The Barça search this Friday (8:45 p.m., broadcast by DAZN) at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan before the Armani take a giant step to secure one of the first four places at the end of the regular season and thus have the home court factor in favor in the playoffs of the Euroleague. With five days remaining, the Barça team is the outstanding leader of the competition with 21 victories and 8 defeats and has the fifth-placed team three wins away.
The challenge, however, is great, since the Armani milan, directed by Ettore Messina, is one of the strongest rivals this season and, in fact, is third with a record of 19-10 after having won 10 of its last 12 matches in the competition. The men he runs Sarunas JasikeviciusHowever, they are also in an excellent moment, with a streak of six wins, with an average difference in favor of 14.6 points.
The Armani Milan is a set that is building on the leadership of players like Kevin Punter (15.0 points per game), Shavon shields (13.6) and Sergio Rodriguez (10.3, plus 4.4 assists). Without forgetting the inner solidity that the veteran brings Kyle hines and the experience of a high-carat forward like Gigi datome. In the first round match, played at the Palau, Barça won by 87-71 but he could only detach himself from the Armani thanks to a sensational arreón in the last quarter. Messina’s men dominated 60-67 with six minutes remaining before Barça went into a trance and turned the game around with a 27-6 run.
“They are in a great moment of form, they are a clear contender for everything this season, an experienced team that has the best numbers in attack. Our first goal is to lower their numbers. Without a good defense we will not have many options. We will have to avoid that they shoot many triples because they have the best percentage of the Euroleague. Our goal is to finish first but we know the difficulty of the rival, this is a playoff game “, he says. Jasikevicius.
The battle to control the rhythm of the match they will pose Nick
Calathes on the one hand and Rodriguez on the other it will be key. The Italians will try to forget the absence of the other base of the team, the former Barça player Malcolm delaney, on leave for a couple of weeks after undergoing arthroscopy in his left knee.
For Barça, it will be key to deactivate the creation of points from the Milanese outsiders, since Armani is the third team in the Euroleague that scores the most points (81.7) and is the one that loses the fewest balls (10.9). Barça, the one with the fewest points of the entire competition (73.8), will be a challenge.
“We face the best team in the league so far, they deserve to be up there. Responding to his aggressive all-court and defensive changes will be a crucial part of our attacking game. And in defense, protect our paint without losing sight of its shooters “, says the technician Ettore Messina.