AX Armani Exchange Milan is the top three-point shooting team in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. On Friday, Milan used sharpshooters to down its fifth consecutive victim – previously undefeated FC Barcelona.
Milan nailed 14 of 28 three-pointers in grabbing an 83-70 home victory over Barcelona as both teams are now 5-1 and tied with CSKA atop the standings. Milan drained 6 of those three-pointers in the final 5 minutes 11 seconds of the game to pull away from Barcelona.
That late barrage helped Milan score 31 points in the final quarter, the most head coach Ettore Messina's team has scored in a stanza this season, topping the 28 points it tallied in the fourth quarter against ALBA Berlin in Round 5.
The three-pointers came in bunches: 3 in the second quarter turned a 9-point deficit into a tied game; 4 in the third quarter erased a seven-point deficit to give Milan its first lead; then 3 in the fourth pushed Milan from down by 2 points to up 4. Then came the final knockout punch of 3 more bombs within 47 seconds in the final minutes.
Sergio Rodriguez led the charge with 5 three-pointers made, including 3 in the game's final 2:15. Nemanja Nedovic, Luis Scola and Amadeo Della Valle hit 2 each from long distance.
Milan league-leading three-point shooting rate is 44.1%, but that number has been 49.1% during this five-game winning streak after the team made just 4 of 22 (or 18.2%) in its opening-game loss at FC Bayern Munich. Milan is not living and dying by the three-pointer, however. Its 136 attempts from deep rank just 10th in the league.
Another of the biggest keys to Milan's win was keeping Barcelona's star Nikola Mirotic in check. He did not score until the final 80 seconds of the first half and he ended with 13 points – 6.4 fewer than his average coming into the game. Mirotic made just 4 of 10 shots, his fewest field goal attempts this season.
Nonetheless, in the end, it was the Milan bombers that took down Barcelona.