It will be a historic night between two historic teams in basketball on Wednesday when big man Felipe Reyes becomes the player with the most games ever played in the EuroLeague when he hits 342, overcoming another legendary player from Spain - Juan Carlos Navarro. Los Blancos have already clinched home-court advantage for the playoffs, but Milan is in the middle of the playoff race, currently sitting in seventh place. Milan has won six of its last seven games, but this game against arguably the hottest team in the league right now comes in an untimely fashion. Maybe the visitors will be able to capitalize on the celebratory atmosphere in Madrid.
Earlier this season
This will be the 14th time that these two teams meet in the EuroLeague since 2000. So far, Madrid has dominated the series 12-1, including an 85-91 road win in Round 2 this season. That night, Anthony Randolph led the winners with a season-high 25 points plus 11 rebounds. Facundo Campazzo added 21 points and 7 assists. For Milan, Mike James and Vladimir Micov combined for 41 points. Milan dominated 28-13 at the end of the first quarter, but a big push, especially in the third quarter, gave the visitors the win.
Sergio Llull and Mike James will be the protagonists of an electric duel. Llull has averaged 10.7 points and 4.1 assists as a starter for Real Madrid in 22 appearances this season and remains the heart and soul of his team. James has met all expectations in Milan with his 20.0 points, 6.8 assists and 1.4 steals in 26 appearances, all of them as a starter. Both teams rely on these players in the backcourt, so keep an eye on them for a most-interesting matchup.
Keys to victory: Real Madrid
This will be a duel between two high-scoring teams, so defense could play an important part in the outcome. The hosts will have to watch out for the 6.6 steals per game that Milan averages, but Milan also has the second-weakest defense in the league, so Madrid could have a go at playing its style if that trend stays. The home-court advantage in the playoffs is already accomplished, but do not expect the hosts to slow down anytime soon, not even on a celebratory night for team captain Felipe Reyes.
Keys to victory: AX Milan
Milan is in a crucial moment of the season. The team is currently in the playoff zone, but money time is closing in and the race for the last spots is more ferocious than ever. The visitors will have to increase their effort in defense or else Madrid could be invited to the kind of game it likes, especially at home. On defense, Milan must try to stop Madrid's league-best 20.3 assists per game. However, Los Blancos also lead the league in rebounds (36.4 rpg.) and total PIR (106.0) so the visitors will have to play one of their best games yet this season to go back home from Spain with their second win this century against Madrid.