With a packed Ballsporthalle, an atmosphere that could have been confused with the Akatlar arena in Istanbul and ex coach Murat Didin back in his living room, the Frankfurt fans could not have asked for a more delectable first home game, similar as if the Miami Heat would open up in Cleveland with Lebron James, actor George Clooney returning to an ER type of reunion show or Randy Moss returning back to New England making a winning touchdown with the Minnesota Vikings. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners sent nobody home sad as Murat Didin and the Gloria Ginats didn´t find the missing spice for glory on this sunny afternoon in Frankfurt getting trampled 58-43. “I had no personal feeling towards Murat. This was a delectable game and became more tasty in the second half. We prepared the meal in the third quarter and ate it in the fourth quarter”, joked Skyliner center Marius Nolte. Spinning a basketball on your finger can be classified as pure beauty, but this basketball game at times looked more like an episode of beauty and beast with 10 Vincents running around the court with missed shots and tons of turnovers. “This was not a pretty game. It was a hard fought game with good defense on both sides. Both teams missed a lot of shots, but we stuck with it, grinded it out and pull out the win at the end”, stressed Skyliner guard Grayson Moyer. For the Gloria Giants Duesseldorf, it was their second loss this season, but considering how new the team was an effort that was a lot improved over the loss in Bremerhaven. “I am from Detroit and there is not a special way how to classify a game like this except that it was real ugly. Frankfurt demolished us on the boards. We started off well and had a chance to push away but Frankfurt was able to capitalize on our mistakes. I have to blame this loss on us”, stated ex Paderborn guard Deandre Haynes. “This was a real sluggish game. Our offense was rolling, but we just weren´t hitting shots. These things happen and it is a part of life. We are happy that we won it and will take a win like this any day”, added Brad Buckman.
Murat Didin was relieved from his duties in Frankfurt approximately 6 months ago and didn´t waste any time getting a new basketball life in Duesseldorf. He found new sponsors and built a new team and one really didn´t have to speculate if he would have a warm welcome in the Ballsporthalle. Didin also brought his assistant coach from Frankfurt Engin Gencoglu to Duesseldorf who as always was in high spirits before the game and seemed to shake and hug as many people as Didin did. “My first home in Germany was Frankfurt. I have so many friends here. It is nice having such a delicious first game for Frankfurt against us. This game was also difficult, because we have to be professionals. As soon as the jump ball came, we gave hustle and didn´t think about anything else except winning”, stressed Engin Gencoglu. Six months is a long time and Gencoglu has not seen any change in Didin. “Murat has a basketball philosophy and will always follow it no mater if he coaches BBL, PRO A or PRO B. He will continue to do this in Duesseldorf just like he did in Frankfurt. His philosophy is be smart, strong and fight”, said Gencoglu. The assistant coach does miss one thing from Frankfurt. “I miss the Nordwestcentrum Doner. It is the best in Germany”, joked Gencolglu. The babba name calling also hasn´t changed. “Murat continues to use babba all day long. I think he says it about 40-50 times per day. Our players are also starting to use it. In Duesseldorf it is not whats up man, but whats up babba”, laughed Engin Gencoglu.
Right before it got dark in the Ballsporthalle when the teams are introduced there were two noteworthy and interesting scenes as Murat Didin had a short conversation on the sideline with injured Skyliner Quantez Robertson and the son of Didin Ahmet made his entry in the Ballsporthalle with his sunglasses and headphones as one might of thought who was more the star in Duesseldorf father or son? With so many things happening off the court on this day, there was still Basketball to be played as both teams had problems scoring right off the bat as the fans quickly sensed that this could be more a defensive battle than a scoring contest. The Gloria Giants Duesseldorf took the quick 6-0 lead silencing the crowd quickly as their seemed to be some disbelief of what was happening. Canadian national player Olumuyiwa Famutimi got Duesseldorf on the board first with a layup after getting a sweet bounce pass from Laimonas Kisielius and getting fouled. Deandre Haynes then sunk a three pointer as Frankfurt was quickly in the hole 6-0. Frankfurt seemed overmotivated and were already struck early with weak and untimely turnovers. “I thought that Didin coming back was good for the fans. But it didn´t influence me any and didn´t effect us at the start”, commented Brad Buckman. Marius Nolte then made two freethrows, but Duesseldorf kept moving their offense and scoring as Famutimi made a dunk as he got in behind the Frankfurt defense and American Jamie Jones made a tap in on a mini ally op pass from Haynes. Duesseldorf was up 10-2 and Murat Didin was on top of the world and his evil eye must of still been hidden in his pocket.
However Frankfurt had seen enough and would strike back going on a 7-0 run cutting the Duesseldorf lead to 10-9. Jimmy Mckinney started the run with a three pointer which was followed by a perfect lob pass from Kimmo Muurinen to Buckman for a lay up and the American from Austin, Texas then hit a jumper. Just as it seemed like Frankfurt was finding their rhythm, they lost a little concentration in the down stretch letting Duesseldorf end the first quarter with a mini 4-0 run. Jamal Ttaum then made a steal off a bad Psacal Roller pass going coast to coast for two points and then nailing two free throws. “Frankfurt had a slow start. I felt their offense was good. Thy just weren´t hitting their shots. Duesseldorf started hot and didn´t have many turnovers”, commented TuS Makkabi Frankfurt (Germany-2.Regionalliga) player Blake Thompson. The Dueseldorf Giants were shooting 31% from the field and 33% from outside while The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 21% from the field and 13% from outside. Frankfurt was leading the rebounds 12-9, but had five turnovers while Duesseldorf had only two.
In the second quarter, the game continued to be very low scoring and the Gloria Giants Duesseldorf could be happy that the Frankfurt offense was about as far from their top performance as actor Seth Rogan ever running up the K2 mountain. Despite a Moyer airball and a De Mello in and out shot, Frankfurt still managed to get stops on defense as production from Mckinney who made a tip in off a perfect Roller pass and De Mello scoring on a fast break as Frankfurt showed how to play perfect transition basketball as Muurinen got the rebound made the quick feed to Moyer who then found the German dashing down the court. Both Moyer and De Mello made up for their missed shots. Frankfurt trailed only 15-13. Nikita Khartchenkov made a floater for the 17-13 lead. Kisielius and Mckinney traded free throws and AJ Moye then stepped up with a three pointer cutting the Duesseldorf lead to 18-17. Moye continued to amaze with his line drive/fast ball shot that would need some help for it ever to turn into a rainbow shot. Mckinney then made a layup and Ransford Brempong made one of two free throws as Frankfurt still trailed 21-19. With little time remaining in the first half, Frankfurt found a sudden energy spark form point guard Dashaun Wood who showed his lightening quickness scooting around Tatum for a bucket and then ending the quarter as the buzzer sounded with another basket on the penetration as Frankfurt waltzed into the halftime break with their first lead of the game 23-21. “Frankfurt continued missing too many easy shots, but on defesne they were making it more difficult for Duesseldorf to score”, added TuS Makkabi Frankfurt (Germany-2.Regionalliga) player Blake Thompson. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 31% from the field and 15% from the three point line while the Glory Giants Duesseldorf were shooting 24% from the field and 20% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the rebound edge 24-17, but eight turnovers while Duesseldorf had six.
In the third quarter, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners would keep their lead and never look back again as their offense started to click and their defense kept making basketball life for Duesseldorf in the old Murat Didin living room harder and harder. Kisielius had his moment at the start as he made a layup over Nolte and a mid distance jumper. Jermaine Bucknor sunk a three pointer as Frankfurt still led 26-25. The third quarter continued to be plagued by many missed shots and unsatisfactory turnovers by Frankfurt. Muurinen made a layin and Buckman two free throws as Frankfurt had their biggest lead of the game 30-25. The Frankfurt defense was getting stronger and stronger and doing a good job giving up only tough shots to Duesseldorf. Here and there, Duesseldorf made a hoop as Brempong found some daylight inside as Duesseldorf trailed only 30-27. Frankfurt was making easy mistakes as if they were just learning the game and getting stupid offensive fouls. Frankfurt also found ways of getting inside as Nolte scored off a nice bounce pass from Roller as Frankfurt led 32-27. De Mello then made a steal and scored hard off the glass and Roller made two free throws as Frankfurt led 36-30 with 12 seconds to play. Duesseldorf had one last play and Frankfurt made another costly mistake at that point of the game fouling Haynes behind the three point line as the buzzer sounded. Haynes hit all three free throws as Frankfurt led only 36-30. “At half time coach had stressed that our bad offense possessions had led to easy Duesseldorf baskets in the first half. We had to step up our defense and did a better job on rotations, got our hands up and rebounded better”, stressed Grayson Moyer. “The third quarter killed us as we shot 1/11”, stressed Deandre Haynes. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 32% from the field and 17% from the parking lot while The Gloria Giants Duesseldorf were shooting 24% from the field and 13% from the parking lot. Frankfurt kept extending their huge rebound lead to 38-22, but had 14 turnovers while Duesseldorf had ten.
In the fourth quarter, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were able to close the door on the Gloria Giants Duesseldorf as they had their biggest lead at 15 points and Duesseldorf couldn´t get any closer than seven points. Dominik Bahiense De Mello was the key player in the fourth quarter bringing his energy at the start as he stole the ball direct out of Haynes hands and set up Muurinen for a thunderous two handed jam and then nailed an open three pointer right in front of the Duesseldorf bench. It was no secret that Didin and De Mello never saw face to face and hitting this three pointer seemed like a relief for De Mello who pointed his fist at Didin making sure he noticed as he was running back to get on defense. Jermaine Bucknor then made two free throws as Frankfurt led 43-30. Here and there, Duesseldorf did have their moments like at the start of the third quarter as Kisielius scored twice and now it was time for Steven Wright to launch his own mini 5-0 run as Duesseldorf trailed only 43-35. Wright scored twice on the fast break getting set up each time from Jamaal Tatum. Frankfurt wasn´t about to let Duesseldorf back in the game as they would get a timely three pointer from Pascal Roller as Frankfurt led 46-35. However, Frankfurt was unable to totally pull away as they kept coughing up the ball or making offensive fouls keeping Duesseldorf in the game. Duesseldorf made some free throws from Famutimi and Haynes as Duesseldorf trailed only 46-37. After Nolte made two free throws, Duesseldorf continued to fight and come back as Haynes nailed a three pointer and Joe Buck made one of two free throws as Frankfurt led only 48-41. However as Roller had done a few minutes earlier, now it was time for Moye to make a big three pointer which was followed by two Mckinney free throws and a Muurinen layin as Frankfurt was getting closer and closer to getting that first win at home leading 55-41. Haynes and Mckinney ended the game trading baskets. Duesseldorf was to eratic in the fourth quarter playing more one on one basketball at times then performing text book basketball which really hurt their chances of winning the game. “We had too many off balance shots in the fouth quarter. It looked more like desperation shots”, stressed ex Braunschweig guard Steve Wright. “Anytime you keep an opponent to 43 points, then you played good defense. It was all team defense today. We did what we had to as a team on defense to win” warned Brad Buckman. “Frankfurt was really packing it in in the zone. They were making us force shots which really isn’t our game”, added Deandre Haynes. At the end of the game, there was a beautiful gesture by the Skyliners fan club Skybembels as they presented Murat Didin and Engin Gencoglu with a letter and many signatures. The Duesseldorf loss most likey gave Didin no appetite that night, but he left Frankfurt with a small smile knowing that he will always have a home in Frankfurt.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were led by Jimmy Mckinney with 10 points Kimmo Muurinen added eight points and eight rebounds. .Brad Buckman and Dominik Bahiense De Mello chipped in with seven points a piece. The Glory Giants Duesseldorf were led by Deandre Haynes with 12 points. Olumuyiwa Famutimi chipped in with ten points and eight rebounds.
The Gloria Giants Duesseldorf head back to the Rhein with very much work to do. Duesseldorf shot only 25% from the field and 8% from outside and percentages like that might not even win games even if there is an abundance of evil eyes in Didin´s luggage. Duesselodorf have some talented players and now the most important thing that they need is not to look at the clock. “Time is our strength now. We have to work together more and in time I think that we can be a good team”, warned Duesseldorf assistant coach Engin Gencoglu. A big problem in the Frankfurt game was this street ball mentality. “I have no idea why we played one on one at times. We didn´t make good decisions on offense”, stressed German Patrick Wischnewski. Jamaal Tatum and Olu Fatutimi could be two big important pieces to whether Duesseldorf will be successful or not this season. Tatum has been in two NBA training camps being the last cut for the Atlanta Hawks some years back and Famutimi recently played at the World Championships in Turkey and has a bright future. However both shot a combined 4/19 and often took too many wild contested shots, but were not seen in a bad light by their teammates. “Coach wanted that Famutimi post up. He and Tatum are good players. They will find their rhythm. They have only been on the team a week. It feels like preseason”, commented Steve Wright. “I played against Tatum in college and know Famutimi since childhood. They will be ok. Once they get going, they will be valuable for us”, said Deandre Haynes.
This is a game that The Deutsche Bank Skyliners players will surely forget soon as a tough contest in Bamberg awaits them in 72 hours. They will have to hit their shots in Bamberg and have less turnovers to survive. Frankfurt did a fine job on the boards hauling down 51 rebounds and played tough defense allowing only 43 points. Frankfurt will still have something in the back of their minds when they step on the floor in the Jako arena on Wednesday. “We still have Champions Cup loss on our minds. We can´t play like that again. We are deeper now and we have to find our chance this time”, warned Marius Nolte. Frankfurt will have their two Bucks on the court in Bamberg. Buckman had seven points and six rebounds in 10 minutes while Jermaine Bucknor had 5 points and three rebounds in 19 minutes. “Me and Jermaine are doing the best job we can getting integrated. We will score, rebound and defend. I am happy to be here. We have 32 more games”, added Brad Buckman. Frankfurt go to Bamberg with a sloppy win and nothing to lose and know what they have to do best in Bavaria. “We have to execute on offense better in Bamberg, get our defense set and work for good shots”, warned San Diego native Grayson Moyer. The Brose Baskets Bamberg host The Deutsche Bank Skyliners on October 13th at 19:30.