Messina: We want to build the game on cohesiveness and the ability to help each other

Credit: Ciamillo & Castoria
Credit: Ciamillo & Castoria

Delaney: For the next game they will be even more aggressive, fighting to avoid the elimination

The EuroLeague playoff quarterfinals will stage its fourth act tomorrow, Friday 30 April at 20:45. All the games so far have followed a similar pattern, with one team better than the other at the start and then punctual comebacks. Olimpia has completed the Game 1 rally and thanks to this is currently leading 2-1 in the best-of-five series. On the other hand, the Game 3 comeback failed, because Bayern was capable to push it back three times, once in the second quarter, once at the beginning of the fourth period, and the last at the end when Milan returned within five points behind at several junctures, but too late. So far, the home court advantage has been honored three times out of three. Olimpia practiced in Munich yesterday.

COACH ETTORE MESSINA – “Every game against Bayern is always a very physical game. Rebounds have an enormous relevance and in this regard, we need to take a significant step up. So far in every single game different guys, from both teams, have been decisive. As we did so often during the course of the season, we want to build this game on our cohesiveness and ability to help each other. I’m pretty much sure we are going to do it again in Game 4.”

MALCOLM DELANEY – “We expected them to come out very aggressive last game, and for the next game they will be even more aggressive, fighting to avoid the elimination. They are a great team and we have to play one of our best games of the year, and also expect them to play their best game of the season.”

REFEREES – Matej Boltauzer (Slovenia), Juan Carlos Garcia (Spain), Tomislav Hordov (Croatia).

GAME 1 – With a 26-11 second quarter, Bayern took a commanding 19-point lead, 40-21. Olimpia gradually recovered, were down 17 at half-time, then changed pace in the second half, returned to eight points down in the third, but then Bayern responded with three free throws made by Vladimir Lucic and the superb shooting of DJ Seeley (23 points, 5/5 from three). With a 6-0 run, Bayern built another 14-point momentary lead. Sergio Rodriguez’s second half was, however, outstanding. He scored 13 points in the half. The first attempt to take the lead in the fourth with a Kevin Punter three was unsuccessful, but with 1:17 left, Hines rebound puts LeDay in a position to tie the game. After two misses by James Gist from the line, Sergio Rodriguez made his third triple and Olimpia suddenly led by three. Bayern came back within one with two free throws made by Baldwin and with more by Gist retook the lead. With 1.2 seconds left, Delaney’s throw-in generates Zach LeDay’s 79-78 winning shot.

GAME 2 – Bayern starts the game 5-0, but right after Olimpia places a 20-0 run that affects the outcome of the game. Kevin Punter scores 20 points, 17 in the first half alone when the margin is 18 points. Thanks to a more intense approach in the second half, Bayern attempts a comeback, led by Wade Baldwin’s 23 points. The margin at one point has been reduced to six points. Olimpia responds with a Shavon Shields drive, then goes up by 17 early in the fouth and controls the closing minutes.

GAME 3 – Bayern builds its game on a 23-9 first quarter, but Olimpia responds by scoring 26 points in the second period and taking the lead momentarily off a Jeff Brooks’ corner three. But Bayern responds, closes the first half up by four, then takes control again in the third period led by Vladimir Lucic’s 27 points (4/5 from three and 11/12 from the line). Bayern earns a 18-point commanding lead. Malcolm Delaney scores seven straight points and bring Olimpia within six early in the fourth quarter, but the final still belongs to Bayern. Milan returns to within five three times, but only in the final minute, so Bayern wins 85-79.

NOTES – Kevin Punter has had at least one steal in 10 of his last 11 games and has hit 40 of his last 41 free throws attempted, he is 12-for-12 for the playoffs. Vlado Micov, after having exceeded 700 rebounds in his career, also reached 300 with Olimpia. Sergio Rodriguez is eight assists away from 1.400 in his career, one from 300 with Olimpia jersey and 11 threes shy of 500 for his career. He is also 11 points shy of 700 with Olimpia. Zach LeDay has a streak of 20 free throws made, his 9-for-9 of Game 1 is his second-best performance from the line after going 12-for-12 during the Milan game with CSKA Moscow. Kyle Hines is 11 points behind Marcus Brown’s 2,739 as the best American scorer in the EuroLeague history.

Fonte: Euroleague.

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