Bayern take 1-0 lead in their playoff series against the Merlins

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The FC Bayern basketball team took the lead in their playoff series against the Merlins from Crailsheim with a commanding home victory: Only three days after the hard-fought Top Four win against Alba Berlin (85-79), the cup winners won 86-66, not letting the guests get closer than nine points after a good opening quarter. The FCBB also compensated for the highly controversial early exit of Wade Baldwin due to a technical foul in the twelfth minute. Game two will take place the day after tomorrow on Friday at 19:00 again at the Audi Dome; game three is then on the road at the Merlins.

For Bayern, Nihad Djedovic (individual training) and Nick Weiler-Babb (foot) were still missing, James Gist and Diego Flaccadori also took a break.


Ratiopharm Ulm - FC Bayern Basketball 102-104 (91-91/84-84/36-49) n.2.V.


Vladimir Lucic (22 Points/7 Rebounds), Zan Mark Sisko (16), Paul Zipser (14), Leon Radosevic (10), Jalen Reynolds (9/7 Rebounds), D.J. Seeley (6/7 Assists), JaJuan Johnson (6/7 Rebounds), Robin Amaize (3), Wade Baldwin, Sasha Grant, David Krämer und Jason George.

Topscorer Crailsheim:

Trae Bell-Haynes (23 Points)


Carsten Straube, Benjamin Barth, Armin Mutapcic

Points per quarter Bayern - Crailsheim: 22-13, 29-25, 15-17, 20-11.

Stats: Two-point shooting: 44% (FCBB) // 48% (Crailsheim); Three-point shooting: 44% // 28%; Free-throw shooting: 86% // 80%; Rebounds: 41 // 34; Assists: 21 // 9; Turnovers: 9 // 15.

Andrea Trinchieri: "All best-of-five series in this 2-2-1 are usually the same: one team comes in, makes the first move and then you navigate through it. Today we were solid, played good defense and ran the ball well. What's more, we're now in the series, leading 1-0 thanks to a good team performance. We were even able to play without Baldwin. We controlled the game through our defense, but they are very talented on offense; we saw what kind of points Bell-Haynes managed in the second half. They are a dangerous team and can score easily, plus their spacing is problematic to cover because they have fives that can shoot. They always have a lot of shooters on the court and perhaps the best pure one-on-one player in the league in Bell-Haynes. We have to adjust to a whole different second game and think it's zero to zero. (...) Wade is working hard to control himself better. I was very close: they whistled an unsportsmanlike that I would like to watch again on video. But I'm not commenting on that. But Wade didn't say a word and walked away moving his hand. To me, that's totally crazy. And: in the second half, a player of the opponent made the same gesture, right in front of this referee. And: no whistle. So what's the standard there, how can I help my players? Taking the starting point guard out like that in the playoffs, sending him to the locker room because of that - okay, maybe people at home would rather see the referees than players scoring, passing and dunking. That's new."                

Zan Mark Sisko: "I think we executed what we set out to do before the game. We played good defense from the first second to the last. We had problems with the very talented guard Bell-Haynes and we have to do better in the next game. The result is a bit deceiving and doesn't quite reflect the way the game went, because it was a tougher game than it looks. So we have to prepare as well as we can for the next game. Baldwin got shut out early, so that means more minutes for me. I just tried to lead the team as best I could to win the game."

Game recap:
FCBB coach Andrea Trinchieri, who called before the game to curb the opponent's notorious pace, relied on brakemen - starters - Wade Baldwin, D.J. Seeley, Paul Zipser, JaJuan Johnson and Leon Radosevic. After exactly 14 seconds, the first three-pointer hit the Crailsheim basket from Zipser. (6-3/2nd minute of the game). However, the guests were tied with Bayern after the regular season for a reason and they grabbed the lead (10-8/6th). Zipser, however, was so on fire, he scored at will and already had eleven points to his account in the first quarter. A 9-0 run by the fluid and focused FCBB forced Merlins coach Tuomas Iisoalo to take a timeout (17-10/8th). After the first quarter, the newly-crowned Cup winners led 22-13.

Sisko contributed his second three-pointer for a double-digit lead (25-13/11th). Munich was running almost perfectly (29-15/13th), but Baldwin got himself  an unsportsmanlike foul and immediately afterwards a technical foul, which unfortunately led to his early exit.For the guests, the just-crowned top offensive player in the BBL, Trae Bell-Haynes, committed his third foul and headed towards the bench. But Bayern were back on track thanks to Lucic and his alley-oop dunk making it 35-21 (14th). Bayern defended properly and set the tone in rebounding, but minor careless mistakes in attack played into the cards of the Merlins, who cut the lead to ten points shortly before halftime. Robin Amaize managed a buzzer beater at the break and took a 51-38 lead.

Zipser came free to shoot and his almost casual three-pointer meant a 54-38 lead (22nd). The favorite had the matter under control, but the Merlins were lurking for their chance. Reynolds pushed his way with all his might under the basket to take a 62-46 lead (26th). Bell-Haynes kept his team in the game, but the FCBB, who were a bit more careless, maintained the double-digit lead.

Zan Mark Sisko took responsibility as he has done so often this season, directing and scoring prudently. Combined with a tighter defense, this resulted in an 8-0 run by the hosts (73-57/33rd). Bell-Haynes hinted his great skill several times, but Robin Amaize answered with a great bucket of his own. Radosevic also convinced with effort and points (79-64/36th). Bayern ran the ball offensively very well and it was statistically proven by more than 20 assists. Self-confident and simply cool, they were unassailable heading into crunch time. Lucic's pounding dunk to make it 86-66 was the final exlamation mark to the first playoff win in 2021.



Photo credit: Stickel, Eirich, Pahnke