Zach LeDay and Vladimir Lucic have each posted great performances in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs series between their respective teams, AX Armani Exchange Milan and FC Bayern Munich. Going into a winner-take-all Game 5 on Tuesday to reach the Final Four, they are poised to play key roles again, just as they have been doing for most of the season.
Lucic has led Bayern to historic heights in the competition in what is the best season of his career, while LeDay has been among Milan's most consistent performers as the team aims for its first Final Four this century.
Starting in 31 of his 33 appearances this season, LeDay leads Milan in rebounds with 4.7 per game and ranks fourth in scoring (10.3 ppg.). He has also given Milan an extra dimension as a big man shooting from long distance, entering Game 5 ranked eighth among all EuroLeague players with 47.8% three-point shooting accuracy.
Lucic has started in all 30 of his appearances this season, and his 13.8 points and 4.9 rebounds are both second-best on the team. His performance index rating of 18.0 is not only Bayern's best, however; it also ranks Lucic seventh in the entire competition.
Lucic has also shot the ball well from long range, ranking 17th at 45.0% accuracy, and holds the upper hand with a two-point shooting rate of 57.8% to LeDay's 49.4%.
Competing in the EuroLeague Playoffs for the first time, each has had highs and lows in the first four games of the series.
LeDay was the hero of Milan's comeback from 19 points behind to win Game 1, 79-78. He not only scored the game-winning alley-oop on the buzzer, but he led Milan with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in that game. LeDay scored twice more in double digits, 10 points each in Games 2 and 4, and averages 10.3 points in the series, the same scoring average he has for the season.
LeDay is also posting 6.0 rebounds in the series, up from the 4.5 he averaged in the regular season, and 5 of his 21 assists this season have come in these four playoff games. On the other hand, he has made just 2 of 6 threes, good for 33.3%, while Lucic is knocking down 52.9% from long range in the playoffs.
Lucic has posted 14.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in the series. He overcame a sub-par Game 1, in which he had 6 points and 3 rebounds, to become unstoppable in Game 3, when he had career highs of 27 points and 35 PIR to go along with 7 rebounds.
Both teams need their starting forwards to be at their best in a historic Game 5, in which Milan looks for a victory to return to its first Final Four in 29 years, while Bayern hopes to make history as the first German team at a EuroLeague Final Four.