Bayern basketball players leave the EuroLeague stage in Milan with their heads held high
The great EuroLeague adventure of the Bayern basketball team, which began at the beginning of October against Milan, came to an end on Tuesday evening in the same place. The team of head coach Andrea Trinchieri lost the decisive fifth playoff duel 92-89 at the Italian top team after a dramatic final minute. The gripping series thus goes 3:2 to Olimpia. After their biggest international success, the Munich team leaves the stage of the top division with their heads held high and with a lot of respect gained. From now on, all concentration will be on the two BBL competitions in the Top Four in the Audi Dome on May 15/16.
After an even first quarter, the eagerly awaited showdown saw a 9-0 run by the favorites (33-22/13th), who held this advantage until the break with their individual quality and seven threes. In the second half, Milan quickly pulled away to 63-47 (25th), with US guard Shields (34 points) barely contained by the defense. In the final minute, however, the visitors actually still had the chance for overtime or victory thanks to their incomparable fighting spirit and a 10-0 run.
The Italian record champions will now take part in the Cologne Final Four (May 28-30) for the European crown as co-favorites. For the FCBB on the other hand, a historic record season in the top division comes to an end. They were the first German team to reach the playoffs of the EuroLeague after 21 wins in the regular season, a previously unattained figure for a BBL representative; now the overall record is 23-16. After last year's 17th place in the standings and 18th and last before the start of the season, at the beginning of 2021 they were named "Surprise of the Season" in a EuroLeague poll with 72.2 percent of the votes.
Olimpia Mailand - FC Bayern Basketball 92-89 (50-40)
Jalen Reynolds (19 Points/10 Rebounds), Wade Baldwin (17), JaJuan Johnson (14/9 Reb), D.J. Seeley (11), Paul Zipser (10), Vladimir Lucic (8), James Gist (7), Zan Mark Sisko (3), Diego Flaccadori, Leon Radosevic, Robin Amaize und Sasha Grant.
Shavon Shields (34 Points)
Sreten Radovic, Miguel Angel Perez, Gytis Vilius
Andrea Trinchieri: "Congratulations to Milan. They played a strong game. They were better for the longer part of the game but we didn't give up. A couple of Milan players put in outstanding individual performances. We had a chance to win the game. We didn't execute the final offense well. This was a very challenging game, we lack a little bit of experience but we played hard. We never gave up and then in a game like that, when you somehow end up with a chance to win the game, it means you have something special as a team."
Paul Zipser: "It wasn't the game we wanted in the first half. I think in the second half we did better. Then we had another setback in the fourth quarter, that was a bit much then. But then, a little bit indicative of our season, we came back wildly. We had two more chances to win or to equalize. That's very bitter, of course. But it certainly wasn't due to effort, Wade had a lot of energy and he can attack. We just made it difficult for ourselves beforehand. We can learn a lot from a game like this, even I was a bit hectic at the end and could have done better."
Jalen Reynolds: "Milan is a very good team, congratulations to them. We fought incredibly until the end. We have to put this behind us soon now and look at what's ahead."
Herbert Hainer, club president: "Of course, it hurts at first to have missed out on the really big sporting sensation by such a narrow margin. But very soon, hopefully, the feeling that we all associate with this great team will also prevail for Andrea Trinchieri and his team: We are incredibly proud of what the team has achieved in this demanding season, all expectations have really been exceeded. This inspiring EuroLeague journey was a milestone for our club."
Marko Pesic, General Manager: "The players are probably very disappointed and down now. But I am very, very proud of this team, also especially of this series. The fact that we stood our ground in Milan as well and had it in our hands to win the games here in both game one and game five is a testament to great class. The way the team believed in victory here until the last second is actually our story of the entire EuroLeague season. Hats off to the team. We're all immensely proud of what they accomplished."Game recap:
Trinchieri asked the team before the game to fight with determination while playing with joy. Wade Baldwin, Diego Flaccadori, Vladimir Lucic, JaJuan Johnson and Jalen Reynolds were expected to provide the first thrust in the do-or-die scenario. The calculation worked out, because the FCBB appeared calm and focused and led 8-2 after barely three minutes - timeout Milan. At this high level, the smallest mistakes often have a fatal effect. The hosts came close under the leadership of ex-Bayern Delaney, but Johnson and Baldwin held their own (12-7/6th). Munich worked well on defense but Milan has that particular individual class and used it with a 9-2 run to change the lead - time-out (18-16 Milan/9th). After the entertaining first quarter, Bayern trailed 24-22.
Milan's Shavon Shields could not be controlled - at this early stage he already had 15 points and played a decisive role in the hosts' increasing lead (31-22/12th). The FCBB had lost the rhythm, the Milan star ensemble extended the quarter-long run to 12-0 - only stopped by Reynolds (33-25/14th). One of the outstanding qualities of Bayern 20/21 season is their calmness even in the face of double-digit deficits, and thanks to a strong defense things usually settle down (35-28/15th). However, the favorite played physically and continued in their strong attack. Bayern's goal had to be to keep the deficit in single digits by halftime - and they didn't quite manage that (50-40). Trinchieri criticized his team's passivity at halftime and expected to light a fire.
His team, however, did not find its rhythm, Milan, on the other hand, used the flow and pulled away (58-44/23rd). Zipser went ahead and sank Bayern's first three-pointer, but Shields came back and hit his own shot (61-47/24th). Munich missed free throws and waited for an initial spark, a dunk by Gist and a three-pointer by Seeley finally showed signs of life - time-out Milan (63-53/26th). Munich was pressing, but Olimpia was not only faster on this memorable evening, but also more alert and went on another 7-0 run (70-53/28th). Bayern's scoring from beyond the three-point line remained in the cellar, Seley's successful attempt was a bright spot but the FCBB trailed 72-58 after quarter number three.
Baldwin braced himself against going home from the playoffs but was strongly defended by the Italians and prevented from scoring and he waited in vain for foul whistles. Nobody could prevent his dunk for 76-62 or his following three-pointer which gave hope for the single-digit deficit (76-65/32nd). Olimpia, however,had the right answers in these situations with the help of their key players. But giving up was not possible and even more so in such a game: Lucic & Co. showed character and fought. Baldwin shrank the deficit to ten with two buckets (82-72/36th). A little later, Sisko sank a three-pointer to make it 83-77, and that was the spark that lit the Munich fire with over three minutes left on the clock. Lucic was balling out but an incredible three-pointer by Delaney was a sting in the momentum (86-77/37th).
Shields and Delaney snatched the game and ruthlessly denied Munich a chance to win - BUT you can never write off this FCBB squad: Within 52 seconds they cut the score from the original 91-79 to 91-89 in an incredible few minutes. Twelve seconds left and possession with Bayern who had been given the chance to win after two threes by Lucic and Reynolds. Baldwin took it strong to the basket early with seven seconds left before the siren and was stopped by Hines, jump ball. The ball ended up with Shields, who was immediately fouled and hit only one free throw. Zipser had achance to equalize and Lucic was also free, but the three-pointer missed the target. Bayern is out of the Euroleague Playoffs
Photo credit: Cottini, Stickel