Maccabi uses defense to power past Bayern
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv leaned on outstanding defense to give its playoffs challenge a major boost with a 70-77 road victory at FC Bayern Munich. The Israeli champs led for most of the night, establishing a double-digit lead in the third quarter and staying in front the rest of the way despite a fourth-quarter rally from Bayern. The two sides are now both 12-13, even on wins with three other teams for seventh place ahead of Friday's games. Scottie Wilbekin led the way for Maccabi with 19 points and 6 assists and Tarik Black contributed 14 points and 7 rebounds. Michael Roll scored 11 points and John DiBartolomeo added 10. Bayern was paced by 17 points and 7 rebounds from Derrick Williams and Danilo Barthel combined 16 points, 6 points and 3 assists.
The opening stages were closely contested with defenses on top, although Angelo Caloiaro scored twice – including a three-point play. Quickfire baskets from Black and DeAndre Kane gave Maccabi a 9-14 edge, but Barthel scored twice in a 7-0 run to send Bayern ahead before Kane threw down an alley-oop for a 17-18 lead at the end of the first. After a quiet spell, a big dunk from Nemanja Dangubic and a three-pointer from Maodo Lo restored Bayern's advantage, but 5 consecutive points from Roll changed the lead again. Wilbekin's step-back triple made it 26-30 before a deep strike from DiBartolomeo was followed by free throws from Williams to make it 31-33 at the break. Wilbekin scored the first 6 points of the second half and DiBartolomeo's free throws made it a double-digit lead. Stefan Jovic's driving layup got Bayern moving before a spectacular alley-oop from Williams and a basket-and-one from Barthel were canceled out from Black under the basket and DiBartolomeo from long range. Black scored an alley-oop and three-point play, but Lo also scored twice to make it 47-58 at the end of the third. Three quick baskets from Dangubic brought Bayern back in the fourth, but Wilbekin scored twice to keep his team ahead. Four free throws from Williams made it 63-65 midway through the fourth before Black's dunk highlighted a 0-6 run as Maccabi pulled away again. Barthel's three-point play gave Bayern hope, but Wilbekin responded from deep. Vladimir Lucic and Barthel made it 70-74 with one minute remaining, but Black's key offensive rebound was followed by Roll's three-pointer to seal the deal.
Maccabi claims head to head
In addition to winning a crucial game, another big plus for Maccabi came with claiming the tie-breaker with Bayern after also defeating the German champion in Tel Aviv earlier in the season. That head-to-head advantage could prove crucial: no less than five teams now have 12 wins, although KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and Olympiacos Piraeus could improve to 13 when they play on Friday.
Rebounding boosts Maccabi
Bayern had won five of its last six home games before this encounter, but Maccabi was able to triumph in large part thanks to an incredibly energetic physical effort. The visiting team's hustle was most evident in the rebounding stats, claiming 37 to Bayern's 27. Fittingly, the game was sealed in the final minute when, leading by just 4, Jeremy Pargo's missed shot was followed by Tarik Black's fourth offensive rebound. That allowed Michael Roll to drill a three-pointer, which completed the scoring.
Slow starts cost Bayern
Bayern paid the price for a pair of slow starts: the home side was held scoreless for the opening 3:40 of the second quarter and only managed one field goal in 3:50 at the start of the third. Maccabi used the latter of those passages of play to pull clear into a double-digit lead and led for the remainder of the game.
Round 26 will send Bayern on the road to face Zalgiris Kaunas, while Maccabi has a home meeting with Anadolu Efes Istanbul.
Thursday, March 7, 2019