LeDay caps comeback as Milan stuns Bayern
In scenes of incredible drama, AX Armani Exchange Milan launched the second-biggest comeback in the history of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs, defeating FC Bayern Munich 79-78 with a buzzer-beating game-winner from Zach LeDay. Playing in its first-ever playoff game, Bayern surged ahead with a 2-17 run early in the second quarter and led by 19 shortly before halftime. Milan rallied strongly after the break, eventually tying the game at 74-74 in the last minute. James Gist appeared to have given Bayern the win from the foul line with 1.2 seconds remaining, but Malcolm Delaney and LeDay teamed up for an alley-oop layup to take the win with the final play. LeDay led Milan with 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Sergio Rodriguez was also instrumental in the comeback with all his 13 points coming in the last 11 minutes. Kevin Punter scored 11 points and Delaney added 10 for Milan. DJ Seeley starred for Bayern with 23 points, while Wade Baldwin IV and JaJuan Johnson both scored 10.
Delaney opened the scoring with a trio of free throws, answered by Nick Weiler-Babb from deep and Baldwin with a transition layup and one for a 3-6 lead. Vladimir Micov hit a triple to bring Milan level, before a low-scoring phase of play as both teams struggled for offensive rhythm. Jalen Reynolds and Jeremy Evans traded inside blows, before a hook from Shavon Shields was bettered by a triple from Paul Zipser for a 12-13 lead. Zan Sisko’s floater was followed by Johnson’s buzzer-beating long two, making it 16-18 after 10 minutes. Reynolds threw down a big dunk and Seeley hit a pair of triples early in the second quarter, stretching the lead to 16-26. Punter and Johnson exchanged long twos, before Johnson’s tip-in and Seeley’s mid-range strike made it 18-32. Punter’s jumper-and-one revived the hosts, but Sisko landed another floater and Johnson struck twice more to keep Bayern moving, 21-40. After Shields drove to score in penetration, Seeley answered with a triple-and-one, making it 27-44 at the break.
Punter opened the second half scoring from mid-range and Delaney’s three-point play pulled it back to 34-45. Johnson’s dunk settled Bayern, but Micov hit a triple and Kyle Hines scored inside to make it 39-47 after a 12-3 run. Sisko hit back with a three, which Delaney answered from deep. Punter’s driving score kept Milan hoping, but Seeley struck his fourth triple and Gist added a layup to give Bayern a 44-58 edge. Seeley scored 4 more points to keep Bayern fairly comfortable, 53-64, at the end of the third quarter. Rodriguez hit a step-back triple to start the fourth, but Vladimir Lucic answered with his first basket. Five fast points from Rodriguez and free throws from Luigi Datome made it 63-67. A huge dunk from LeDay made it a one-possession game, but Gist’s layup-and-one revived Bayern. Shields made a mid-range jumper, but Seeley responded from deep, sending Bayern ahead 67-73 with 4 minutes left. LeDay hit back with his own three-point play and Hines scored inside to make it 72-74 with 2 minutes remaining. LeDay netted under the basket for a 74-74 tie and Gist missed two free throws before Rodriguez hit a triple for a 77-74 lead. Free throws from Baldwin and Gist sent Bayern back in front, but LeDay had the final word of an incredible game.
Milan mounts second-biggest comeback…
Milan’s comeback from 19 points down was the second-biggest in playoff history. The only bigger comeback was Partizan Belgrade overturning a 21-point margin against Maccabi Tel Aviv in March 2010.
…as Bayern loses second-biggest lead
In contrast, the outcome also saw Bayern fall to defeat despite establishing the second-biggest halftime lead on the road in playoff history. The team’s 27-44 interval edge is only behind Olympiacos Piraeus's 32-50 halftime advantage at Asseco Prokom in April 2010.
Hosts leave it late – very late
Bayern led from the last minute of the first quarter until the last minute of the game, when Sergio Rodriguez’s three-pointer sent Milan ahead, 77-74. Overall, Milan was only in front for 2 minutes 25 seconds of the whole game.
Injury blow for Bayern
Another setback for Bayern was an injury blow for Nick Weiler-Babb, who landed badly on his right ankle midway through the second quarter and did not return.
The teams will meet again in Milan for Game 2 at 20:45pm CET on Thursday.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021