Milan’s dominant display gives perfect birthday gift to coach Messina

By Eurohoops team / [email protected]

A rematch of the 2021 Final Four third-place game went down in Milan on Thursday with many new faces on board and AX Armani Exchange Milan once again stood on top with an 84-74 win against CSKA Moscow to start the new season triumphantly.

After a slow start in the first half, Ettore Messina’s squad heated things up in the second half to gift their coach a pleasant present for his 62nd birthday in the season opener. Shavon Shields set the tone for the hosts with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists and Sergio Rodriguez also added 17 points with a late surge.

Among the many new yet familiar faces on the court, Nicolo Melli had 15 points and 6 rebounds in his Milano and EuroLeague return after spending the past two seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks. Adding up to the efforts, Kyle Hines and Devon Hall also finished the game in double digits with 13 and 11 points respectively.

A bright start for CSKA in the first quarter to take a 29-21 lead was overshadowed as Nikola Milutinov went down with likely a knee injury two minutes in the new EuroLeague season. As of halftime, the Serbian big man remained in the lockers and received treatment from the team’s medical staff, while his status will be updated soon.

With Milutinov sidelined, CSKA’s frontcourt suffered for the entirety of the game. Iffe Lundberg led the Army Team with 13 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, Will Clyburn posted 13 and Nikita Kurbanov had 10.

Photo: EuroLeague

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