Barcelona stops Bayern to tie for first place
FC Barcelona got its fourth straight win by beating FC Bayern Munich 67-77 at Audi Dome on Friday night, to take a tie for first place at 12-3. Bayern dropped to 6-9 and stays two wins behind the playoffs spots. The visitors used a 0-11 run in the second quarter to build a double-digit margin and never looked back. Cory Higgins led all Barcelona’s scorers with 16 points, followed by Nikola Mirotic and Brandon Davies with 14 and 13 respectively, while Adam Hanga recorded a double-double of 10 points and 10 assists. For Bayern, Paul Zipser posted 19 points on 4-of-4 three-point shooting, Vladimir Lucic contributed 11 and Leon Radosevic added 10.
Higgins and Hanga led the way for the visitors in the early going, delivering 11 of Barcelona’s first 13 points to build a 7-13 advantage midway through the first period. Even though Vladimir Lucic responded from behind the arc for Bayern’s first three, the German champs struggled in offense, remaining scoreless for the following 4 minutes. Malcolm Delaney took over for Barcelona, hitting a jump shot and three free throws, but a long trey by Petteri Koponen and an inside basket by Zipser helped make it 16-20 after ten minutes. The teams traded baskets after the break, but Bayern’s turnovers allowed Hanga and Mirotic to extend the gap to double-digits, 22-32. Another basket by Mirotic and a three pointer by Higgins capped a 0-11 run, but Danilo Barthel gave some breath to the hosts with a triple as the half ended 25-39. After the break, Zipser and Nihad Dedovic drilled back-to-back threes and Lucic added a three-point play, but Barcelona responded with a balanced offense to keep the game under control. Zipser tried to re-activate his team with five points in a row and Barthel followed him with a trey to get Bayern within 45-54, but a layup by Higgins finished the third period and Barcelona’s defense kept exceling in the last quarter. Davies and Higgins extended the lead before Radosevic showed up to bring some energy for the home team, but the difference remained in double-digits and a three-point play by Davies and a layup by Mirotic sealed the outcome.
Hanga, the playmaker
Adam Hanga started the game as Barcelona’s point guard, something he has been doing regularly this season because of long-term injuries to Thomas Heurtel and Kevin Pangos. The Hungarian swingman recorded a career-high of 10 assists, 8 of them in the first half, to lead his team to another road win.
Defense win games
Neither Bayern nor Barcelona had an impressive offensive game, but Barca stepped up on defense by making 11 steals to make easy baskets and solve offensive problems.
A 0-11 run by Barcelona at the beginning of the second quarter led by Hanga, Nikola Mirotic and Cory Higgins set a 15-point difference for the visitors, 22-37, and Bayern couldn’t get closer than 9 points for the rest of the game.
In Round 15 next week Bayern will play at home again against Zalgiris Kaunas, while Barcelona will host Olympiacos Piraeus. Both games will be played on Friday.
Friday, December 20, 2019