Olimpia Milano extended the lead to 2-0 against Virtus Bologna

2023-06-11T19:58:06+00:00 2023-06-11T21:19:19+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

11/Jun/23 19:58


The red-and-white side will now go to Bologna to potentially close the series

By Cesare Milanti / info@Eurohoops.net

MILAN, Italy – Following 40 minutes of high-level basketball and intensity, Olimpia Milano managed to win 79-76 Game 2 of the LBA Finals best-of-seven series against Virtus Bologna in the third straight Italian league showdown between the two.

Putting in an incredible three with 1:35 minutes left, Shavon Shields gave the lead (75-73) to Olimpia Milano, ending the game with 18 points and 4 rebounds. Shooting 4/7 from three to end with 12 points, Billy Baron shone on offense for the winning side. Despite a pretty rough night from beyond the arc (2/10), Shabazz Napier still contributed with 12 points and 4 assists.

On Virtus Bologna’s end, Marco Belinelli did his best to keep the black-and-white team alive. After scoring 19 points in Game 1, he followed tonight with 14 and 4/6 from beyond the arc, always ready to take a shot from the long distance. Tornike Shengelia was also a protagonist for Sergio Scariolo’s team, scoring 17 points with 5 rebounds and 4 assists, and giving his team the partial lead (73-72) at the line with 1:47 left. However, the Georgian missed both decisive free throws later on.

The game ended with tension between Virtus players  and Milan fans.

A dogfight until the end

If in Game 1 Virtus Bologna got the upper hand from the very beginning, Milano learned from it in Game 2, going up 9-5 with 6:19 on the clock; however, the black-and-white team managed to come back to close the first quarter up 17-14. The tension rose since the first minute, and Sergio Scariolo got awarded a technical foul after a refereeing call against Virtus Bologna.

Fighting on the other end for offensive boards, the 2022 EuroCup winners found a seven-point lead (24-17) after 2:52 minutes of playing time in the second quarter. Containing Marco Belinelli’s off-the-screen threes and more generally Bologna’s offense, the reigning Italian champs went to the locker room coming back once again up 38-35 with a three by Billy Baron.

The third quarter started with Milano’s keeping on going with the momentum, as Shavon Shields stole the ball from Jordan Mickey to score in transition. Billy Baron followed with two back-to-back threes to give Milano a seven-point lead (46-39). As already shown in Game 1, this series is all about going back and forth, and Virtus reduced the gap to three points (57-54) at the end of the third.

The first minutes of the fourth quarter became a personal affair between Devon Hall, dunking on the sideline, and Marco Belinelli, who banked in two back-to-back of his usual daggers. The game remained on the edge until the very last possessions, as Virtus Bologna tied things up at 72-72 with 2:11 minutes left, but in front of a completely soldout Mediolanum Forum, the home side concluded on a winning note.

Ettore Messina and Sergio Scariolo decided to stick with their Game 1 choices, sidelining Kevin Pangos, Brandon Davies, Nazareth Mitrou-Long, DeShaun Thomas, and Davide Alviti on Milano’s side, and Ismael Bako, Gabriel Iffe Lundberg, Kyle Weems, and Leo Menalo on Virtus Bologna’s roster.

Following Milano’s 92-82 victory to open the series, Ettore Messina’s team extended the lead to 2-0 and will now go to Bologna with the opportunity of bringing the trophy home with two straight wins in the Virtus Segafredo Arena. Game 3 will be played on May 14 at 20:30 CET.

LBA Finals results and schedule

Olimpia Milano – Virtus Bologna, G1: 92-82
Olimpia Milano – Virtus Bologna, G2: 79-76
Virtus Bologna – Olimpia Milano, G3 (14/06 at 20:30 CET)
Virtus Bologna – Olimpia Milano, G4 (16/06 at 20:30 CET)
Olimpia Milano – Virtus Bologna, G5 * (19/06 at 20:30 CET)
Virtus Bologna – Olimpia Milano, G6 * (21/06 at 20:30 CET)
Olimpia Milano – Virtus Bologna, G7 * (23/06 at 20:30 CET)

  • If needed.

PHOTO CREDIT: Olimpia Milano