Hanga, Heurtel pace Barca to victory in Milan
FC Barcelona Lassa grabbed its fourth consecutive EuroLeague win by topping AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 85-90 in Mediolanum Forum on Wednesday night. Barcelona improved to 10-7 and sixth in the standings, while Milan dropped to 8-9 and is seventh. Thomas Heurtel led the winners with 21 points and 6 assists, Kevin Seraphin added 16, Adam Hanga 15 and Pau Ribas had 11 for Barcelona. Vladimir Micov and Mike James led Milan with 20 points apiece. James also tallied 7 rebounds and 8 assists. Arturas Gudaitis scored 16 and Jeff Brooks 11 for the hosts. Milan led 37-36 at halftime, but a great third quarter gave Barcelona the lead for good, 57-65. Milan kept fighting, but Hanga and Heurtel made the difference down the stretch.
James fed Gudaitis for a dunk and struck from downtown for an early 5-2 Milan lead. Ribas and Brooks traded triples, Ante Tomic dunked and back-to-back layups by Hanga gave Barcelona its first lead, 8-11. Heurtel capped an 0-8 run with a driving layup. Gudaitis rescued Milan with a jumper. James had 4 points in a 6-0 run, but Seraphin answered with a couple of close baskets for a 16-17 Barcelona lead after 10 minutes. Curtis Jerrells took over with a driving layup early in the second quarter and James downed a jumper, but Kyle Kuric did better with a bomb from downtown and Seraphin dunked twice to keep Barcelona in charge, 22-24. Seraphin scored again and Kuric added a rare follow-up jumper, but Gudaitis and James kept Milan within 27-28. Gudaitis stepped up for Milan and a close basket by Brooks gave the hosts a 34-31 edge. Victor Claver shined with a three-point play and Tomic added a jump hook, but a three-pointer by Jerrells fixed the halftime score at 37-36. Micov scored right after the break, but Heurtel followed a jumper with a three-pointer for a 39-41 Barcelona lead. Ribas swished a triple and Heurtel added a driving layup to cap a 0-10 Barcelona run. James answered from downtown and Gudaitis dunked again, but Heurtel and Ribas kept the guests ahead, 45-51. Chris Singleton buried a triple and collected a steal which allowed Seraphin to give Barcelona a 50-58 edge. Brooks buried one from beyond the arc and James added a floater, but Hanga and Pierre Oriola helped Barcelona keep a 57-65 lead after 30 minutes. Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored twice in the paint and Micov added a three-pointer to get Milan within 64-67 early in the fourth quarter. Tomic hit a jump hook and Hanga followed a dunk with a reverse layup that caused Milan to stop the game at 64-73 with 6 minutes left. Three-pointers by Hanga and Heurtel sealed the outcome, 68-80, as Milan did not fully recover in the final 3 minutes.
Adam Hanga is finally injury-free and showing he can be among the most active small forwards at both ends of the court. He was pure adrenaline for Barcelona, finishing the game with 15 points on near-perfect shooting – 5 of 5 on two-pointers, 1 of 2 from downtown and 2 of 2 free throws. He added 5 rebounds and 3 steals for a performance index rating of 20.
Milan got within 64-67 early in the fourth quarter, but Ante Tomic stepped up with a jump hook and an unstoppable Hanga dunked off a steal and added an acrobatic reverse layup in transition to make it a 9-point game and giving Barcelona full control.
Barcelona committed only 8 turnovers, its second-fewest this season, and collected 6 steals. On the other hand, Milan only had 2 steals, a new season-low, and made 12 turnovers.
Did you notice?
Tomic fouled out for the third time this season. In 10 years in the EuroLeague, Tomic has only fouled out three times in each of the last two years. He previously fouled out in Barcelona's road games against Zalgiris and Panathinaikos. Last season, Tomic fouled out in three road games, too - Panathinaikos, Valencia and Zalgiris.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action on Friday. Milan visits FC Bayern Munich before Barcelona hosts Panathinaikos in a rematch of the 1996 EuroLeague championship game.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019