Early Holiday Gifts
Audi Dome, Munich – During the holiday season, receiving an early present is nice. Some traditions force one to give a month before Christmas, sometimes every day for twelve days during the lead up.
FC Bayern Basketball received one last night that they will gladly take that not only brightened their holidays but also their entire basketball season.
Jayson Granger’s running bank shot at the buzzer gave Unicaja Malaga the 64-62 win over Montepaschi Siena to send not only the Spanish club to the Euroleague Top 16, but Bayern as well. Siena would have qualified with the win and eliminated Munich, but instead they received the lump of coal in the dramatic loss.
Bayern cannot help but think they backed into the next round, with five straight losses in the Regular Season after a 3-1 start. Some of the luster may have been taken away from tonight’s tilt against Galatasaray Istanbul, but the team is intent on ending on a high note.
“It’s a big game for us and the club and Munich to do something so special this early in the season,” said team leading scorer Malcolm Delaney. “We have the talent to play with anyone and we need to start winning these games.”
Despite the struggles in the Euroleague, Bayern are on top of the BEKO Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) standings at 12-1 and have won five in a row. At home, they are undefeated in the league, winning by an average of 25 points per game.
And on Friday night, they hope their dominance in the dome can carry over against not only the Turkish league champs, but into the Top 16.
“The goal is always the next game is the most important game,” said head coach Svetislav Pešić. “We will be well-prepared and focused on this game and bring the maximum into the game to win it.”
Bayern are 2-2 at home against the top clubs in Europe, and have been for the most part ready against the competition. There have been stretches where the team failed to make the big stops, or the offense goes cold, and thus lose the game. Their last home game, as Coach Pesic stated, was ‘the best game of the season’ so far, a 105-103 nail-biter against two-time defending champions Olympiacos Piraeus.
“We have to keep our focus for the entire time,” said guard Heiko Schaffartzik, who scored 21 points in that loss. “We had some lapses during the big games so we are working to avoid those.”
Bayern Basketball already unwrapped a present from Spain, but if they can win tonight, they will give their fans the best gift of a win and a reason to look forward to the new year.
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