Bayern falls 0-2 behind Milan

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FC Bayern's basketball team is 0-2 down in its first EuroLeague playoff series against co-favorites Olimpia Milan: Head coach Andrea Trinchieri's team lost 80-69 in the second duel after Tuesday's 79-78 dramatic loss, failing to successfully complete a fighting comeback after a poor first half. FCBB now has to stave off elimination in its first home game next Wednesday (April 28, 20:45), and a win would earn them game four the following Friday (April 30).

After a 5-0 start, some poor offense and odd rule interpretations had an early effect on the inexperienced visitors in the form 20-0 within six minutes. The Milan all-star team took advantage of that with their individual class to take a 22-point lead (40-18) before Bayern got as close as 55-49 before the end of the third quarter. Trinchieri had to be replaced by assistant Adriano Vertemati a little later after his second technical foul. Despite winning the final quarter, the Munich team was unable to turn things around completely. They missed not only Nihad Djedovic (rebuilding after knee arthroscopy) but also his colleague Nick Weiler-Babb (tendon), who injured his foot in game 1. The guard will also be absent in the next games, starting with the BBL home game on Sunday in the Audi Dome against Alba Berlin.


Olimpia Mailand – FC Bayern Basketball: 80-69 (47-29)


FCBB: Wade Baldwin (23 Points/6 Assists/6 Rebounds), Vladimir Lucic (8/ 8 Rebounds), Jalen Reynolds (11), James Gist (11/ 7 Rebounds), Paul Zipser (7), Zan Mark Sisko (6), D.J.Seeley, JaJuan Johnson, David Krämer, Diego Flaccadori, Jason George und Leon Radosevic

Top scorer Mailand:

Kevin Punter ( 20 Points)


Sasa Puki, Olegs Latisevs, Emin Mogulkoc

Points per quarter Bayern - Milan: 12-26, 17-21, 24-18, 26-15

Stats: Two-point shooting: 42% (FCBB) // 45% (Milan); Three-point shooting: 38% // 35%; Free-throw shooting: 68% // 85%; Rebounds: 33//27; Assists: 11//13; Turnovers: 14//9.

Adriano Vertemati: "Congratulations to Milan, they deserved to win and lead 2-0, but we are all very proud of our team for the way they fought in the second half. We could have lost the game by 30 points, but we found a way to come back and play hard. That's why we are very proud. I don't think the end of the first game had an impact; we missed some open shots and baskets in the beginning. So Milan developed confidence and scored at a high percentage. (...) We still want to thank Olimpia Milan for offering to help our injured player Weiler-Babb."

James Gist: "That's playoff basketball: they came out more relaxed than we did, probably knowing they won the first game. But every game in the playoffs is different. In the first one we had a chance to take it away from them, this time overall a lot went for them and against us. The third game will be different again. We have to be ready for it and have the fire we've caught now. Our plan is to come back to Milan."     

Game recap:
Trinchieri started with Wade Baldwin D.J. Seeley, Valdimir Lucic, James Gist and Leon Radosevic in the front five. As in the first game his team defended consistently at first. Nevertheless, Kevin Punter managed to finish successfully in difficult situations and put up eight points in a row (8-5/5th). The guests, on the other hand, did not get into the game at all offensively and a 17-0 run prompted Trinchieri to call a timeout (17-5/7th). At the free-throw line something was missing and after the first quarter it was 26-12.

In the second set of ten minutes, too, the Italians left little room to breathe. Punter, Delaney and Shields scored seemingly at will, while the Munich team had to work hard for their points (34-14/15th) and were rarely allowed to go to the line. A loud cry of rage from Baldwin was symbolic of the Munich's travails, but they did not give up and saw some hope via a three-pointer from Lucic (42-24/18th). A three-point play by Baldwin was answered by a three-pointer from Sergio Rodriguez (47-29).

Bayern came out of the dressing room with a lot of emotion and aggression. James Gist showed his qualities under the basket and let it rip twice (50-34/23rd). Olimpia, on the other hand, could rely on their top scorer Punter, who knew how to get to the free throw line again and again. Bayern now found a bit of a rhythm and Baldwin brought the score to 56-44 (27th) with a great move to the basket. Gist and Reynolds shook Milan's defense with high intensity and got to within six (28th). Shortly before the end of the third quarter, anger over the next uncalled contact against Baldwin led to Trinchieri's second tech and he had to leave the hall. Baldwin found the appropriate answer with a goal from mid court (65-53).  

At the beginning of the last quarter, a wild phase developed. Many turnovers on both sides meant that the Munich team did not come decisively closer (75-60/33rd). Paul Zipser made an impression again with two three-pointers in a row four minutes before the end (76-66). However, the hosts played out the game as they wished and finally managed to secure the second win of the best-of-five series.


Photo credit: Cottini