Milan beats ALBA for third straight win
AX Armani Exchange Milan worked past a slow start to pick up a 70-84 victory over ALBA Berlin in the German capital. Zach LeDay’s 16 points paced four scorers in double figures for Milan, which improved to 12-7 as it chases home-court advantage in the playoffs. Kevin Punter and Luigi Datome both scored 14 points and Kyle Hines collected 13 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for the winners. ALBA lost its sixth of its last seven games despite Ben Lammers scoring 18 points and Jayson Granger going for 16 points and 6 assists. ALBA dropped to 7-13.
Malcolm Delaney started the game with a three-pointer for Milan with Lammers scoring first for ALBA, which took its first lead 5-3 on a Granger triple. Lammers added a three-point play and Peyton Siva hit from deep as the hosts pulled ahead 13-6. Another Siva triple extended the gap to 18-9. ALBA led 18-13 after 10 minutes. Datome came off the Milan bench and started the second quarter with 2 free throws and a three-pointer, which was followed by a Michael Roll triple for an 18-21 Milan lead. Luke Sikma’s free throws put ALBA finally on the board after more than 2 minutes and a Maodo Lo three-pointer helped the hosts pull back ahead, 25-23. Datome continued his great quarter with 2 triples and LeDay also hit from deep in a 0-11 run in more than 3 minutes to surge ahead 25-34. Granger punched back with 5 points, but Punter countered with a three-point play and triple and the advantage was double digits at 32-42. Milan went into the locker room up 34-42 at the break.
Simone Fontecchio scored first in the second half for the hosts with LeDay draining a triple at the other end. A Granger three-pointer was answered by threes from Punter to increase the gap to 12 points - 41-53. Lammers, Tim Schneider and Granger all connected from deep, but LeDay’s triple maintained the double-digit lead, 50-60. ALBA did a good job defensively, giving up just 2 Sergio Rodriguez free throws in nearly 4 minutes. Schneider’s triple trimmed the deficit to 56-62 before Delaney made it 56-64 after 30 minutes. Milan started the fourth quarter with Jeff Brooks and Riccardo Moraschini knocking down three-pointers to get the advantage to 58-70. Siva and Lammers scored to try to get ALBA closer but Roll hit another triple to extend the cushion to 62-75. LeDay added two scores and Datome’s final triple made it 66-82 with 2 minutes left to put the nail in the coffin.
Hines joins the 300 club
Kyle Hines joined an illustrious group of players who have appeared in 300 EuroLeague games. Also a part of the 300 club along with the 34-year-old Hines are Paulius Jankunas (360 games played) of Zalgiris Kaunas, Felipe Reyes (353) of Real Madrid, Vassilis Spanoulis (342) of Olympiacos Piraeus, retired FC Barcelona legend Juan Carlos Navarro (341), Georgios Printezis (325) of Olympiacos and Nikos Zisis (310).
ALBA slowly getting healthy
ALBA is slowly getting healthy again. While Niels Giffey and Marcus Eriksson are still out injured and Coach Aito Garcia Reneses remains at home after testing positive for COVID-19, Ben Lammers, Peyton Siva and now Luke Sikma have all returned to action the last couple of games for the German champs.
Milan dished out 28 assists - 1 shy of a club record - and connected on 15 of 30 three-pointers (50.0%) while ALBA was held to just 44.4% percent on two-pointers and picked up just 2 fast-break points.
Milan will face another German team in the next round as it hosts FC Bayern Munich on Thursday, January 21. ALBA will head onto the road for its next game when it plays at TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz the following evening.
Thursday, January 14, 2021