A statement game from Bayern in Berlin
A terrific, energetic performance produced the next statement win for the Bayern Basketball team which inflicted the first home loss on Alba Berlin two weeks after winning the German Cup. In front of a good 13,000 spectators, two late three-pointers by Seeley secured the 76-71 (43:43) road victory for head coach Andrea Trinchieri's team in a gripping Saturday thriller. It was only the second loss of the season for the hosts.
In addition to Seeley (17), veteran Hunter excelled as the top scorer (24) just 45 hours after the EuroLeague victory over Red Star Belgrade (87-80), while Bonga grabbed twelve rebounds. The tough defense provoked 21 turnovers by the league leader.
On Tuesday (21:00, Audi Dome), the Munich team will host French champion Lyon-Villeurbanne in the EuroLeague.
Hunter is top scorer while Lucic takes a break
Without the rested captain Lucic (back) and Rubit and Harris the offense started cold with no rhythm (12-4/7th). Walden then loosened things up from distance and Hunter's alley-oop brought the first lead (24-23/14th). Ten steals compensated for far too many fouls before half (10-5).
Despite strong rebounding for Bayern (16 offensive), it remained close because Berlin had advantages from the outside - and Munich held a 62-55 lead (35th). The score was 71:71 in the final minute, but then Seeley came up huge.
Alba Berlin - FC Bayern Basketball 71-76
Othello Hunter (24 Points, 3 Threes), D.J. Seeley (17, 3 Dreier), Corey Walden (11), Andreas Obst (7), Isaac Bonga (6, 12 Rebounds), Freddie Gillespie (4), Nick Weiler-Babb (3), Niels Giffey (2), Cassius Winston (2), Niklas Wimberg, Paul Zipser und Ognjen Jaramaz
Jaleen Smith (14 Points)
Robert Lottermoser, Gentian Cici, Carsten Straube
Score per quarter:16-17, 27-26, 13-7, 20-21.
Stats: Two-point shooting: 57% (FCBB) // 46% (Berlin); Three-point shooting: 32% // 46%; Free-throw shooting: 75% // 79%; Rebounds: 37 // 30; Assists: 17 // 14; Turnovers: 13 // 21
Andrea Trinchieri: "Berlin had a very strong start and made it 10-2, we were late in everything. But with the players from the bench we reached their energy level, from that point on it was a very close game with great plays on both sides. We were able to win in Berlin despite having only four free throws and despite 46 percent on Alba's threes, including really very difficult shots, congratulations to their players for that. But we grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, that was the key besides the big plays at the end by Winston, Hunter and D.J. Seeley. It was important to play with that basketball personality and very high concentration because we have a lot of players at the same position out there. It was important to understand that we also have to do the dirty part of the job, and Bonga was great at that and decisive with twelve rebounds, six of them offensive. (...)
Andi Obst was already dead after the Red Star game. But he played both ends of the court, usually shooters are more passive on defense but he works really hard on defense, although he's paying his price now for his two-month injury break. But he is important for us, even if he doesn't play well. (...) You can't cheat on your birthday. But if you're smart, you can trick your head. We manage to make Othello feel younger. He's a veteran and had an incredible game."
Othello Hunter: "We stayed focused and hit our shots pretty well - coach told us no matter who's open to shoot. The energy was all there today. When we play a good team, we definitely want to win - and the guys fought great. I don't know if that was my career-high today. I just wanted to play and didn't think much about it, that was all. As far as threes go, I'm getting old, I don't want to bang my body in there like that anymore. So I just shoot it and have fun."
Niels Giffey: "We stuck with it today and kept our focus high. We then didn't shape the game the way we did in the first half, which was a high-scoring game, almost more in the Alba style. We then changed that and put a different style, our style, on the game. In this game, that worked. But you have to say that all three wins against Alba this season were close. In the end, we had the focus and shots were made that hadn't been made before. That's extremely good for us when shots like the one at the end by D.J. fall in. Seeley is relaxed about those things, which is enviable."
Cassius Winston, Andreas Obst, Isaac Bonga, Niklas Wimberg and Freddie Gillespie were Andrea Trinchieri's choice for the starting five. Berlin, who were particularly motivated after their recent loss in the Cup Final against their southern rivals, got off to a better start on Matchday 22. The Munich team needed more than three minutes for their first basket as Obst scored to make it 5-2 (4th). Less than a minute later, Trinchieri recognized a need to talk, as his men were down 10-2 and Gillespie had also committed his second foul early on. Berlin looked more focused and more aggressive defensively. Not much was going right for FCBB, but at least the deficit was kept in the halfway moderate range (12-7/8.). The poor play seemed like it would last the full quarter but but suddenly the Munich team was fully awake and Hunter and twice Walden initiated a 9-0 run within one minute and after the quarter it was 17-16.
A game of runs
The guests were now fully on their A-game in defense and they also worked hard on the offensive boards, Bonga was a big part of the success. Walden served up Hunter with an alley-oop dunk that gave FCBB its first lead (24-23/14th). Alba stabilized with a 9-0 run, time-out Mülnchen (32-27/16th). Hunter kept Bayern in the game with two three-pointers (37-33/17th). The momentum was now with Munich who forced the hosts to lose several turnovers and the reward for their efforts was a 13-2 run to take the lead at 40-37 (19th). The teams went into the halftime break tied 43-43.
After six minutes of play only six points scored
The score seemed to be burned into the display LEDs on the jumbotron as no basket was scored for what felt like an eternity. Gillespie ended the lull after just under four minutes with a powerful dunk and a clever assist from Seeley. To the great astonishment of their own fans, Berlin remained without a basket for more than six minutes. The only annoying thing from the Munich perspective was that the FCBB could not capitalize on it (47-45/27th). Bayern worked hard on the offensive boards and Hunter put his stamp on the game with a few more baskets to take a six-point lead - 56-50 after three quarters.
Winston and Seeley with ice water in their veins
With both ends of the floor defended tightly, scoring was rare. Seeley picked another offensive rebound after two minutes of the quarter and scored to make it 58-53.Maodo Lo stepped in and heralded the Berliners' comeback as they tied the game with a 7-0 run to make it 62-62 (37th). The crowd was now in full force, heading into crunch time, Munich found themselves trailing 66-64. After the timeout, Winston hit a difficult shot to bring it back to even (66-66/39.th). Hunter scored under the basket but Lo answered directly with a jumper to equalize again (68-68/ 50 seconds left). Winston found Seeley who calmly knocks in a three-pointer (71-68/ 40 seconds left). Berlin's Jaleen Smith countered no less impressively with a long three-pointer (71-71/37 seconds left). But once again the ball quickly found Seeley, who unbelievably scored again from beyond the three-point line - perhaps the biggest shot of the year (74-71/ 26 seconds left). Lo misseed his shot and Bonga was fouled and hit both free throws - victory with an exclamation mark.