Milan turns offense on, holds off ALBA
AX Armani Exchange Milan extended its winning streak to four games after holding on to a 78-81 road win over ALBA Berlin on Tuesday night. Milan improved to 4-1 on the season, while ALBA lost its fourth straight game in dropping to 1-4. ALBA led for the majority of the first three quarters before Milan hit 4 triples in a 1-13 run bridging third and fourth quarters and never relinquished the lead. Sergio Rodriguez paced Milan with 17 points, Luis Scola had 14 points and 6 rebounds, while Nemanja Nedovic netted 12 in his first game back from injury. Peyton Siva led ALBA with 20 points, while Rokas Giedratisi scored 18 in the losing effort.
Milan scored the first 7 points of the game, but ALBA replied by hitting 4 three-pointers – a pair from Giedraitis and one piece from Siva and Tim Schneider – to take a 14-11 lead. Aaron White answered with the first three for Milan and Rodriguez hit a last-second triple to make it 18-17 after 10 minutes. In the second quarter, baskets were few and far between. ALBA held Milan scoreless for almost 6 minutes and did not allow a single field goal for more than 8 minutes. However, the hosts did not manage to score much, either. A triple from Tyler Cavanaugh and a third downtown dagger from Giedraitis opened a 31-23 lead before Amedeo Della Valle hit a corner triple for the visitors as ALBA took a 33-26 edge into halftime.
Milan started melting the deficit early in the third quarter with an outside shot from Michael Roll and with Scola scoring inside. After Luke Sikma and Rodriguez traded triples, another three-pointer from Roll followed by two more close-range baskets from Scola put Milan in front 43-44. ALBA restored its lead with a three-pointer from Giedraitis and a three-point play from Johannes Thiemann, but Andrea Cinciarini, Vladimir Micov and Nedovic all hit a three-pointer apiece to give the visitors a 50-53 lead entering the fourth quarter. Nedovic hit another one early in the fourth to make it 50-57 and - after Siva scored 6 points, including a triple, Nedovic nailed his third and fourth shot from long range to make it 59-67. ALBA went inside more often to get closer before a transition triple from Niels Giffey cut it to 73-75 with 18 seconds to go. But Rodriguez made 6 from the free-throw line without a miss in the remaining time to secure Milan's victory.
An offensive turnaround
Milan scored just 26 points in the entire first half, then went on to score 55 points in the second. Milan outscored its first-half effort in each of the second-half quarters - scoring 27 points in the third, and 28 points in the fourth quarter.
Nedovic stars in return
Nemanja Nedovic made his season debut and turned out to be a difference-maker, making all 4 of his three-pointers and scoring all 12 of his points in the final 11 minutes of the game before fouling out.
Rodriguez scored 8 of his 17 points in the final minute of the game, and in the process became only the 12th man in EuroLeague history to reach 2,500 points for his career.
Low twos and high threes
In an unusual turn of events, ALBA and Milan combined to make 26 three-pointers and just 23 two-point shots in this game. ALBA made just 9 of 28 two-point attempts, one above its all-time low. On the other hand, 14 triples tied the ALBA club record for three-point shots made.
Both teams play again on Friday. Milan returns home to play FC Barcelona Lassa, while ALBA travels to Spain to face Real Madrid.
Tuesday, October 29, 2019