Sensation in Barcelona, Bayern equalizes to 1-1!
What was not thought possible actually happened: The Bayern basketball team won the second showdown of the best-of-five series at EuroLeague title favorites FC Barcelona 90.75 and unexpectedly evened the series at 1-1! Thus, the underdog earned a second home game. Head coach Andrea Trinchieri's team played a fascinating first half in the Catalan madhouse of the Palau Blaugrana and held their nerve until the end with sensational fighting spirit.
The most points for the guests, who defended brilliantly in front of 6,300 spectators, were scored by the outstanding Deshaun Thomas (25 points, 6/7 threes) ahead of national player Andreas Obst (15), Nick Weiler-Babb (12), Ognjen Jaramaz (12) and Augustine Rubit (10).
Thomas on fire
The series now moves to Munich's Audi Dome, with Game Three starting on Wednesday (April 27th) at 20:30. The fourth game is scheduled for the following Friday (April 29th, 20:45), also at the Audi Dome. Before that, the Bavarians have to play the tough away game in the BBL at Hamburg Towers on Sunday (18:00).
Compared to Tuesday (77-67 loss), Bayern was missing top scorer Darrun Hilliard, who was out with a broken collarbone and underwent successful surgery on Thursday morning; playmaker Corey Walden is also still missing, center Leon Radosevic also twisted his ankle early and had to miss most of the game.
Two Obst threes change the momentum
Bayern started convincingly as in game one (9-3/2nd), rushing for every ball like beach volleyball players. The favorite looked helpless against a smart defense - and saw inspiring runs by the guests to take a 35-20 and then 47-31 lead! This unreal level was hard to sustain over the full distance against Barça's elite top squad, which was now defending hard itself. There was a brief lack of energy in the open after the break, and the host was allowed to go to the line frequently in the third quarter after 5-0 foul whistles (23rd) - and moved to 61-56 (29th). It was two Obst threes that gave momentum and morale back. Suddenly it was 70-56 (32nd) and the upset was achieved.
FC Barcelona - FC Bayern Basketball 75:90 (35:48)
Deshaun Thomas (25 Points/6 Threes/7 Rebounds), Andreas Obst (15/4 Dreier), Nick Weiler-Babb (12/8 Rebounds), Ognjen Jaramaz (11/5 Assists), Augustine Rubit (10/8 Rebounds), Nihad Djedovic (6), Vladimir Lucic (5), Othello Hunter (4), Zan Mark Sisko (2), Leon Radosevic, Jason George und Paul Zipser
Laprovittola und Mirotic (jeweils 16 Points)
Ilija Belosevic, Damir Javor, Tomislav Hordov
Quotes:FCBB head coach, Andrea Trinchieri: "I have to congratulate my players, they played a great game, from the jump to the end. They fought, gave an incredible amount of energy against a great opponent. But I'm also very realistic and grounded now, because Barça knows how to deal with a 1-1. Today we won the chance to have two home games - that's all we achieved. I'm happy for my players and I'm very proud, but I know exactly who we're playing next Wednesday. It would not be wise to think that we can play better (than today). Wednesday will be a completely different game. Our ideas today were linked to desire, intensity and passion, and the will and sacrifice of my players made the 90 points possible. But we also have to be able to win 60-59 at times. This is a playoff series against the best team, the best coach, the best system. I'm still very happy for our club as well, because this is only our second year in the playoffs and the organization is a good ten years old; we still have remnants of our mother's milk stuck to our mouths. We came without Hilliard, who had a successful surgery this morning, Radosevic was out after three minutes today and Walden hasn't played for 55 days - and now we come to Spain and beat Real now Barca in 15 days first, these are already very important events for us. When they told me after the third quarter (on Tuesday) that Darrun had a collarbone book - I just thought, that's not possible! Then I came back to the hotel very sad - and saw the team moving together. And so we didn't think about what we were going to miss with Hilliard, but what we could do differently. But again, I know exactly where I am and I have an inkling of what's going to happen on Wednesday. Even last year Barça was 1-1 in the series and now they don't even bat an eyebrow. Of course they're pissed, but their goal is to destroy us on Wednesday. So we have to put the helmet on and be ready to play again." Deshaun Thomas, FCBB Forward: "The second game was very important for us, we knew that. We responded and made decisive moves. Many players contributed, for example Andi Obst, Ognjen Jaramaz or me as well. I think we came out and played hard, it was a good game. It was a significant win for us, by the way, for me as well. In the first game, I had a hard time getting into the rhythm. But in this game, my team needed me, and I came out and played well for them."
FCBB head coach Andrea Trinchieri relied on starters Nick Weiler-Babb, Nihad Djedovic, Vladimir Lucic, Deshaun Thomas and Leon Radosevic in the second meeting with the heavily favored Catalans. Nihad Djedovic sank the first three-pointer for the Munich team after eleven seconds, and Lucic blocked Barça's star Nikola Mirotic on the following defensive sequence. A major change as a lesson from game one was obviously the higher tempo, with which the Bavarians surprised the opponent and led 11-6 after four minutes. Andreas Obst stopped a 7-0 run of the Spaniards with a three-pointer to make it 14-13 (6th). Munich's commitment was sensational, they fought for every ball and thus caused Barcelona's coach Jasikevicius to call a timeout (18-16/9th). However, the momentum was clearly with the FCBB, who snatched the first quarter with a 23-18 score.
Deshaun Thomas obviously had his mind set on winning and he ran completely hot and scored ten points in a row at the beginning of the second quarter for a double-digit lead (33-20/13th). The defense fought passionately. Barcelona got into better shape and started to catch up but a three-pointer by Obst calmed down the raging fans, who rubbed their eyes in amazement (38-25/15th). The game revealed a fabulous intensity and the Munich team showed nerves of steel and just did their thing - again Thomas upped the lead to 42-27 (17th). Bayern's defense forced Barça into nine turnovers in the first half, and Thomas also sank the three-pointer for a 47-31 lead (19th).
Great will and passion
The first-place team in the EuroLeague came out of the locker room more aggressive, as expected, but Munich took the fight to them. Thomas knocked in a three-pointer to make it 51-38 (23rd), but the FCBB picked up its fifth team foul early on. Barça's Kyle Kuric sank his second three-pointer and, with the mad fans behind him, built up powerful pressure, and the lead melted away (53-45/25th). Bayern fought back with everything they had - Deshaun Thomas kept the lead at 56-47 (27th). For the Munich team, it was now a matter of saving themselves with a lead into the quarter break, because every basket against Barcelona's defense was hard work, like Jaramaz's bucket to make it 58-49 (28th). The Spaniards cleverly drew fouls and reduced the deficit from the free-throw line (60-54/29th). Obst showed up big by putting two three-pointers in the Catalans' basket within 20 seconds.
Willpower keeps the title favorite at bay
Deshaun Thomas was undoubtedly the player of the night, scoring the first basket in the final quarter with a three-pointer almost two minutes into the quarter (70:56/32nd). The arena quieted down - and that was an unmistakable sign of the Munich team's impressive performance both defensively and offensively. A timeout by Barça led to a 6:0 run by the Spaniards, now Trinchieri chose the remedy timeout (72:65/35th). The Bavarians showed character without end, because they braced themselves with all their might against the onrushing Spaniards. Nick Weiler-Babb sank a cool and cheeky three-pointer to make it 83:68 (37th). The first fans left the hall, but the Munich team made it exciting again by ball losses and carelessness in defense (86:72/39th). However, the Bavarians, who were excellently set up by Coach Trinchieri, did not let this victory slip away and caused a sensation in the EuroLeague with a sensational performance.
(c) Molina & Stickel