2020-21Regular SeasonRound 33
April 01, 2021 CET: 20:30
Local time: 20:30 AUDI DOME

Bayern edges Zalgiris to reach playoffs

FC Bayern Munich made history by claiming a spot in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs for the first time by edging Zalgiris Kaunas 71-70 at Audi Dome on Thursday. In a game that came down to the last shot, Bayern prevailed to improve to 20-13 in the standings. Zalgiris, which was already out of chances to make it to the next phase, dropped to 16-17. Vladimir Lucic led the winners with 13 points – including the game-winning free throws and a game-clinching block in the final seconds. Jalen Reynolds added 12 and Nick Weiler-Babb had 11 for Bayern. Thomas Walkup paced Zalgiris with 16 points. Nigel Hayes and Joffrey Lauvergne each scored 12 and Lukas Lekavicius 10 for the visitors. Lekavicius helped Zalgiris to a 21-22 lead after 10 minutes. Bayern took a 37-36 lead at halftime, extended it to 57-54 after 30 minutes and then to 63-56 early in the fourth quarter. Walkup and Hayes put Zalgiris ahead, 67-70, James Gist scored down low and then Lucic hit free throws and had the biggest block in club's history to send Bayern to the playoffs.

Lauvergne got Zalgiris going with a jump hook, but Reynolds quickly gave Bayern its first lead, 4-2. Walkup, Weiler-Babb and Marius Grigonis each made a three-pointer and Wade Baldwin IV banked in a close shot for a 9-8 score. Walkup erased Reynolds's layup with a floater and Lekavicius followed a triple with a driving basket for an 11-15 Zalgiris edge. D.J. Seeley and Baldwin stepped up for Bayern, but Hayes and Martinas Geben kept the visitors ahead, 15-19. JaJuan Johnson took over with a three-point play and then Weiler-Babb and Lekavicius each struck from downtown to fix the score at 21-22 after 10 minutes. Weiler-Babb and Grigonis traded floaters early in the second quarter and Lucic buried a three-pointer for a 26-24 Bayern lead. Walkup answered with a backdoor layup and Lauvergne scored in the paint, but Lucic and Baldwin kept the hosts in charge, 30-28. Leon Radosevic improved on Lauvergne's alley-oop slam with a triple, but Lekavicius and Karolis Lukosiunas gave Zalgiris a 35-36 lead. Gist put Bayern back in charge, 37-36, at halftime.

Paulius Jankunas hit a corner triple soon after the break. Reynolds scored twice in the low post and Paul Zipser downed a jumper, but Lauvergne followed back-to-back dunks with a jumper to keep Zalgiris ahead, 43-47. After Hayes buried a three-pointer, Reynolds and Lucic each dunked to bring Bayern within 48-50. Rokas Jokubaitis stepped up with consecutive layups. Weiler-Babb, Seeley and Radosevic each struck from downtown for a 57-54 Bayern lead after 30 minutes. Jankunas sank a jump hook, but Lucic and Zan Sisko boosted the hosts' lead to 61-56. Lucic buried a close jumper. Walkup followed a three-pointer with a dunk off a steal that caused Bayern to call timeout at 63-61. Gist rescued Zalgiris with a put-back layup, but Hayes improved on it with his second triple and added a close basket for a 65-66 Zalgiris lead with over 2 minutes left. Walkup hit free throws and Hayes scored again, but Gist kept the hosts close at 69-70. Lucic drew a foul with 2.3 seconds left and made both attempts. Zalgiris had a final chance to win it, but Lucic blocked Lauvergne's shot at the buzzer.

Pivotal performer

Vladimir Lucic stepped up as his team's undeniable leader in crunch time, but he was also Bayern's best player in this game. He finished the game with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 8 fouls drawn for a PIR of 18.

Game-changing moment

Zalgiris led 67-70 in the next-to-last minute. James Gist scored around the basket and Vladimir Lucic drew a foul with just 2.3 seconds to go. He buried both attempts. Zalgiris called timeout and put the ball in Joffrey Lauvergne's hands but Lucic blocked his shot at the buzzer.

Stellar stat

The game came down to small details. Steals and blocks were some of these details. Bayern had 11 steals and only made 12 turnovers. Zalgiris collected just 4 steals and had 16 turnovers. Bayern also had 4 blocks and Zalgiris had none.

Did you know?

Bayern also became the first German team to reach the EuroLeague Quarterfinals since the turn of the millennium. ALBA Berlin reached the quarterfinals in the 1998 EuroLeague and the 2001 FIBA SuproLeague, where it lost against AEK Athens and Panathinaikos Athens, respectively.

Next game

Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week. Zalgiris finishes its 2020-21 EuroLeague campaign with a home game against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens on Thursday, April 8. A day later, Bayern visits first place FC Barcelona.

Vladimir Lucic - FC Bayern Munich - EB20
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Euroleague.net
Referees: BELOSEVIC, ILIJA; PETEK, SASO; CORTES, CARLOS
Attendance: 0
By Quarter1234
FC Bayern Munich21162014
Zalgiris Kaunas22141816
End of Quarter1234
FC Bayern Munich21375771
Zalgiris Kaunas22365470
FC Bayern Munich
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WEILER-BABB, NICK 27:00 11 1/3 3/6   1 2 3 2 1 2     2 1 9
2 BALDWIN IV, WADE 24:58 8 3/8 0/1 2/2 1 2 3 4 2 1       3 13
3 KRAEMER, DAVID DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4 SEELEY, DENNIS 12:12 5 1/3 1/2         1   1     2 2 2
8 REYNOLDS, JALEN 13:35 12 5/8   2/2 2 1 3 1 1 1 1   3 1 12
11 LUCIC, VLADIMIR 32:26 13 3/4 1/4 4/5 1 5 6     2 2   4 8 18
12 FLACCADORI, DIEGO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
16 ZIPSER, PAUL 22:28 2 1/1 0/2     1 1 3 1 1     2   2
21 GIST, JAMES 22:36 8 3/5   2/2 2 1 3   2 2 1   3 2 9
25 JOHNSON, JAJUAN 5:19 3 1/3 0/1 1/1         1       1 2 2
31 SISKO, ZAN 23:22 3 0/1 1/3   1 1 2 6 2 1     1 1 9
43 RADOSEVIC, LEON 16:04 6 0/1 2/2   1 3 4   1       2   8
Team           1   1               1
Totals 200:00 71 18/37 8/21 11/12 10 16 26 17 11 11 4 0 20 20 85
        48.6% 38.1% 91.7%
Head coach: TRINCHIERI, ANDREA
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 29:22 16 3/4 2/2 4/4 1 3 4 3         2 6 26
1 BLAZEVIC, MAREK DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 22:20 10 2/6 2/2         5 2 3     2 1 9
7 GARINO, PATRICIO 4:32     0/1     1 1 1             1
10 HAYES, NIGEL 31:43 12 2/4 2/4 2/2 3 3 6     3   1 2 1 9
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 22:06 5 1/1 1/2   1 3 4     2     3 2 5
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS 6:06 4   1/1 1/2 1   1           1 1 4
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 14:30 2 1/2     1 4 5 1 1 2     4 3 5
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 13:34 4 2/5       1 1   1 2     2   -1
32 VASTURIA, STEVE DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 30:17 5 1/5 1/5     2 2 5   2   1 2 4 3
77 LAUVERGNE, JOFFREY 25:30 12 6/11   0/1 3 3 6 3   2   2 3 2 10
Team           1 1 2     3         -1
Totals 200:00 70 18/38 9/17 7/9 11 21 32 18 4 19 0 4 21 20 70
        47.4% 52.9% 77.8%
Head coach: SCHILLER, MARTIN

Head Coaches

TRINCHIERI, ANDREA
FC Bayern Munich

"That was... in the last 10-12 days, we were starting to feel that we are close, close, close, but not close enough. We didn't play a great game. They were light, with no pressure, and I am very happy for my players, for all my players. This is a historic date for German basketball, for Bayern. We made it. Very difficult season, a lot of things to go through, but as a coach I am relieved, but my players should be happy because from day one, we were chasing a dream. We have some fights through adversities, some bad games, some bad luck, but in the end, we made it. Now it is time to really enjoy it. I believe it is a great day for FC Bayern and for German basketball. I will drink a pool of red wine! An Olympic pool!"

"It was exactly the game I expected. This game has an origin in the last two weeks. We were chasing the dream from day one, when we lost in overtime here with Milan. But the point is that in the last 15 days we felt that we were close but never close enough. It is like the Utopia of Galeano - you walk, you think you are walking towards something but the distance is always the same. The last games were difficult and tonight we didn't play a great game. Zalgiris played a very good game. They were light, with no pressure, and I felt my players tried to go through this game, navigate through the game but sometimes, whatever you do, you cannot take away some bad thoughts. What if we don't make it? It was a regular season with great wins and bad losses, not a lot, but some bad losses. Some games that we could have won, but lost at the end: Zalgiris in Kaunas, Olympiacos. I am very happy, first of all for the players that made history for German basketball, for this club. I am happy for FC Bayern Basketball. We were chasing a dream and to tell you the truth, I am more relieved than happy, but maybe after I drink that Olympic pool of good red wine, I will be happy, too. Tonight we enjoy, but now, I believe that I want my team to play the playoffs with pleasure, to be part of something super big, best eight teams in Europe. It is an incredible result, but I don't want to stop dreaming. Why not? We will face, for sure, a great team. We will be the total underdog and I just hope that in this period of time, we are able to recharge, have some players healthier - tonight, Nick [Weiler-Babb] played on one leg to help us; he shouldn't have played. Let's enjoy, this is a great night for my players, for FC Bayern and for German basketball."

SCHILLER, MARTIN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"First of all, congratulations to Munich for winning the game, and congratulations for Munich making it to the playoffs, this is historic for German basketball - first time in German history to make the EuroLeague Playoffs. This is huge for this country's basketball culture. So congratulations, it is kind of a special thing for German basketball. I am disappointed because we lost the game. I am not disappointed by anything else. The group came, the group fought, which our group has done and that is the character of our group and has been the entire season. So there are no complaints from my side referring to the fighting of our group. I think that if I have to pinpoint something that hurt us today, it was the 19 turnovers. It just obviously made it difficult to score the basketball. And despite the 19 turnovers, we still had a very realistic chance to win the game, so it hurts but that is the business that we are in."

Players

LUCIC, VLADIMIR
FC Bayern Munich
"It is a great moment. We were dreaming about this since the day we started in early August, so it is a big accomplishment for everybody - for the team, for the organization, being part of the first German team who ever [reached the EuroLeague Playoffs]. But a lot of really important games are yet to come and we need to be ready for the next steps. It was not easy, especially after the loss against Fenerbahce. I think we obviously had a lack of energy today, but we showed character, as many times this year, in the end. First of all, James [Gist] with the rebounds, really gave us energy to find the way to finish this game."
WEILER-BABB, NICK
FC Bayern Munich
"It has been a long season. To turn around the program with the year that we had, the transition this team has made from the start has been good. Everybody has been locked in, everybody has been pushing to try to get this goal and I am so happy for the guys today. Lucic came up big tonight and everybody has been playing well all season. We stuck together, coaches, front office team... it is an exciting time. We like giving our fans a little heart attack sometimes, but we are a greedy team and we are going to fight hard, and we are going to compete, and that has been our M.O. from the start - a lot of those situations come down to the end. Winning close games like this, it is something special and it makes us tough to beat."
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