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Bayern is in Milan, Malcolm Delaney: “They are tough, we need to improve and keep our momentum”


Another clash between two teams deeply involved in the playoffs’ race is coming up for Olimpia. On Thursday, Bayern Munich comes to the Mediolanum Forum. The two teams boast the same number of wins, 12, but Olimpia has played one game less. Milan enters the game riding a three-game winning streak; Bayern begins a sequence of three road games in a row. In Munich, Olimpia won by two points, 81-79, after an overtime. A three made by Shavon Shields with nine seconds left proved to be decisive, but unfortunately, he won’t be available, like Vlado Micov. Olimpia is leading the league in three-point shooting, 42.56 percent, while Bayern is leading in three-point shooting defense, 32.9 percent. It’s another interesting aspect of the game.

COACH ETTORE MESSINA – “We play against an excellent team, well-organized, well-coached and with a lot of depth. Unfortunately, we’ll have to play with a severely depleted roster, because in addition to Shavon Shields and Vlado Micov, we’ll miss also Jeff Brooks and Michael Roll due to recent injuries. We’ll try to organize the best possible game, even with such a short rotation, to face a very strong opponent.”

MALCOLM DELANEY – “Tomorrow we have a tough game against one of the surprise teams of the season. Bayern has showed that they belong and aren’t just competing. We have to just go and continue to improve our game, while focusing on ourselves, stay healthy and try to keep our EuroLeague momentum.”

THE REFEREES – Sasa Pukl (Slovenia), Emilio Perez (Spain), Uros Nikolic (Serbia).

NOTESGigi Datome has an open streak of 25 free throws made and is second to Kyle Kuric (Barcelona) in three-point shooting with 58.5 percent. He enters the game two threes shy of 300 in his career. Zach LeDay is third in three-point shooting with 54.0 percent. Olimpia as a team is first with 42.6 percent. Kevin Punter has made at least one three in each of his last 26 EuroLeague games played and has gone in double figures in 19 of the last 21. Malcolm Delaney has made at least one three in 14 consecutive games, has had at least one steal in nine of the last 10. Zenit St. Petersburg is the team that has won the most away games so far with 8, Olimpia follows along CSKA Moscow with 7, Zalgiris Kaunas has 6. Then Barcelona and Real Madrid who have 5. Kyle Hines just became the seventh player in history to play 300 EuroLeague games, but the first American to do so. Among the Americans behind him there is Jaycee Carroll with 257, then James Gist of Bayern Munich with 251. Kaleb Tarczewski is two rebounds shy of 500 in his career, all grabbed while wearing an Olimpia jersey.

BAYERN MUNICH – Bayern is the team attempting the most two-point shots in the entire EuroLeague. Compared to the Munich game, Bayern added two players, DJ Seeley (53 percent on three-point shooting) among the guards and veteran James Gist (4.4 points per game) among the bigs. The best team scorer is Wade Baldwin, 14.2 points per game, 18 against in the first leg. Vladimir Lucic, who returned from a period out last week, and Jalen Reynolds (61.8 percent from two-point range), who is also the best team rebounder with 6.6 per game ahead of Lucic (4.9), are also 14-point per game scorers. Baldwin is also the best passer, 4.0 assists plus 1.3 steals per game. Lucic is the top three-point shooter with 45.9 percent, but power forward Paul Zipser (9.8 points per game), who played in the NBA in Chicago, is also over the 44% threshold. Also important are Nick Weiler-Babb (6.8 points), the franchise player Nihad Dedovic (58.3 percent from two), JaJuan Johnson (4.2 points, 3.3 rebounds per game), Leon Radosevic (5.0 on average with 56.5 percent from two-point range) and Malcolm Thomas (3.3 points, 3.2 rebounds). Baldwin is the only guy that started 20 games out of 20 for Bayern, but Lucic started every time he has been available.

THE BAYERN CONNECTION – Bayern coach Andrea Trinchieri is from Milan and has coached for Olimpia at both youth level and as an assistant for the first team. As head coach of Cantù, he coached Vlado Micov, Jeff Brooks and Andrea Cinciarini. In Veroli he coached Kyle Hines. Leon Radosevic played in Milan for two seasons, in 2011/12 when Olimpia played the Top 16 of the EuroLeague and the Italian League finals, and in 2012/13 when he returned to Milan after a short stint at Alba Berlin. Diego Flaccadori reached the 2018 Italian league finals, against Olimpia, however due to a physical problem he was unable to play. In Trento, he played alongside Shavon Shields. Gigi Datome played along Nihad Dedovic in Rome and Kevin Punter played in Belgrade alongside James Gist. Among the Olimpia players, Malcolm Delaney played for Bayern Munich during the 2013/14 season when he made his EuroLeague debut scoring 13.9 points per game with 5.1 assists. He also won the German title with Bayern. Nihad Dedovic and Paul Zipser were among his teammates at the time.