It was an offensive feast in Berlin as Alba Berlin took the 101-88 win in Game 3 to put Bayern Munich on the brink of elimination in the Bundesliga semi-finals.
This game was an insult to defence. Alba may not be the most D-focused team at Euroleague level but in the Bundesliga, you expect them to look comparatively tight to what they are up against. On Sunday they faced a Bayern team that has been a black hole on defence all year and gave no indication that anything was going to change before the end of this season in defeat. Fortunately, from a neutral perspective, both teams were red hot on offence for the full 40 so that made this a really fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
The final margin really hid how tight this game was. For all of Bayern’s issues stopping Alba scoring, they had no problems turning it on offensively and kept this one in the balance until midway through the final frame. The narrative for Bayern all year has been that they can usually shoot themselves out of trouble but when they come up against higher quality opposition they face problems. That ended their Euroleague campaign early and limited their opportunities once they got to the knockout stages of Eurocup. In the offence dominated Bundesliga, it was easier to overcome these problems. It’s not so much that Bayern have defensive issues as much as that they have no defence.
Nihad Djedovic and Vasilije Micic carried the load to ensure that they were going to stay in this shootout and pose Alba problems. Unfortunately for them they ran into an angry Alex Renfroe and an epic performance from Reggie Redding. Renfroe had taken to Twitter the night before the game to rant about his rating in NBA 2k15. Yes, on the eve of a crucial playoff game he was complaining about a video game but it’s nice to know ballers are human. Renfroe clearly had something to show in this game but he kept his head throughout, never more obvious than when catching a wild pass on the left wing in the first half he paused to check he was still in bounds, settled, and still had time to make the open three. Renfroe finished with 14 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals but it was Redding who stole the show.
If you are forced into a shootout it helps if your top gun is making everything. Redding only missed his last shot in an 8/9 performance including 4/4 from three to finish with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Redding has been a revelation this season but the last couple of months of the regular season had seen him cool off a touch. He came back with a bang in this one to put Alba on the brink of the Bundesliga finals.
Tuesday evening in Munich is going to be huge for both clubs. It’s too late for Bayern to make any radical changes from the way they have played all year but Pesic needs to get them working smarter if they are to keep their season alive. In a straight shootout, they would probably take Bamberg in the finals but they are up against a team that can outdo them in terms of raw offence at this stage. Alba know they will have another shot in Berlin on Thursday if they fall short but with a Euroleague wildcard slot to be decided, they would have a much stronger case if they finished off Bayern in the Audi Dome.