By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
With the game on the line and the score tied, Kevin Punter managed to get open, but couldn’t also make the three. Cory Higgins got the ball, he took a contested jumper with 0.8 left on the clock and it was all net.
Barcelona survived for the 84-82 win, despite the injury of Nick Calathes who finished the night with 17 points and six assists, however, there’s a big question mark about his participation in the final.
Nikola Mirotic with 21 points was the top scorer of the winners, but it was Higgins who saved the day and got 11 points in total.
Punter, despite missing the most crucial shot of the game had also a big night with 23 points for the losing side.
With Pau Gasol setting the tone early, scoring seven points in just three minutes of action in the first quarter, Barcelona got a 27-24 lead and managed to get up by eight (44-36) in the 17th minute.
Mirotic had 11 first-half points, followed by Gasol who added 10 while playing just seven minutes and with Calathes making a three, Barca entered the last minute of the second period leading by 11 (49-38). The two teams went to the locker rooms for halftime with Milan trailing by nine (51-42).
Still, Milan made it a three-point game (53-50) after a three by Punter just after three minutes of play in the third period.
That proved to be the start of a change in the momentum. Malcolm Delaney cut the lead to one point (57-56) with one more three and Savon Shields put the Italians up in the next possession (58-57) forcing a time-out by coach Sarunas Jasikevicius.
The partial score was 16-6 for Milan in six minutes of action in the second half and Panter had more tricks in his bag, reaching the 20-point mark and giving the Italians a 63-59 lead with three minutes left in the quarter.
Sergio Rodriguez stretched the lead to eight (67-59) as Milan had a 25-8 run in their favor in the first eight minutes of the second half.
However, Barcelona was up again by one (72-71) with eight minutes left in the game as Calathes and Mirotic took care of the offense, while the Catalans followed the lead of Milano and picked up their defense too, setting the stage for an amazing ending.