The Basketball Bundesliga season started on Thursday, and Bayern got to play their first game since the championship at home, being hosts to MBC, who were a clear underdog and the only East German club in the league. With Bryce Taylor, Anton Gavel and Paul Zipser all out due to injuries (Gavel could be back next week), the FCBB starting five looked like this: Heiko Schaffartzik, Nihad Djedovic, Robin Benzing, Dusko Savanovic, and John Bryant.
Bayern needed a couple of minutes to wake up. Forcing shots early on, they were quickly down 0-8. Not the greatest start but far from game over in basketball. And, just like that, the MBC lead was gone almost immediately. After 5 minutes, the hosts were up 12-10, with Robin Benzing having scored 8 points already. While the guests couldn't hit the basket, the speedy Micic and the wild Stimac scored their first Bundesliga points, extending the Munich lead to 7 points. A block by Jagla ended the first quarter, 22-15 for Bayern. Everything was under control from the 3rd minute on.
The beginning of the second quarter wasn't beautiful, both teams took quick shots and missed most of them. A successful Savanovic three-pointer gave Bayern the first double-digit lead and was the start of a short three-point festival - four consecutive hits all came from behind the line. A brilliant Micic pass to an open Lucca Staiger brought the FCBB lead up to 14 points with three minutes left in the quarter. However, a focused MBC fought back and made sure to enter the second half with a single-digit deficit. The lead was 43-34 for Bayern at half-time, with Robin Benzing being the top scorer (11 points, 3/4 three-pointers) and John Bryant having grabbed 5 rebounds already - decent, nothing more or less.
Quarter number three just happened. Neither team played particularly well or badly, but Bayern increased the lead step-by-step, as you'd expect against such an inferior opponent. Nihad Djedovic was very involved in the first minutes and took the first FCBB free throws of the game after 22 minutes. The performance still wasn't breathtaking but just enough to put the game out of reach. After three quarters, the champs were up 63-47.
Instead of having fun out there, Bayern then kinda lost focus. With four minutes to go in the game, MBC brought the lead down to 12 points. That was enough of a wake-up call, and Munich stepped it up a notch again. The individual quality was just too much and the away team were forced to accept the loss. The final result was a 86-63 victory for the Bayern Baskets.
|MORE STATS HERE
||FCBB v Mitteldeutscher BC|
|Final score||86-63 (HT 43-34)|
|Most points||Stimac (14), Benzing (13), Bryant (11)|
|Most rebounds||Bryant (10), Jagla (6), Benzing/Djedovic (4)|
|Most assists||Micic/Schaffartzik (6), Djedovic (4)|
All in all, a solid win for Bayern. MBC were never the team to push them to the limit. Better to get an unspectacular routine win than a thriller that ends in a surprise loss.
Some quick thoughts:
- Vasilije Micic is filthy. The guy played some amazing passes. What a spectacle he can be.
- John Bryant's finishing needs work, but he's very active and relatively agile. 11 points and 10 rebounds make a good start.
- Good first game by Stimac. Supposedly limited on offense, he finished the game as top scorer.
- The offense looks balanced with lots of passing. The days of Malcolm Delaney doing it all by himself are over.
- Yassin Idbihi didn't play any meaningful minutes. Actually, he didn't play any minutes at all.
The season already continues on Sunday with a tough game in Ludwigsburg, Bayern's first visit since that chaotic playoff series last season. Special attention will be needed to stop point guard Kerron Johnson who scored an insane 38 points in their close win against Bonn. The game will tip off at 5pm local time.