Bayern stays in the game against favorite Barça

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In many phases of the game the Bayern Basketball Team were on a par with the top favorites for Europe's crown, but now they are down 0-1 in the EuroLeague playoffs against FC Barcelona. Andrea Trinchieri's team lost the opener of the best-of-five series in front of 7,600 loud spectators at the Palau Blaugrana after a spirited fight 77-67. The depth of the first title contender was noticeable over the distance for the battling Bayern basketball team, whose top scorers were Vladimir Lucic (20 points) and Darrun Hilliard (12), who was injured in the final quarter.

The next game will be played in 45 hours, on Thursday at 20:00 (MagentaSport); game three will take place next Wednesday (April 27th, 20:30) in Munich's Audi Dome.



In it until the 36th minute - Hilliard in hospital

The FCBB - still without Corey Walden - quickly made it clear that they were by no means going to roll over. After seven intense minutes, they led 22-13 with four three-pointers, and the crowd was already roaring. Barça then used physicality to take the lead after a 12-0 run (25-22/11th). The first seed kept the intensity high, the guest suffered from turnovers and found it difficult to finish.

Trailing clearly for the first time 45-33 at the break, the FCBB responded as so often with a ever-give-up mentality - and a 10-0 run to get within two at 45-43 (25th). Barça now successfully sought advantages via powerhouse Davies (19 points), at 65-51 Hilliard injured himself with a suspected broken collarbone. The next spurt brought Bayern close at 69-64 (36th) and renewed hopes of an upset, but Mirotic & Co. held their nerve.


FC Barcelona – FC Bayern Basketball 77:67 (43:33)


Vladimir Lucic (20 Points), Darrun Hilliard (12), Augustine Rubit (8/6 Rebounds), Othello Hunter (7), Nick Weiler-Babb (7/6 Rebounds), Ognjen Jaramaz (6), Leon Radosevic (5), Zan Mark Sisko (2), Nihad Djedovic, Deshaun Thomas, Andreas Obst und Jason George

Top scorer Barcelona:

Brandon Davies (19 Points)


Matej Boltauzer, Olegs Latisevs, Uros Nikolic



Points per quarter Bayern - Barcelona: 22-20, 11-23, 18-19, 16-15

Stats: Two-point shooting: 50% (FCBB) // 68% (Barca); Three-point shooting: 41% // 38%; Free-throw shooting: 84% // 65%; Rebounds:  28 // 25; Assists:  9 // 18; turnovers: 16 // 10


FCBB head coach, Andrea Trinchieri:  "Congratulations to Barça, I think in the end they deserved to win. We fought, had a very good first quarter; in both after that we were so-so and made some mistakes that don't go at this level. Because with mistakes like that, you don't survive here. But to tell you the truth, I'm very proud of my team because we came back and fought. And we have a very bad, serious injury to Hilliard, it looks like a broken collarbone. That shows how physical this game was. I think our not so good effectiveness cost us the game. In addition, the Barça defense did a very good job: We had too many turnovers, we don't usually have that as a team. We paid a high price for that today. But it's game one, we're in the series and they moved the rook, like in chess. They're a great team and now we have to find solutions for game two. (...) To compete in the Palau Blaugrana, we need more players at the highest level. (...) Lucic was great, Jaramaz played well, Hilliard too, Hunter too. But others need to step up, basketball is a team sport. (...) We know now what the level is here. (...) The stress we faced here was huge, the game was extremely physical, with a lot of contact. And I think Barça is more used to such contact. (...) We have to deal with Hilliard's fracture now. I didn't see the play, but such a fracture on a screen - wow, I don't want to see the block anymore either. (...) Now it's 0-1 and I'm honest that we weren't good enough to win. Now we have to fill this gap in game two, we have nothing to lose. (...) My team could have melted down today, the atmosphere here today was not as usual either. But we came back and had a chance to get within two for the momentum. We will try everything again on Thursday."    

Vladimir Lucic, FCBB Forward: "We had a solid start. During the second quarter we had a lot of defensive mistakes  - starting with bad communication. In the end, Barca is also a good team, the best team in the regular season. They deserved their first win. Now we have to show better in the second game, fight again, show good work more often and come back here and compete with them again."     

Barcelona head coach, Sarunas Jasikevicius: "There will be four more intense games like this. So it's important for us to start here at home. I think the game was a clear message for the rest of the series. We have to play our best basketball to beat this team. If we let down a little bit with our concentration, like today in the third quarter, they come right back into the game. That's the character of this Bayern team that they've been showing for a year and a half."

Game recap:

The starting five in the Palau Blaugrana consisted of Nick Weiler-Babb, Jason George, Vladimir Lucic, Augustine Rubit and Leon Radosevic. Those who had expected pure dominance from the big favorites were initially deceived. Because Lucic and Radosevic directly put their stamp on the game and got the offense going with ten points (10-8/4th minute). The Catalans were impressed by the firepower of the guests, with Othello Hunter and Darrun Hilliard adding from downtown. The Bavarians also pushed their opponents to their limits defensively. With a lot of effort they resisted the concentrated individual class, which kept Barcelona in the game despite a weak start (22-20).

In the second quarter, the Munich team initially struggled to get going. Only after three minutes did leader Lucic once again redeem the stalled offense (25-25/13th). Once again, it was the biting defense that gave Nikola Mirotic and his supporters a hard time. But the team of Sarunas Jasikevicius also succeeded in completely closing the door around their own basket. Every single Munich point had to be fought hard for, while Brandon Davies showed off his physicality under the basket. The result: a double-digit halftime lead for the first seed (43-33).  

Bayern closes the gap to 45-44 but Barcelona finds answers

In the second half, too, the way to the Catalan basket remained blocked - until Lucic hit another three-pointer and carried his team along the way. Led by guards Ognjen Jaramaz and Nick Weiler-Babb, a 10-0 run brought Bayern to within two (45-43/24th). In the style of a top team, however, Barca took advantage of every small mistake on defense, especially to put top scorer Davies in the spotlight again and again. But the Bavarians did not give up, kept the quarter even and thus preserved the hope of a comeback (62-51).   

Only 40 seconds were played in the final quarter when Trinchieri took a timeout after a three-pointer by Roland Smits. Only a little later the shock moment when Hilliard had to go to the locker room with a sore shoulder after a collision with Smits. The home side took advantage of the brief stalemate to pull the game further to their side with a thumping dunk by Dante Exum. But again the eighth-place team in the league proved they had morale and came back to within five points via three threes (67-62/36th). This time it was youngster Rokas Jokubaitis who had the answer ready and brought some comfort back for Barcelona. Despite a great fight and an outstanding performance from Lucic, the team lost against the amazing depth of first-place Barcelona.


(c) Stickel

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