Heurtel, Barcelona put brakes on Milan
FC Barcelona Lassa bounced back from a road loss 48 hours earlier by outgunning AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 90-80 at home in Palau Blaugrana on Friday. Barcelona and Milan both have 6-3 records and are tied for fifth place. Thomas Heurtel led the winners with 20 points and 6 assists. Kyle Kuric added 15 while Ante Tomic had 12 for Barcelona. Mike James paced Milan with 19 points. Jeff Brooks added 17, Arturas Gudaitis had 13 while Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Curtis Jerrells each got 10 for the guests.
James got Milan going with a driving layup before three-pointers by Brooks and Andrea Cinciarini gave the guests a 4-8 lead. Vladimir Micov and Kuric joined the three-point shootout, then a dunk by Adam Hanga kept Barcelona within 11-13. A red-hot Micov and Brooks each insisted from downtown but Tomic and an unstoppable Kuric answered for a 19-21 score. Heurtel hit a floater and Jaka Blazic added an off-balance triple to keep Barcelona close at 24-25 after 10 minutes. Barcelona made its move complete then as Heurtel struck from beyond the arc and Pierre Oriola added consecutive baskets in a 14-0 run that Kevin Seraphin capped with a dunk at 33-25. Heurtel erased a triple by Jerrells with his own from downtown and soon added a floater that made it a double-digit game, 38-28. James and Jerrells tried to change things for the guests and free throws by Gudaitis gave Milan hope at 42-36. Chris Singleton rescued Barcelona with back-to-back triples and a buzzer-beating floater by Kevin Pangos restored a 53-42 Barcelona margin at halftime. Tomic and Kuric took over after the break but Brooks single-handedly kept Milan within 58-47. Tomic stayed on fire and a three-pointer by Kuric boosted the hosts' lead to 65-49. A layup by Blazic and another floater by Heurtel broke the game open, 74-54, after 30 minutes. Nothing really changed in the fourth quarter, as even when free throws by Gudaitis got Milan a bit closer, 79-64, Oriola and Heurtel made sure Barcelona cruised to a well-deserved win.
Heurtel did a little bit of everything and punished Milan with points and assists after he came off the bench. He had a season-high 20 points in 21 minutes, added 4 rebounds and 6 assists for a PIR of 25.
Milan led 19-25 early in the game but Heurtel and Oriola combined for 9 points in a 14-0 run highlighted by Blazic's off-balance triple at the end of the first quarter. The run bridged the opening two quarters and gave Barcelona the lead for good, 33-25.
Great shooting percentages made the difference: Barcelona hit 25-of-41 shots inside the arc (61%) and 8-of-18 from downtown (44.4%). Barcelona also outrebounded Milan by 36-23.
Did you notice?
It took Barcelona 16 games to get to six wins last season and 14 games two years ago. Barcelona got its sixth win in Round 9 this time around.
In Round 10 next week, Milan visits Zalgiris Kaunas on Thursday and Barcelona hosts Fenerbahce Istanbul on Friday.
Friday, November 23, 2018