Bayern bests Barcelona with shutdown defense
FC Bayern Munich came back from a 10-point deficit to fend off FC Barcelona 90-77 at home for its third straight win at the Audi Dome. Bayern allowed just 10 points in the third quarter in winning for the fourth time in the last six games to improve to 11-6. Wade Baldwin IV led the way with a career-high 29 points and 7 assists set a club record with a performance index rating of 41. Paul Zipser drained 4 three-pointers in scoring 16 points while Nick Weiler-Babb had 14 points and 4 steals and Jalen Reynolds celebrated his 28th birthday with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks for the German side. Barcelona lost its third straight game and the fifth in its last eight to fall to 11-6. Alex Abrines paced the visitors with 16 points, while Rolands Smits scored 14, Cory Higgins added 12, Adam Hanga and Artem Pustovyi netted 10 each and Nick Calathes chipped in 9 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists. Barcelona missed star forward Nikola Mirotic, who was a late scratch.
James Gist opened the game for the hosts with a jumper, but Barcelona jumped on Bayern with Abrines and Smits both hitting three-pointers and Pustovyi scoring two baskets in a 3-12 run to go up 5-12. Nihad Dedovic made a three-pointer for Bayern, but Smits and Abrines were both on target from deep again as the advantage grew to 16-26. The home side got some defensive stops in the final minute of the quarter and closed the frame with 6 straight points to get within 22-26. Pustovyi got Barcelona going to start the second quarter and Leandro Bolmaro’s free throws got the margin to 24-32. Bayern once again used its defense to create turnovers and Reynolds got two scores in an 8-0 run to even the game at 32-32. Calathes joined the three-point party to send Barcelona ahead 34-39. Baldwin added 7 more points to move his first-half tally to 18 points and the hosts went into the locker room down 43-45.
Zipser’s three-pointer started the second half and put Bayern back ahead. He added free throws and another triple for a 49-45 lead. Calathes twice fed Pustovyi for dunks only to see Weiler-Babb and Zipser sandwich triples around a Baldwin and-one to extend the gap to 60-49. Weiler-Babb added 4 more points as the margin grew to 64-50. Abrines gave some temporary relief with a three-pointer, but Bayern downed 6 free throws and led 70-55 after 30 minutes. Bayern scored the first 4 points of the final frame to increase the lead to 19 points, 74-55. The hosts were held scoreless for nearly 3 minutes, however, Barcelona could only manage two Hanga scores to get within 74-59 before Weiler-Babb and Zipser went back-to-back from deep for an 80-62 cushion. Abrines tried to get Barcelona close again, but Baldwin converted back-to-back three-point plays to make it 88-69 with less than 4 minutes to play. The game was decided as Barcelona did not get closer than 11 points down the stretch.
Personal and club records for Baldwin
Wade Baldwin IV set personal and club records in the outstanding night as he collected 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting and 5-of-5 free throws, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and 10 fouls for a PIR of 41. His previous best marks were 19 points against Khimki Moscow Region earlier this month and a 22 PIR against ALBA Berlin in October. Baldwin’s index rating set a Bayern club record, topping Dusko Savanovic’s 37 against PGE Turow Zgorzelec on December 11, 2014.
Shut down second half
Barcelona made 11 of 15 two-pointers in the first half, but Bayer did a better job in the final 20 minutes as the Spanish side converted 11 of 20 from close range the rest of the way
Bayern made 23 of 23 free throws and outrebounded Barcelona 33-27, while hitting 9 of 17 three-pointers (52.9%).
Barcelona's first EuroLeague game in 2021 will be at home where it hosts Valencia Basket on Thursday, January 7. Bayern begins 2021 with a clash in Greece against Olympiacos Piraeus the next day.
Wednesday, December 30, 2020