Bayern rallies late to edge Panathinaikos
FC Bayern Munich came back from 9 down in the fourth quarter to edge Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 81-78 in a thriller at Audi Dome on Thursday night. The result lifted Bayern’s record to 5-6 and sent Panathinaikos to 2-9 with its fifth straight loss. After trailing for nearly all of the middle two quarters, Bayern took the lead through DeShaun Thomas on the first basket of the fourth quarter. However, Daryl Macon Jr. led a 0-10 Panathinaikos response with a triple and 2 assists to give the Greens a 61-70 advantage with 6 minutes remaining. Bayern battled back, took the lead on a Vladimir Lucic three-pointer with 29 seconds to go and held on thanks to 4 late free throws by Augustine Rubit before Nemanja Nedovic missed a tough contested three to tie it at the buzzer. Darrun Hilliard paced the Bayern attack with 20 points, Thomas finished with 15 and Rubit had 12. Ioannis Papapetrou led the visitors with 17 points and Macon added 12 points and 6 assists.
Thomas went to work in the low post for the game’s first basket and Corey Walden followed with a deep three. Kendrick Perry got Panathinaikos on the scoreboard with free throws. Hilliard sandwiched a three-pointer and a three-point play around a triple by Okaro White to keep Bayern ahead. A three by Thomas made it 16-10 before Panathinaikos called timeout. After Papapetrou drew the Greens within 2, Hilliard sank his second three of the quarter. Eleftherios Bochoridis matched him, so Hilliard hit again from downtown to make it 22-17. A three by Papapetrou evened things at 22-22 after 10 minutes.
Jeremy Evans scored inside to give Panathinaikos its first lead with the first basket of the second quarter. Rubit heated up to tie it and then nudge Bayern ahead, but a Leonidas Kaselakis three changed that. Howard Sant-Roos’s steal and slam and free throws by Macon made it 28-33. The lead reached 32-38 on a runner in the lane by Papapetrou, after which Coach Trinchieri called timeout. The teams started to trade baskets with Macon twice extending the margin to 8. A free throw by Othello Hunter trimmed the deficit to 37-44 at the break.
A three by Papapetrou gave the Greens a double-digit lead and led to a Bayern timeout just 96 seconds into the second half. Hilliard responded with a three from the top of the key and Nick Weiler-Babb knocked down a shot from downtown to make it 45-51. White went to work and scored twice inside before Sant-Roos restored a double-digit lead, 47-57, midway through the third quarter. Andreas Obst nailed his first three-pointer of the season to get Bayern within 5 and Hunter further trimmed the gap with free throws. Obst’s next three made it 59-60 through three quarters.
Thomas made a foul-line jumper to restore a Bayern edge, though Sant-Roos had the Greens back ahead after 2 free throws on the next possession. Macon's first three of the night made it 61-67 and prompted a Bayern timeout with 6 and a half minutes to play. However, Nemanja Nedovic connected from downtown to cap a 0-10 Panathinaikos run. Thomas kept Bayern alive with a pit-back at one end and a blocked shot at the other. Vladimir Lucic made a three from the corner for his first points to bring the hosts within 66-70. Hilliard added a three-point play and Walden made a three, bettering free throws by White and Macon to make it 72-74. After White – perfect from the line all season – missed 2 free throws, Lucic drilled a triple to put Bayern up 77-76 with 29 seconds remaining. Macon missed from deep and Rubit was fouled with 9.9 seconds left as he fought for the rebound. Rubit made the resulting free throws and the final seconds became a free throw contest. Nedovic made 2 for the visitors, Rubit matched him, and Nedovic missed a contested three at the buzzer.
Hilliard bounces back for Bayern
Forty-eight hours before this game, Darrun Hilliard slumped to his worst game in an FC Bayern Munich uniform with 2 points and a PIR of minus-6 in his team’s victory over Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. He bounced back with a vengeance on Thursday against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens. With All-EuroLeague forward Vladimir Lucic hampered by foul trouble and held scoreless for the first three quarters, Hilliard took charge. He led all scorers with 20 points with just 2 missed shots. Hilliard had a key three-point play and an assist to Othello Hunter inside during Bayern’s late comeback, setting the stage for Lucic’s go-ahead three-pointer.
Macon carries the Greens
Foul trouble limited point guard Kendrick Perry to just 10:19 for the game, so Panathinaikos OPAP Athens’s leading scorer, Daryl Macon Jr., was forced to assume a different role. And though he was held to a season-low 12 points, Macon thrived as the Greens’ lead playmaker with a personal best 6 assists. He had only once before had more than 3 assists, but on this night, Macon ran the offense spectacularly. Some may judge him harshly because Macon’s lone turnover came with 1:35 remaining and he missed a critical three with 10 seconds left and his team down 1, but the Greens would not have been so close to the road win if not for Macon’s strong showing. Macon also collected 4 rebounds and 1 steal and his PIR of 18 led the team.
By the numbers: Free throws play a role
In a game where the teams shot at very similar rates from the field and committed the same amount of turnovers (9), a few small details made the difference. One was that Bayern had 11 more shot attempts overall – and 16 more attempted threes. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that the hosts won the battle of the boards 31-27 and had 12 offensive rebounds to the Greens’ 6. The other possessions can be chalked up to Panathinaikos getting to the line 24 times – or twice as many as the hosts. However, Bayern made 11 free throws at 91.7%. Panathinaikos made 17 (70.8%). In a game that came down to the final possession, each of those missed free throws was costly.
Thursday, November 18, 2021