Bayern found just enough energy to overcome ALBA

Feb 06, 2021 by Print
Bayern found just enough energy to overcome ALBA

FC Bayern Munich appeared to have taken a knockout punch by ALBA Berlin but dug down deep for a burst of energy to play its best basketball of the game and pick up a crucial victory at home.

Bayern was listless in the first quarter, won 10-26 by ALBA, but fought its way back into the game and eventually knocked off German rival ALBA 101-95 at home in overtime. Four Bayern players scored at least 20 points, topped by Jalen Reynolds's 24. Wade Baldwin scored 21 points and Paul Zipser and Vladimir Lucic both poured in 20. DJ Seeley added 10 points and the rest of the Bayern team scored just 6 points. But it was good enough for Bayern to win its third straight game for a 15-9 record as it fights for a spot in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs.

The magnitude of the game was not lost on Bayern head coach Andrea Trinchieri.

"There are some games that can kill you or can give you a huge boost. We were trailing, they were better for… 35 minutes. They had more energy, we were heavy, we were unable to put any pressure. Then we condensed our best effort for the last 5 minutes of the game and the 5 minutes of overtime. We came back, we made some big plays, we had some stops and this is a game that can really lift us," said Trinchieri.

Reynolds, whose 24 points set a new career high, said the second half was about defense.

"In the first half, they came out swinging. Coach told us we have to lock in. We can't let them come into our house and just beat us up," the Bayern big man said.

Reynolds set the tone for the second half with a big dunk to start the third quarter. Bayern was able to convert 2 turnovers into fastbreak points and trim the margin to 46-48. ALBA had bent but not broken, holding off Bayern with a series of big baskets to still lead 58-66 after three quarters.

ALBA delivered another punch to start the fourth quarter with five points in the first 37 seconds to make it 58-71. And Bayern believers had to start doubting after 2 three-pointers from Louis Olinde had ALBA up 67-80 with 6 minutes left.

Zipser gave Bayern a charge with 7 straight points and then handed the reins to Baldwin, who hit the team's next 7. The dagger seemingly was landed with Ben Lammers's reverse layup put ALBA up 81-86 with 22 seconds left. But Lucic drained a three-pointer and Bayern received the unusual gift of Marcus Eriksson missing his first free throw of the season, leaving the door open to a Baldwin triple with 9.4 seconds left to knot it 87-87 and eventually force overtime.

It was the first tie since the opening tip, but Bayern had tasted blood. Reynolds scored to start the extra session for the hosts' first lead of the game and Seeley buried a triple to make it 94-89. ALBA once again seemingly found itself with a five-point possession on a Louis Olinde three-pointer and 2 Johannes Thiemann free throws from an off-ball foul to regain the lead 94-95. But that's when things started falling apart for ALBA. Maodo Lo couldn't quite hold onto a pass with the ball going to Lucic for a three-pointer. And then Lo would commit 2 turnovers and Eriksson also lost a ball while Baldwin and Lucic hit 4 free throws to secure the victory.

"If you look at the other games on the schedule, losing tonight would have complicated our life in EuroLeague," Trinchieri said.

As it turns out, Bayern now has 15 wins, at least two clear of the eight teams with between 10 and 13 victories, including the German side's next two opponents, at LDLC ASVEL Villleurbanne and home versus Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv.

The situation looks that much better thanks to having just enough energy.