Bayern Munich and Zenit Saint Petersburg evened their respective EuroLeague playoff series and forced a must-win Game 5 next week.
The Bavarians came back from a double-digit deficit against Armani Milano and earned the 85-82 win in a late thriller at Audi Dome.
Bayern trailed by 10 at halftime (40-50), but outscored Armani 45-32 in the second half to seal the deal and ensure their fairytale season in the EuroLeague will stay alive.
Game 5 between the two sides will take place in Italy next week. The winner will close out the series and will advance to the EuroLeague Final Four.
“When you make big plays, usually you win. I believe that when you make a comeback and go up one with an alley-oop with 23.8 seconds to go, it means that or you’re totally crazy or you’re really special,” Bayern head coach Andrea Trinchieri said afterwards.
“One more game to go. It’s going to be a totally different match. Game 5 is always the hardest one. We’re both going to go out there and compete hard.
We gotta expect the best from Milan, but we’ve got to get our first win in Italy. We haven’t won there all year,” Bayern star guard Wade Baldwin told reporters, via the official website of the EuroLeague.
Zenit Saint Petersburg rallied past FC Barcelona at home in Game 4 (74-61) and tied its EuroLeague playoff series with the Catalans.
The Russians led from the opening tip and cruised to an easy victory, as FC Barcelona never got the deficit down to single digits.
Game 5 of the EuroLeague playoff series will take place at Palau Blaugrana next Tuesday. The winner will advance to the EuroLeague Final Four.
“I believe we are fighters, we have this motivation every time, and we know in Barcelona we will play a serious match, nothing else.
It is almost impossible to beat Barcelona three times but we are going there to try. We will try to control the rhythm, to be inside the game. We’ll see,” Zenit head coach Xavi Pascual said.
“We gotta rest up, look at what we can improve, come back and play the way we did today or even better. It’s the fifth game, it’s gonna be hard to close it out, so we’ve got to be ready,” Kevin Pangos noted.
“Nothing in life is for free and it’s more than obvious that as a coach I didn’t do my job. That is my responsibility and I will try to get through to my guys a little bit better for the deciding match in Barcelona.
I will try to prepare my team better for Game 5. Qualification for the Final Four requires fighting your ass off, until you cannot stand on your two feet anymore.
I’m not doing my job too good if my players are not fighting their asses off,” FC Barcelona head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius said, via the official website of the EuroLeague.
In the other EuroLeague playoff series, CSKA Moscow has already qualified for the EuroLeague Final Four, whereas Real Madrid and Anadolu Efes will clash in Game 5 on Tuesday.