Bayern wins against the Merlins 83-79
The FC Bayern basketball team leads its playoff series against the Merlins from Crailsheim 2-0 after their second win in the Audi Dome. Coach Andrea Trinchieri's team won the second duel 83-79 and was in control of the game overall despite a very tight final few minutes. After a good start, the strong-fighting visitors briefly took the lead before the break, before top scorer D.J. Seeley shone in the third quarter with 20 of his 33 points. Crailsheim, however, kept up with a total of eleven three-pointers and especially 17 offensive rebounds before Seeley removed any last doubts at the free-throw line. Just as important as the victory was the fact that Vladimir Lucic apparently did not suffer any significant injuries when he severely twisted his left foot.
The third game of the best-of-five series now takes place on Sunday with tip-off at 18:00 in Crailsheim.
For Bayern, Nihad Djedovic finally returned to the squad after a 105-day absence, but the captain has yet to make an appearance on the court. Nick Weiler-Babb is still injured (foot), JaJuan Johnson, David Kramer and Diego Flaccadori took a break.
FC Bayern Basketball – Hakro Merlins Crailsheim: 83-79 (42-39)
D.J.Seeley (33 Points), Jalen Reynolds (13/ 6 Rebounds), Paul Zipser (12), Wade Baldwin (10/ 8 Assists), Leon Radosevic (5), Vladimir Lucic (4), Zan Mark Sisko (4), James Gist (2), Robin Amaize, Sasha Grant, Nihad Djedovic und Jason George
Trae Bell-Haynes (23 Points)
Moritz Reiter, Clemens Fritz, Enrico Streit
Andrea Trinchieri: "When you win the first game with a good lead, the second one is always similar in these series: Crailsheim played better, with more energy and out-rebounded in an incredible way. I mean 17 offensive rebounds? Usually we are the better team in that statistic. Like I said, Crailsheim is a good team with a good coach. We had a thriller at the end, but the most important thing is that we won today and it's 2-0. We didn't shine, but we did the right things when we had to. D.J. Seeley had an impressive game on offense, he was unbelievable. Now we have to try to rebound tomorrow, we play again in 48 hours, it's tough. We'll see how Lucic feels; I couldn't substitute him (after the break) because otherwise he wouldn't come back at all. Because you have to stay warm when you twist your foot like that. He still helped us a lot and his experience was important. Nihad would need training, but we just don't train. The good thing for him, for us and for his teammates is that he is healthy now. Now it's on to the second part, conditioning, rhythm."
D.J. Seeley: "It was a good game. We were a little tired as a team, but found a way to still win the game. In game three, I expect Crailsheim to come out and give everything they have because it's the deciding game for them. We have to defend well against them and bring the series to a good conclusion. But that's going to be tough because they're a good team that can score at any time. We have to keep the focus high. I never think about losing. We just have to do what we have to do, then we can win."
Tuomas Iisalo, Coach Hakro Merlins: "We played one of our best games of the season against a very good opponent. They had a two-point shooting percentage of 68 percent and a three-point shooting percentage of 43. I think we defended quite well and rebounded much better and forced more turnovers. But the quality in the first half of Zipser, of Reynolds was crucial, and then D.J. Seeley was unstoppable today. We did a lot of things right."Game recap:
Trinchieri's front five consisted of Wade Baldwin, D.J. Seeley, Paul Zipser, James Gist and Leon Radosevic, who started the second playoff home game with focus. Gist came in hot after taking a break in game one and got the first points of the game. Defensively, the Munich team was wide awake and took the ball away from Crailsheim five times in the first quarter (18-6/5th). At first, the guests didn't get going, until Maurice Stuckey got hot and shortened the gap with two three-pointers in a row. But Zipser had his sights set well again and ensured a successful start with an early twelve points (25-20).
In the second quarter, Baldwin showed his qualities as a passer and conjured up one "pick-up play" after another from his sleeve. The guard found a grateful recipient in Jalen Reynolds (31-23/14th). For the Hakro Merlins, top scorer Trae Bell-Haynes slowly woke up and found his way into the zone. During one of the trips to the basket, Vladimir Lucic twisted his left foot and had to go to the locker room. Tuomas Iisalo's team used this downer to tie the game (32-32/17th). Jalen Reynolds took advantage of a break away and hammered the ball over center Jamuni McNeace into the basket. His subsequent three-pointer secured a slim lead at the break (42-39).
In the second half, the Bayern defense was back where it belonged, while Seeley directly poured in seven points forcing a timeout from Iisalo after two minutes (49-39). But the Bayern guard was hot now and started his own personal 10-2 run. Two three-pointers by Bogdan Radosavljevic cooled the hot phase but the quarter belonged to D.J.Seeley alone, who took the whole team on his shoulders and scored 18 points in a row. With additional points from the floor general Baldwin (8 assists), the hosts managed to pull away a bit (67-58).
In the final period, Bayern kept the physicality high and matched the aggressive play of the Hakro Merlins. On offense, the ball ran through many hands before it landed with the right recipients like Lucic and Reynolds (73-62/35th). The game, on the other hand, slowly slipped out of the hands of the guests. Bell Haynes and McNeace, however, weren't finished and went on a 10-2 run (75-72/33rd). But Bayern had a life insurance named Seeley. With his three-pointer and an assist to Baldwin, the hosts stayed in front (81-77/39th). A steal by Baldwin took time off the clock again and put Crailsheim under pressure. With two ice-cold free throws, Seeley secured the second win in the quarterfinal series after the 86-66 victory in Game 1.
Photo credit: Krug, Eirich