Bayern uses late run to win slugfest with ALBA
FC Bayern Munich extended its winning streak to three games by fighting through a sluggish performance and beating German rival ALBA Berlin 69-82 on the road. The game was tight until the end when Bayern drained 4 three-pointers in the final 2 minutes to finish a 7-18 run over the last 4:32 minutes. Darrun Hilliard poured in 25 points to lead Bayern while Nick Weiler-Babb scored 16 points - 10 of them coming in the final surge - and Othello Hunter collected 13 points and 8 rebounds as Bayern improved to 3-4 on the season. ALBA saw Maodo Lo set a new career-high with 23 points and Luke Sikma tallied 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. But those two did not get enough help from the rest of the team and ALBA dropped to 2-5.
Augustine Rubit started the game with a jumper for Bayern. ALBA needed nearly 2 minutes before Sikma’s layup for the hosts’ first points. A Lo stepback three-pointer had ALBA up 7-2. Bayern responded with 10 straight points - 5 from Hunter - to move ahead 9-14. Jaleen Smith stepped up at the other end and nailed a pair of triples as ALBA drew within 18-19 after 10 minutes.
Bayern opened the advantage to 5 with the first two baskets of the second quarter. Oscar da Silva and Rubit swapped 5 points each before Lo and Vladimir Lucic traded three-pointers and Bayern was still up 26-31. ALBA took advantage of getting to the free-throw line with 6 foul shots to move ahead 34-33. Hilliard and Hunter scored at the other end and Bayern was up 36-37 at the break.
Malte Delow’s basket to start the second half was the first of four straight lead changes, the last one from back-to-back three-pointers by Hilliard for a 40-45 cushion. Hilliard added another triple and the visitors found themselves up 42-48. Andi Obst helped out Hilliard from the outside and Bayern’s margin increased to 46-53. Sikma would not let Bayern pull away; he netted 4 free throws followed by Louis Olinde’s three-point play and an inside score from Johannes Thiemann to knot the game again 55-55. It stood at 55-57 after 30 minutes.
Both teams struggled to execute offensively early in the fourth with Weiler-Babb’s free throws coming for Bayern after almost 3 minutes of action. Lo’s three was matched by Hilliard from deep and Weiler-Babb added two jumpers as the gap grew to 62-68 with just more than 3 minutes left. da Silva managed to score for ALBA, but Corey Walden and Weiler-Babb nailed back-to-back triples and the cushion was 64-74 with 71 seconds to play. Sikma responded from deep, but Walden connected again from long range for a 67-77 cushion with 33 seconds to play to decide the game.
Pivotal performer: Hillard's unstoppable night
Darrun Hilliard proved he was unstoppable both inside and outside in leading Bayern to the win. He drove to the basket for points and also drained 4 three-pointers in scoring a game-high 25 points. But Hilliard also grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 3 assists. He snatched 3 steals while drawing 6 fouls for an index rating of 29. Hilliard’s versatility of scoring on the drive and outside was critical and Bayern utilized it perfectly to continue the run.
Sikma and Lucic go at it again
In the middle of this battle between German powerhouses were two of the top players in the EuroLeague - Luke Sikma of ALBA and Bayern’s Vladimir Lucic. The duo have been going at it for years in showdowns between these teams. And the game was no exception. Sikma got the better of the matchup stats-wise with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 7 fouls drawn for an index rating of 19, while Lucic produced 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 4 turnovers. Even though the Bayern star was not needed as much on offense, he was called upon to stifle the ALBA attack. And Lucic did his part in the ugly slugfest.
Telling numbers: Bayern's depth is too much
FC Bayern Munich’s depth shined through as the team received 61 points from its reserves compared to just 21 points by its starting five. Bayern also forced 18 ALBA Berlin turnovers while losing the ball just 10 times itself. And the guests drained 12 three-pointers with ALBA connecting on just 6 triples. In addition, Munich was able to punish ALBA for its mistakes with 18 points off turnovers compared to 10 for ALBA.
Thursday, October 28, 2021