Gudaitis leads Milan past Panathinaikos
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan broke its five-game losing streak by topping Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 83-86 in the Greek capital. Milan improved to 7-7, joining a pack of teams fighting to stay in playoffs territory, while Panathinaikos dropped to 6-8 and ranks 11th overall. Arturas Gudaitis led the winners with 20 points. Curtis Jerrells added 15, Mike James had 12 against his former team while Vladimir Micov and Nemanja Nedovic each had 10. Nick Calathes led Panathinaikos with 24 points and 11 assists. Nikos Pappas added 13, James Gist had 12 while Matt Lojeski and DeShaun Thomas each got 11 for the hosts.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo got Panathinaikos going with a tip-in and a block. Calathes added a triple but Micov struck twice from downtown to keep Milan within 7-6. Calathes and Antetokoumpo kept pacing Panathinaikos and a jump hook by Gist made it a five-point game, 13-8. Gist ignited the crowd with an alley-oop dunk but Jerrells and an unstoppable Gudaitis brought Milan close. A layup by Thomas and a put-back basket by Gudaitis fixed the score at 23-21 after 10 minutes. Jerrells and Nedovic give Milan its first lead early in the second, before Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored in penetration and Dairis Bertans followed Gudaitis's dunk with corner triple that made it a double-digit game, 23-33, after a 0-14 run. Calathes scored three times in penetration and Pappas followed a triple with coast-a to-coast layup, but Nedovic struck twice from downtown for a 40-47 Milan lead at halftime. Free throws restored Milan’s double-digit after the break, and a three-pointer by Jerrells boosted his team's margin to 43-56. Thomas answered from downtown and a floater by Calathes brought the hosts a bit closer, 56-64, after 30 minutes. Jerrells hit his third triple early in the fourth quarter but Dimos Mitoglu capped a 6-0 run with a layup, and a layup by Gist pulled the hosts back to 70-73. A floater by Micov and a step-back triple by James gave Milan a 74-82 edge, but Calathes, Matt Lojeski and Steph Lasme brought Panathinaikos back. A layup by Lojeski made it a one-point game, 83-84, with 6.6 seconds to go. Antetokounmpo fouled Nedovic, who hit both free throw attempts with 0.6 seconds remaining, and Panathinaikos did not get another shot up in time.
Arturas Gudaitis was a dominant force in the paint and had yet another stellar performance: 20 points on 7-of-8 two-point shots and 6-of-7 free throws, 8 rebounds, a steal and 6 fouls drawn, good for a PIR of 28.
The teams traded baskets for the best part of the fourth quarter, but a floater by Vladimir Micov and a big, step-back three-pointer by Mike James made the difference, 74-82, with 3 minutes remaining.
Three-point shooting was a big factor in this game. Panathinaikos hit just 4 of 12 shots from downtown (33.3%) and Milan did a lot better, burying 9 of 20 attempts from beyond the arc (45%).
Did you notice?
Gudaitis reached the 20-point mark for just the second time in his 70-game EuroLeague career. He previously had 20 points against Real Madrid on 24 October 2017. Nick Calathes had his first game with more than 20 points and more than 10 assists in his 164-game EuroLeague career, but could not help his team get the win.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action next week. Milan visits Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv on Thursday in a rematch of the 1987 and 1988 Championship Games. A day later, Panathinaikos hosts CSKA Moscow for a rematch of the 2007 and 2009 Championship Games.
Friday, December 21, 2018