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With Red Star coming to Milan, Messina wants to “keep our pace up”


Olimpia on Thursday is hosting Red Star Belgrade on Thursday, a defensive-oriented team, that allowed 76.1 points per game, third overall, and second in three-point shooting percentage allows (32.3%), because of renowned specialists like Charles Jenkins and Branko Lazic and the presence of several physical big men inside.

OLIMPIA – Milan is looking for breaking a 2-game losing streak, but it will play once more with no Arturas Gudaitis and no Vlado Micov, who is out with a right foot injury. Micov is the team’s second-best scorer at 12.0 points per game and one of the reasons why Olimpia is leading the EuroLeague in three-point accuracy (42.9%).

COACH ETTORE MESSINA “Red Star is just coming off a coaching change and called one of the most charismatic coach in the entire European basketball, Dragan Sakota. They will play a disciplined game and will be very intense from a physical standpoint. Our pick and roll defense and our coverage on their centers inside game will be our focus entering into this game. We will have to keep the pace up while mantaining our offensive flow.”

THE OPPONENT – Red Star is entering this game at 4-7, but it’s coming off two straight wins with a combined five-point margin, first in Kaunas and then against Valencia at home with a walk-off three by Lorenzo Brown. The same Brown and the shooting star Billy Baron are the team’s best scorers. Stratos Perperoglou was also averaging in double figure, but he’s out with an injury. Red Star is featuring many experienced players, including James Gist, Derrick Brown and Olimpia’s former guard, Charles Jenkins. On top of them, Branko Lazic, a perennial starter. The team was coached by Milan Tomic early, but now he’s led by veteran Dragan Sakota.

THE REFEREES – Robert Lottermoser (Germany), Sergio Silvia (Portugal) e Marcin Kowalski (Poland).

MISCELLANEA – Sergio Rodriguez has scored in double figures in 12 of his last 13 games and has made at least one three-point shot in 17 of his last 18 games; he has made multiple threes in 10 straight games. Michael Roll has made at least 1 three-pointer in nine straight games. Amedeo Della Valle has made 14 consecutive free throws. Luis Scola ranks eighth all-time with 849 two-pointers made. Maccabi Tel Aviv legend Nikola Vujcic is seventh with 850. Scola needs only 1 offensive rebound to reach 300 for his career.