75-66 loss in Game 3: Bayern in do-or-die duel with Barça on Friday

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The Bayern Basketball team missed another upset in the EuroLeague playoffs: The Munich team deservedly lost 75-66 to the big title favorites FC Barcelona in front of 6,500 fans in the completely sold-out Audi Dome on Wednesday night , the experienced Spanish champion documented its ambitions with a concentrated performance and now lead 2-1. The fourth game on Friday (20:45) is thus a do-or-die duel for the team of coach Andrea Trinchieri just 48 hours later.


Barça started more focused on offense, scored brilliantly from outside and went up big 18-5 after just five minutes. Last year's finalist gave hardly any room for easy shots and presented their enormous individual quality. 

The Threes don't fall

Obviously, Barça continued to produce in the style of a top team and often fought harder on 50-50 balls. Bayern - without Corey Walden and Darrun Hilliard - struggled for a long time to find offensive rhythm, and the threes (4 of 24) just weren't falling. But before the last quarter, FCBB had come within striking distance at 59-49 but superstar Nikola Mirotic (25) and his eleven points in a row took the lead back up to 72-56 (34th). The top scorer for Munich was Vladimir Lucic with 17 points.


Vladimir Lucic (17 Points/6 Rebounds), Augustine Rubit (14/8 Reb), Ognjen Jaramaz (13), Nick Weiler-Babb (9), Othello Hunter (7/7 Reb), Deshaun Thomas (4), Leon Radosevic (2), Nihad Djedovic, Gavin Schilling, Zan Mark Sisko, Andreas Obst und Jason George.

Top scorer Barcelona:

Nikola Mirotic (25 Points)


Borys Ryzhyk, Sreten Radovic, Mehdi Difallah


6,500 - sell-out

Points per quarter Bayern - Barcelona: 17-26, 1423, 18-10, 17-16.

Stats:  Two-point shooting: 47% (FCBB) // 66% (Barcelona); Three-point shooting: 16% // 34%; Free-throw shooting: 81% // 91%; Rebounds: 35 // 30; Assists: 13 // 17; Turnovers:  6 // 10.


Andrea Trinchieri:

"Congratulations to Barça, they were better, played more physically, every block was at the limit. We had a very bad first half, but the only thing I really didn't like was that frustration became a factor. You don't have a chance that way. We started badly, giving nine points to Laprovittola and eight free throws in the first quarter to Mirotic. So the mountain to climb became an Everest. But I'm very happy with the second half, we fought and came back until the chance for momentum on the three-pointer from Luca's corner; we couldn't make it and in the end they were better and deserved to win.

"The Mountaint became Everest"

I'm not hopeless or overwhelmed now, it was the expected game. (...) When you hit four of 24 threes against a bigger team, you almost can't play. But we went to the line, got more rebounds - we're still in the series. (...) A lot of times great players play great and I think Mirotic played like the best four in the EuroLeague; he showed why he has such a contract and such a role. We defended very well against him in the first games, but the best way to play against him is to be good against him on offense. But Deshaun didn't find his rhythm today and then the other book opens up: how do you defend Mirotic? He was incredible and sometimes you have to admit that. (...)

Against a team like Barça you always play like against a wall. They did a very good job of raising the game to a physical level, not allowing us any pace with a lot of contact. (...) We played against the top ranked team and fought hard - they were better. They are the favorite and we are definitely the underdog with injured players. (...) It's the same as always now: you take your backpack home, which is full of crap, look at it and try to find solutions. Tomorrow you have to convince your players that you are better than today. We're in the series."

Nihad Djedovic: "This was a difficult game. We knew that Barcelona would certainly come out better than in the second game, they showed that today. They played superior in the first half. In the second half we came back a little bit, but we weren't lucky enough to hit one or two threes and find the rhythm. But we have the next game in two days and hopefully we'll manage better then. We talked at halftime about defending better and not putting ourselves under so much pressure. Then we just played basketball. Overall, though, we lacked a few crucial situations to make the comeback. For game four, the second half from today should be a lesson for us."

Sell-out at the Audi Dome

Game Recap:

Trinchieri relied on Nick Weiler-Babb, Nihad Djedovic, Vladimir Lucic, Deshaun Thomas and Leon Radosevic at the start. The guests had the better start: Laprovittola with two threes. Lucic countered with a long-range shot to make it 6-3 after two minutes. But Barça was obviously eager for revenge for the home defeat in Game 2, which was considered an insult to their majesty, and presented themselves more focused and determined. The deficit was already in double digits halfway through the first quarter (16-5/5th minute of play). Lucic kept the Munich team in the game (20-12/7th), but the quality of the league leaders from Spain was impressive. Hardly a single shot missed the target, and Mirotic and Co. did not  have a turnover. Driven on by the fans in the Audi Dome, the Bavarians responded with fighting spirit and quickly caught up (22-17/9th), only for the visitors to counter again with two goals to make it 26-17 after the first quarter.

After 78 seconds in the second quarter Coach Trinchieri took a timeout as the deficit had grown to 30-17. Barça exuded more confidence. The visitors made up for successful offensive actions by Munich with clever pick-and-rolls seemingly effortlessly - the double-digit deficit persisted and was extended by the EuroLeague title aspirants with a 11-0 run (41-22/16th). Bayern looked unsettled and a bit at a loss in view of Barça's quality. For the FCBB, it was now a matter of not getting too down and saving themselves for the half-time break.

Bayern can't catch up but continue to fight

Munich came out of the break determined, but continued to miss good chances. Nick Weiler-Babb thrilled the fans with two buckets and combined with a fabulous offensive rebound (49-35/22nd). Thomas, who excelled in game two, tried everything, but the shots just didn't drop today. In contrast, Barça's Nick Calathes played with experience and class and kept the visitors' lead in the overwhelming range (57-39/26th). The pattern of the first half seemed to repeat itself: Whenever the Munich team had fought its way to within a few points, the favorite countered (59-43/28th). Lucic and Weiler-Babb led the way in exemplary fashion and forced turnovers and the fans got louder again. Lucic had a three-pointer to level the deficit, but the ball rolled off the hoop again. After all, five seconds before the end of the third quarter Lucic shortened the gap to 59-49.

Mirotic is unstoppable

Suddenly Barcelona's star Mirotic was there, scoring eleven points in a row (72-56/34th). The Bavarians showed character and fought their way back to 72-61 with points from Jaramaz and Rubit (36th). A three-pointer by Barça's Kyle Kuric was the next damper on the Munich team's race to catch up, as the FCBB then refused to score for almost three minutes against the tough defense of the favorites. The Bayern fans rose to their feet and cheered the players on, even though it was already clear that the lead in the best-of-five series was not going to happen this evening. Jaramaz was on hand once again with five points in a row, but Barcelona now took their time and routinely wrapped up the victory. An outstanding effort by the Munich team right up to the last second at least pushed the deficit into single digits - which gives hope for Game 4 on Friday.


(c) Eirich, Pahnke & Stickel