By Stefan Djordjevic/ email@example.com
Vladimir Lucic led the way for the victors with 27 points (4-5 from deep), seven rebounds, and a total PIR of 35. He proved to be a real nightmare for the opposing defense as he drew as many as ten fouls over the course of his 34 minutes on the court.
Lucic didn’t think he and his teammates deserved to get swept and he certainly made sure that doesn’t happen.
“I’m happy that we won, obviously. I don’t think we deserved to be swept, to lose five games against them, so I’m happy for the win. It’s a new opportunity – in two days we will try to bring the series back to Milan. I think our energy [made the difference]. We didn’t give up, we made some adjustments tactically, but the energy was there and when we play like this we are hard to beat.”
Paul Zipser and Wade Baldwin scored 11 each. Although Baldwin fouled rather early, at the start of the fourth quarter. For Milano, Malcolm Delaney scored 18 points in addition to Sergio Rodriguez and Shavon Shields’ 11 points each.
Bayern had full control of the boards on the defensive side, rarely allowing Milano second chances while also forcing them to take shots from individual plays. They kept the Italians to 11 assists while dishing out 18 themselves, showing much more fluent offense in this duel.
Lucic was singing in such a system and he especially did so in the third quarter when he scored 12 points and was the crucial spark for Bayern’s 14-0 run (53-35) after the halftime rest. He also scored crucial five free throws in the last 30 seconds, holding off Milano’s potential comeback, as they got as close as a five-point margin (80-75).
Bayern stayed alive, cutting the deficit to 2-1 and looking to tie the series on April 30th, also played at the Audi Dome in Germany.
Coach Andrea Trinchieri pointed to the role players as a crucial factor in this win: They are very deep, deeper than us because we miss two important guards, and we won a game with foul troubles, with great defensive effort. The other key thing was that DJ Seeley, Diego Flaccadori and JJ Johnson helped us a lot. In these games, of course, you have Lucic, big players, but without the help of other players, we cannot win,” he said but also noted that his squad has a lot to do if they want to turn things around.
“We were very close to winning the first game in Milan and the reason was that we had a team. Tonight we played again as a team, and now we are in the series, we have to forget, regenerate and try to find some freshness to play another battle on Friday.”