Bayern rallies to sweep Efes
In a thriller that went down to the wire, James Gist came up with block on Shane Larkin's driving layup and FC Bayern Munich pulled out a come-from-behind 80-79 win over visiting Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Friday night. Both teams now hold a 19-11 record, but this win gives Bayern a sweep and tie-break advantage over Efes. The visitors led by 15 points in the second quarter, but Bayern used a 13-0 run to erase the deficit. The teams traded blows the rest of the way, until an exciting final 15 seconds first saw Vasilije Micic put Efes in front 78-79, before Vladimir Lucic made 2 of 3 free throws with 10.1 seconds to go. The visitors had the final possession, the ball went into Larkin's hands, but Gist blocked the shot to win it for Bayern. Lucic paced Bayern with 18 points, while Jalen Reynolds collected 14 points plus 9 rebounds. Paul Zipser and Wade Baldwin IV scored 12 points apiece, and D.J. Seeley scored 10 in a dramatic win. Micic had 19 points for Efes, Larkin scored 16, and Rodrigue Beaubois scored 14 on 4-for-5 three-point shooting.
In the early going Baldwin and JaJuan Johnson hit jumpers for the hosts, but the Efes offense was firing at the other end as Beaubois hit twice from long range, while Adrien Moerman and Krunoslav Simon scored inside to open a 4-13 lead midway through the opening quarter. Lucic answered with a pair of scores to get the hosts going, and Reynolds joined him in a 6-0 run. Beaubois hit his third triple, but Reynolds had a three-point play and Gist nailed a three-pointer that cut it to 18-20. James Anderson beat the buzzer with a triple to make it 18-23 after 10 minutes. Seeley hit from downtown to open the second quarter, but Larkin strung together 10 points, scoring a driving layup before netting two three-pointers, and a basket-plus-foul from Micic opened the first double-digit margin, 25-36, midway through the second. Gist, Nick Weiler-Babb and Baldwin kept Bayern in range, and after Micic scored 6 more points to open 31-46, a jumper from Seeley and a triple-plus-foul from Zipser cut it to 37-46 at halftime.
Bayern came out strong to start the second half, with Baldwin and Reynolds cutting it to 44-46. Micic and Simon scored close-range baskets for the visitors, but Reynolds and Zipser took it strong to the rim before Seeley nailed a three-pointer and Reynolds followed with a three-point play to put Bayern in front, 54-53 midway through the third. The visitors answered with a run of their own, with Moerman cleaning up twice under Bayern’s basket, and Larkin twice feeding Bryant Dunston for big dunks to make it 56-63. But Lucic beat the buzzer with a turnaround triple to end the third quarter, and Zan Mark Sisko scored twice to open the fourth and tie it at 63-63. Beaubois replied with his fourth three-pointer, to put Efes back in front, before Micic and Lucic traded shots from downtown. The teams battled hard as Larkin drove through traffic, but Bayern got to the free throw line and made shots to get back in front, before a fastbreak dunk from Lucic gave the hosts a 77-73 lead with 2 minutes left. Sertac Sanli answered with 4 points to tie things up again with 66 seconds to go, and Micic drove for a layup with 12.1 seconds left to make it 78-79. But Micic then fouled Lucic behind the three-pointer arc, and the Bayern forward made 2 of 3 free throws, to restore Bayern's one-point lead. Efes had 10 seconds for the final possession, but Gist blocked Larkin's attempt to secure Bayern's victory.
This is the tenth time this season Bayern has won a game which it trailed by double-digits at one point. Efes was up 31-46 late in the second quarter.
The fourth quarter featured five ties, and the final 15 seconds had two lead changes. Neither team had a lead larger than 5 points in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Bayern defense steps up
After allowing 46 points in the first half, Bayern held Efes's well-oiled offense to just 33 points in the second half, restricting it to 2-for-12 three-point shooting and forcing 9 turnovers in the third and fourth quarters.
With the two teams battling to secure not only playoff spots but home court advantage in the playoffs, this 1-point victory gave Bayern a potentially key sweep against Efes. Earlier this season in Round 9, Bayern won 71-74 in Istanbul.
Shane Larkin came into the game needing 3 assists to total 500 for his career, and he reached the milestone when he fed Bryant Dunston for back-to-back dunks late in the third quarter. Larkin finished with 4 assists. He became the third player on this Efes team, alongside Vasilije Micic and Kruno Simon, with at least 500 assists and at least 1,500 points.
Next week in Round 31 both teams will be in action on Thursday, with Efes hosting Panathinaikos OPAP Athens and Bayern traveling to play Valencia Basket.
Friday, March 19, 2021