Milan bounces back to beat Maccabi
AX Armani Exchange Milan got back to its winning ways by rolling past Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv 87-68 at home on a historic night for Sergio Rodriguez. Kevin Punter scored 15 points to pace five Milan players in double figures as Kyle Hines scored 14 points, Shavon Shields had 11 and Sergio Rodriguez and Luigi Datome both added 10 points with Rodriguez also joining the EuroLeague’s 3,000-point scoring club. Milan bounced back from a Round 24 loss and now has seven victories in its last eight contests. Its 16-8 record is second in the league. Othello Hunter led Maccabi with 16 points and 9 rebounds while Tyler Dorsey chipped in 11 points and Chris Jones scored 10 points. Maccabi’s main weapon Scottie Wilbekin was held scoreless in the game. Maccabi, which had not played since January 26, dropped to 10-13, including 4-8 on the road.
Hunter got the start and started the scoring with a jumper for the guests. Shields scored the first 4 points for Milan, which impressed early defensively, holding Maccabi to just one further basket in the next 5 minutes to lead 10-4. A Vladimir Micov triple and Hines lay-up pushed Milan’s advantage to 15-5. Michael Roll added a three-pointer and Punter’s 3 foul shots increased the margin to 21-9 before Ante Zizic’s three-point play made it 21-12 after 10 minutes. Kaleb Tarczewski opened the second quarter with a three-point play and added an alley-oop dunk as the lead swelled to 26-12. Dragan Bender finally scored after nearly 2 minutes for Maccabi, which started to produce more effectively and trimmed it to 30-20. After after a timeout, Malcolm Delaney drained a three-pointer and Micov made it 35-20. Elijah Bryant answered from long range and Maccabi stayed close the rest of the way, trailing 39-27 at the break.
Jones started the second-half scoring and then knocked down the first of back-to-back three-pointers with Bryant to trim the deficit to 41-35 in the first 3 minutes. Milan called a timeout and punched back with 3 triples within 65 seconds - 2 by Datome - and the cushion was 52-35. Jones managed another three-pointer as Maccabi fought to stay within striking distance at 56-45. But Micov had 4 points and Milan was up 65-48 after 30 minutes. Dorsey scored first in the final frame, but Roll answered with a three-pointer. A Hines alley-oop made it 72-55 before Milan was held scoreless for more than 3 minutes and Maccabi scored 6 straight points to pull within 72-61. Hines continued his strong game with two free throws and a Datome layup made it 76-61. Punter added a three-point play and Rodriguez drained a three-pointer with 94 seconds to play for an 82-66 advantage - and his 3,000th point in the EuroLeague.
Rodriguez joins 3,000 point club
Sergio Rodriguez’s late three-pointer pushed him into the exclusive 3,000-point club in EuroLeague history. The 34-year-old Spaniard now has 3,002 points and counting in 282 games for an average of 10.6 points. He joins the all-time list with Vassilis Spanoulis, Juan Carlos Navarro, Georgios Printezis, Nando de Colo, Sergio Llull, Paulius Jankunas and Felipe Reyes.
Rare night for Wilbekin
Scottie Wilbekin, who was nursing a thumb injury, could never get his scoring going for Maccabi and the guard ended up scoreless on 6 shots, though he did dish out 5 assists. Coming into the game averaging 16.3 points, it was just the third time in Wilbekin’s 129-game career that he failed to score in a EuroLeague game. And by missing all three of his three-pointers, his in-season streak of consecutive games with at least one triple ended at 22 - just three shy of the record. Milan’s Malcolm Delaney meanwhile extended his in-season streak to 19 with his three-pointer.
Milan failed to grab a single offensive rebound but it didn’t matter as the hosts shot 75.0% on two-pointers while also hitting 41.7% on three-pointers. Maccabi was held to 48.8% and 28.0% shooting, respectively.
Milan will head back on the road for its next game as it plays at Zenit St Petersburg on Monday, February 22. Maccabi will next play its third straight road game as it heads to Germany to face FC Bayern Munich on Thursday, February 25.
Thursday, February 18, 2021