He was a late signing who was used sparingly before Thursday, but with one fellow big man, Leon Radosevic, out of action and another, Danilo Barthel, hurting, FC Bayern Munich needed Derrick Williams to step up – and the former No. 2 NBA draft pick did so splendidly.
Williams came off the bench with a workman-like attitude, joining Bayern's strong early defensive effort with a quick pair of blocks, even as he started piling up 11 first-half points to help Bayern lead 43-32.
In the second half, Bayern let KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz get within 56-51 before Williams responded with 5 points to restore a 61-52 lead after 30 minutes. Early in the fourth, Baskonia again crept closer, but Williams pushed back with a strong move inside, a steal and a sweet jumper, ending the threat.
Bayern's lead soared to 16 points before Baskonia made a late run that Williams stopped with a thrilling reverse dunk with 19 seconds left, the finishing touch on his perfectly-timed coming-out party in a 77-71 Bayern victory.
Williams had averaged 14 minutes and a PIR of 1 in two previous appearances, but when his team needed him most, he had 22 points and a PIR of 23.
"I had a lot of fun," he said right after the finish. "Every time I'm on the court, I'm having fun. I try to stay aggressive, but at the end of the day, I'm always having fun. And I'm glad we got the win as well.