In a clash that is part of NBA Global Games 2015 presented by BBVA, Boston Celtics took control early on, then pulled away for good in the third quarter, cruising to a 91-124 win over EA7 Emporio Armani Milan at Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday. Milan entered the contest fresh off a big win against Maccabi Tel Aviv at the Madison Square Garden in New York, but fell behind in the early going. Boston built a 15-point margin in the first quarter, and held 44-61 at halftime. Alessandro Gentile sparked a 9-0 Milan run to start the third period, but 53-61 was as close as the hosts got. Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and David Lee paced Boston, as margin reached 20-point barrier midway through the third period, and the visitors cruised the rest of the way. Thomas was Boston's top scorer with 18 points, Bradley netted 14 on 4-for-4 from three-point range, and Jared Sullinger also scored 14. Lee collected 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in victory. Gentile scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the second half. Charles Jenkins scored 14, and Robbie Hummel contributed with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists for Milan.
Gentile went coast-to-coast for a layup high off the glass to get things started, before Tyler Zeller scored twice from close range for Boston. Jamel McLean hit a fadaway jumper for the hosts, and Gentile drove to the basket, but a pair of driving layups from Lee kept the Celtics in front, 6-9. Marcus Smart added a basket to the Celtics' tally, and after an easy dunk from McLean, a corner triple from Bradley followed by 3 of 3 from the foul line from Isaiah Thomas made it 9-17. Milan Macvan and McLean with a three-point play cut the deficit to three points. Amir Johnson scored inside, but Macvan bettered it from the outside for 17-19. However, Jae Crowder basket-plus-foul, a Thomas fastbreak layup, and a triple from R.J. Hunter helped Boston to 17-30 with 2:30 left in the first quarter. The visitors continued their run with another Thomas fastbreak, and an alley-oop dunk from Johnson, capping a 3-15 spurt, and giving the Celtics 20-34 after one quarter.
It took teams more than 2 minutes to score in the second period as Hummel hit a baseline jumper. A triple from Andrea Cinciarini a minute later cut the deficit to 25-36. Sullinger scored from close range for the Celtics, and after Jenkins hit a jumper, Smart made a tough layup in transition for the Celtics. Gani Lawal scored inside for Milan, but Terry Rozier hustled and earned basket-plus-foul for 29-45 with 5:25 left in the half. After a timeout, the offenses picked it up. Sullinger and Lawal traded baskets from close range, before Bradley and Hummel exchanged shots from three-point land. Krunoslav Simon also added a three for Milan and 37-50, but Boston extended the lead through Bradley and Crowder. Oliver Lafayette nailed another triple for the hosts, but Zeller answered right back before Jenkins hit a jumper to make it 44-61 at halftime.
Milan made a strong start of the third, as Jenkins hit a triple, Gentile made a couple of baskets, and fed Hummel for a fastbreak layup and 53-61. Lee snapped the run with a three-point play, and after Gentile buried a jumper, Lee and Zeller helped extend the margin to 55-73. Jenkins ended the run with a three, and Stanko Barac scored a layup, but Crowder, Zeller and Bradley with a triple made it 60-80 with 6:30 left in the quarter. Lafayette hit a runner, and Barac had a basket inside, but Thomas scored twice and Smart knocked down a three. A tough jumper from Simon and a dunk by Macvan cut it to 69-89, but back-to-back fastbreak layups from Jonas Jerebko and Smart helped Boston to 71-99 lead after three quarters.
Jenkins drove through the crowd for a layup to open the fourth quarter, and Gentile hit a pull-up jumper, but Johnson and Sullinger scored from close range for 75-103. Gentile turned a pair of fast breaks into easy layups, and after Hummel hit a three, Gentile followed with one of his own for 85-110. Hummel and Lawal added to Milan's tally, but Sullinger scored twice for Boston, and Rozier banked one in, 89-116 with 3 minutes to go. In the remaining time, hosts only managed a pair of free throws from Simon, before Rozier hit a triple to set the final score.
Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics head coach:
“We appreciate the opportunity to play against a team like Milan. They were tough, but our goal was to improve and become better every day, and we’ll play in two days against Real Madrid and we have the possibility to watch the video of the game to work on our mistakes. The main difference tonight was our size under the basket, but here basketball is beautiful, and as we try to steal ideas from other NBA coaches, at the same time we try to steal ideas from European coaches.”
Jasmin Repesa, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan head coach:
“It was a very difficult night for us. First of all, we came back from United States yesterday, after being there seven days and playing two games. Also, we are together some time, but we need time to build our chemistry. This morning we also had a tough practice because we have the Italian League starting in two days. Honestly, Boston surprised me, because their training camp started few days ago, and they played together very well, moving the ball, playing defense and speaking a lot on the court. We decided to prepare the Italian League game, and not make any scouting on this game, because of very little time we have on our hands.”
Robbie Hummel, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan player:
“Boston is a very good team, and they have a very good coach. They played very well together both offensively and defensively, with great balance and I think it was a great experience for us against a such physical team, looking ahead to the first domestic league game to stay focused on the upcoming matches.”