By Eurohoops team / email@example.com
Marcus Eriksson scored 21 points on 5-8 triples as ALBA Berlin beat Olimpia Milano 81 – 76 at home. While ALBA registered its second straight win and fifth overall into the EuroLeague regular season, Milano suffered its fourth consecutive defeat to drop to 8 – 5.
“These two wins in a row against extremely good teams are important for the team,” Eriksson said. “The most important for us is playing our game; keep the rhythm high and play in transition. Milan made a big push in the second half. It was big for us to stay calm in the end. Louis Olinde took some rebounds, made some big defensive plays at the end. So we are very happy.”
After a strong stretch from the mid of the second period to the early minutes of the second half, ALBA took a 60 – 43 lead over Milano. The visiting side managed to bring the game at a shooting distance, 71 – 69,in the mid of the fourth quarter but ALBA hit some key 3-pointers to not allow its opponents to tie the score.
Devon Hall made it 77 – 76 with 1:32 to play and that was the last Milano scored in the game as the hosts closed the match with five unanswered points to secure their win.
Malcolm Delaney had 12 points while Kyle Hines finished with 10 points for a Milano squad that shot the ball poorly (6-23 3-pointers) and was outrebounded 42 – 26 by ALBA.
“Unfortunately, we played for one more game very low-level defense and allowed them to play easily until the middle of the third quarter,” Milano coach Ettore Messina said. “That’s when we raised our aggressiveness. We were more connected and we got a lot of stops. And like it always happens, when you play defense, you’re also more aggressive on offense. And that’s what allowed us to come back. But until that moment, we were very poor on offense. And we were, unfortunately, very inefficient defensively. ”
Maodo Lo contributed 12 points, six assists and five rebounds to ALBA’s win. Luke Sikma produced nine points, seven assists and six boards.
The decisive control of the tempo
ALBA Berlin coach Israel Gonzalez saw his guys playing at a pace that suited their game and, eventually, helped them get the victory.
“I am very happy with the performance of the team,” Gonzalez said. “I am happy for the players. We don’t know how the games will go, but our idea is to keep fighting for 40 minutes and see how it will end. Today, we had a lot of effort, and we were able to arrive at the end against a very good team like Milan. And after the win, I am much more happy. I think the rhythm was the key factor. In the first half, we played at our rhythm, pressing the ball, pressing full-court, trying to run all the time, not stopping the ball on offense, and we continued like that in the third quarter. Then they made it play difficult for our offense, but we managed to get a win.”
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball