Bayern falls short of an upset despite good play
FC Bayern basketball lost 98-83 in their 19th game of the Euroleague season against Panathinaikos Athens and are now in the midst of a five-game losing streak. The Munich side are now 18th in the standings, but showed a clear overall improvement on TJ Bray's debut in the FCBB jersey. Although they were quickly trailing 2-19 in front of 8,013 spectators in the Olympic Stadium in Athens, the second and third quarter saw a great battle from the Germans who even took a 70-61 lead before losing all offensive rhythm in the fourth quarter. The Greek champion managed 20 offensive rebounds and won the duel on the boards 43-23. A ray of hope for Bayern who had to do without Nihad Djedovic and Zan Mark Sisko for a short time, was the finally recovered Bray, who had a strong premiere with 14 points and five assists.
Already on Friday evening (17.1., 19:30) the FCBB will visit the second Greek team, Olympiakos Piräus. On Sunday (January 19th, 15:00), Bayern will travel to visit the Ludwigsburg squad, who are undefeated in their own hall. Maccabi Tel Aviv will then come to the Audi Dome next week (Thursday, January 23rd, 20:30).
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Points per quarter Bayern - Athens: 18:28, 35:25, 22:23, 8:22.
Facts & Figures - Two-point shooting: 43.3% (FCBB) // 63.8% (Athens); Three-point shooting: 50% // 25%; rebounds: 21 // 40; assists: 24 // 24; turnovers: 13 // 10 - Injured: Nihad Djedovic (back), Zan Mark Sisko (adductors).
FCBB stats: Greg Monroe (17 points, 9 rebounds), TJ Bray (14, 5 assists), Petteri Koponen (12), Josh Huestis (11, 3/4 threesome), Paul Zipser (10), Maodo Lo (5), Vladimir Lucic (4), Leon Radosevic (4), Danilo Barthel (3), Mathias Lessort (3), Alex King and Diego Flaccadori
FCBB interim head coach, Oliver Kostic: "Congratulations to Panathinaikos on the victory, a win the earned especially in the last quarter. But I think this quarter doesn't reflect the reality of what we saw on the court overall. The second and third quarter are certainly the model for how we want to play. But we have to analyse why things were different in the last quarter so that we can win games in the EuroLeague again.
But it's obvious that the game was decided by rebounding. Panathinaikos had 20 offensive rebounds alone and made 22 points from them. So you can't win at this level. Positive is of course the return of TJ Bray. He was over the limit of what we expected him to deliver after the long injury break. The way he approached and played the game is incredible. He will be a great help to us for the rest of the season."
Vladimir Lucic: "Today we finally had another point guard back after a long injury. This gave us more creativity and options in pick and roll. That was the reason why we performed so well. In the end we made rash decisions and bad decisions on offense which led to easy points for Panathinaikos in the fast break."
Petteri Koponen: "We can be proud how we came back after the bad start. Unfortunately, we lost control in the last quarter. I don't know if we got tired, but we missed our shots and of course we had very, very big weakness in rebounding."
The FCBB started with Maodo Lo, Petteri Koponen, Vladimir Lucic, Danilo Barthel and Greg Monroe. Bayern missed the start completely and in the first four minutes the hosts sprinted to a 12-0 run, which Monroe finally interrupted at the free-throw line after four minutes of play. It didn't get better at first and with another 7-0 run the Greeks extended their lead to 18-2. TJ Bray made his first appearance in FCBB dress and with him came the turning point. The US-American drilled a three for his first points as a member of the Munich squad. At the free-throw line, Bray and Monroe continued to reduce the gap and the FCBB closed to ten points back, 19-9. Despite the better offense, the German champions were still unable to control the best EuroLeague offense and Athens led 28-18 at the first break.
The second quarter was probably the best quarter in the current EuroLeague season for the FCBB. After a balanced start, the Bavarians started an 8-0 run with points from Paul Zipser, Lucic and Bray, thus earning themselves the first "one possession game" since the opening minute, 37-35. One minute later Greg Monroe brought Bayern to within one after a three-point play. With two successful threes from Koponen, the Munich team took the lead for the first time in the game, 53-51. Bray convinced with eleven points, four assists and 50% from three. At halftime the score was tied at 53-53.
Oliver Kostic's team took the momentum from the second quarter into the second half and continued to score from the outside. Threes from Zipser, Lo, Bray and two times Josh Huestis all found their way to the bottom of the basket and Bayern was up nine after the huge first-quarter deficit. Panathinaikos reduced the score to five points before Koponen responded with yet another three for the FCBB. Bayern then lost their offensive rhythm and could only score points through Leon Radosevic and mid-range jump-shots as Athens turned on the gas to take a 76-75 lead heading into the final quarter.
In the final quarter, the guests lacked the necessary energy to land an upset in Greece. Monroe fought back for a Munich lead with the first points in the final quarter but Bayern then conceded a 13-0 run by the hosts, which was finally interrupted with two minutes to play. In crunch time, the hosts defended their double-digit lead and Bayern only managed eight points in the quarter.
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Photos: Stickel, Moschandreou/Euroleague