together and got stops at the right time and shared the ball," said Zach LeDay, who had 18 points and 2 assists.
LeDay was one of seven Milan players with multiple assists. Malcolm Delaney collected 7 while both Vladimir Micov and Kyle Hines had 5 each. The win was Milan's fourth in the last five games to move to a 7-4 record.
The 28 assists blew away Milan's previous best mark this season, which had been 18 assists in the team's Round 6 win over ALBA Berlin.
Milan coach Messina called the 28 assists the most important statistic in the game and added: "I think we kept playing good offense through the whole game."
Milan showed that it can play well on offense without Rodriguez and now it's up to the team to make sure that the roll continues when the playmaking ace is back.