The last time the Deutsche Bank Skyliners lost to EnBW Ludwigsburg at home was in 2006 as Lionel Richie look alike Jerry Green was putting up MVP stats in the BEKO BBL(even though Bingo Merriex could also pose as a Lionel Richie double), ex Skyliner Rudy Mbemba was still a teenager and for many basketball fanatics the hottest Swedish commodity since the pop group Roxette and singer Paul Potts was still practicing his opera talent at home in front of the mirror and selling cell phones before he finally became a household name in 2008 winning Britain´ s Got talent and Frankfurt was able to keep their unbeaten streak alive at home beating EnBW Ludwigsburg 74-67. Frankfurt was able to win their six game in a row and players had mixed emotions about the way the home team was able to win the game. Skyliner center Marius Nolte had a glowing smile after the win, but not so much about how the team played. “I am smiling about how we survived the last weeks. We had injuries and guys coming and going, but we stayed together as a team which is important. We were a bit tired mentally tonight, but I am happy that we won. Ex Tubingen American AJ Moye had a stern expression after the game and wasn´t to thrilled with how the team played. “A win is a win, but I didn´t like our purpose on offense tonight. We pushed the ball nicely on transition, but we were breaking out of our offensive sets to quickly. Normally Ludwigsburg is a team where we should have 5-6 guys in double figures and 18-20 team assists. We gave up 43 points in the second half which is trash. I am happy we won, but not satisfied”, stressed Skyliner American AJ Moye. EnBW Ludwigsburg lost their third in a row and fourth of their last five games and had to play catch up basketball all night long. “We play well at times, but we played too much up and down tonight. We were unable to be consistent tonight. Frankfurt decided the game with their penetration. Our bigs aren´t quick enough to help when the Frankfurt guards penetrate”, stated EnBW Ludwigsburg assistant coach Steven Clauss.
EnBW Ludwigsburg have started the season slowly with a record of 2-6 and even though no one is publicly admitting it, the club is desperate to reach the playoffs after opening anew arena last season and missing the playoffs the last three years. “Our biggest problem in the early going was not having Donatas Zavackas. We were unable to compensate his loss, but now he is back. Jerry Green is still looking for his form, but he played in Italy the last years which is different than the BEKO BBL and need to get used to the style in Germany again. He will make his move as will the team. We also had some bad luck the last weeks playing agaisnt teams who were on runs with TBB Trier and Phoenix Hagen”, warned EnBW Ludwigsburg coach Steven Clauss. Despite the slow start, the club has high expectations and know that they wont be on the beach in May. “Our goal remains to be the playoffs. Our current situation isn´t easy with three away games in Frankfurt, Bonn and Bremerhaven, but I believe that we will grow as a team and have a chance to reach the playoffs. I am always an optimist. I dont think that there is more pressure on team than last season. Every team has pressure to win. The only thing missing for us is to get some surprise wins and I feel we are capable of doing it”, warned ex Skyliner assistant coach Steven Clauss. Not only having the right players will be vital for team success, but also having the right coach. The fact that he coached a woman´s team the last three years brings no fear to Steven Clauss. “Jochum understands the game and brings experience to the team having played the game. He is new to the BEKO BBL as coach, but I help him with the experience that I have. He is a good coach and it doesn´t matter that he coached women the last years. It always depends how you coach and not what quality you coached. I think that if Gordon Herbert coached a woman´s team for three years that he would not be a worse coach”, stressed Steven Clauss.
Many people were predicting a 20-30 point win for the Deutsche Bank Skyliners before the tipoff and hoping that Frankfurt might take EnBW Ludwigsburg too lightly was already in the thoughts of some as EnBW Ludwigsburg sport director Mario Probst had carefully declared before the game that Frankfurt might already have won the game in their heads. The 3570 fans that came to the Ballsporthalle on a rare Wednesday night game would see a hard fought game with less scoring than normal. EnBW Ludwigsburg got on the board first as John Bowler hit a mid distance jumper over Joe Dabbert. Frankfurt quickly responded with a Joe Dabbert bucket as he snuck under the hoop and retrieved a bullet pass from Kimmo Muurinen. The first few minutes were filled with a Dashaun Wood steal, David Mccray block on Muurinen and tunovers by Marius Nolte and Johannes Lischka before the next points were finally scored. Frankfurt then went on a mini 4-0 run as they got their first transition points as Roger Powell made a steal fed the ball to Wood and he found Dominik Bahiense De Mello streaking to the hoop, which was followed by a Nolte lay in after Wood has gone a few steps into the zone and then firing to the big man for two points as Frankfurt led 7-3. John Bowler kept EnBW Ludwigsburg in the game with two points inside and De Mello made a three pointer as Frankfurt led only 10-7. EnBW Ludwigsburg had a 6-0 run to lead 11-10 as Bowler made a fade away jumper over Nolte and Lischka used his strength to score inside. Joe Dabbert then scored inside and 2003 NBA draft pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves Rick Rickert made one of two free throws as EnBW Ludwigsburg had the slim 13-12 lead after ten minutes.
Frankfurt had six turnovers and had missed four free throws which didn´t give them any help in having the lead after 10 minutes. The Eintracht Frankfurt soccer team had many players watching the game including 20 year old Sebastian Jung who was impressed by the quick sport. “I follow basketball. The first quarter saw many missed shots, but it was interesting to see how the defense works for both teams”, stressed Sebastain Jung. Perhaps Frankfurt will have two title teams come next summer? “It would be nice if both teams would win the title, but I think that Frankfurt realistically has the better chance then we do”, joked Sebastian Jung. After 10 minutes EnBW Ludwigsburg was shooting 31% from the field and 0% from outside while The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 38% from the field and 25% from outside. Frankfurt had the 12-9 rebound edge while they had six turnovers and EnBW Ludwigsburg only two.
In the second quarter, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners had two energizer players with roger Powell at the start and German Dominik Bahiense De Mello at the end. Powell got Frankfurt on a 5-0 run scoring five points. he started hitting one of two free throws and then made a quick cross over move slipped into the zone and hit a fade away jumper falling to his left and then finished a fast break with a one handed dunk getting a nice feed from Quantez Robertson as Frankfurt led 17-13. Howeve rin the next few minutes there would be a few lead changes as neither team could break away. American Alex Harris who had been fairly quiet broke out with a three pointer and ex Tuebingen American Bingo Merriex scored inside getting a nice pass from David Mccray as EnBW Ludwigsburg retook the lead 18-17. Dashaun Wood had his A game playmaking game on finding Muurinen inside for two quick points as Frankfurt led 19-18. John Bowler might be a basketball version of the hulk, but he also has nice hands and a good eye as he found Toby Bailey open for a three pointer as EnBW Ludwigsburg led 21-19. Frankfurt then closed out the second quarter with a 10-3 run to lead 29-24 after 20 minutes. De Mello would be the energy spark in the last minutes scoring seven of the 10 Frankfurt points. Wood started the offensive explosion finding the hole in the zone and scooting to the hoop for an easy lay in. De Mello than scored on a coast to coast run as EnBW Ludwigsburg seemed to be loafing back, then the German scored inside off the penetration on an offensive set and with the shot winding down the Bonn native nailed a three pointer as Frankfurt went into halftime with the 29-24 lead. “We played our game in the first quarter, but in the second quarter ran with Frankfurt not playing our game”, explained EnBW Ludwigsburg assistant coach Steven Clauss. “We went into the game seeing Ludwigsburg as an offensive team, but they did surprise us in the first half making life difficult for us with their defense”, stated Marius Nolte. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and only 11% from the three point line while EnBW Ludwigsburg was shooting 24% from the field and 22% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the slight 24-21 rebound edge and seven turnovers while the guests had four turnovers.
In the third quarter, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners held the lead leading by as much as 13 points, but let EnBW Ludwigsburg hang around as tehy were unable to totally break away. Kimmo Muurinen got Frankfurt on the board first in the third quarter with a steal coming between a guard to guard pass and streaking to the basket for the dunk and the 31-24 Frankfurt lead. However EnBW Ludwigsburg then went on a 7-3 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 34-31. Rick Rickert scored twice inside and Alex Harris nailed another three pointer. Frankfurt was keen on keeping Ludwigsburg back and always seemed to get timely buckets. This time a much needed three pointer by AJ Moye was the start of a 10-0 Frankfurt run as they would extend their lead to 44-31. Frankfurt also had some luck as the ball was popped around from team to team in aspan of 20 seconds, but in the end Joe Dabbert found the ball in his hands and had the easy cherry picker lay up. Powell then finished a transition with a hoop and feed from Moye and then drooped a three pointer from the top of the key. It seemed like Frankfurt had the momentum, but the momentum in basketball can change as rapidly as Paris Hilton does her lovers as EnBW Ludwigsburg rallied and went on a 9-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 46-40. Bailey hit a three pointer from the wing and Alex Harris connected on a catch an dpop jumper and a bomb from the wing after getting a quick kick out pass from John Bowler. Jerry Green then made a spectacular lay in under the hoop and the quarter ended with Lischka and Robertson free throws as Frankfurt led 48-44. “We found our rhythm on offense, but whenever he had some Frankfurt stops, we were unable to use chance to fully come back, becuase we had no consistency”, stressed Steven Clauss. “We had a good phase in the third quarter, but we were mentally tired from last weeks and let them come in by making little mistakes”, added Marius Nolte. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and 31% from the parking lot while EnBW Ludwigsburg were shooting 33% from the field and 27% from the parking lot. Frankfurt still had the rebounding edge 29-26, but 11 turnovers while EnBW Ludwigsburg had eight turnovers.
EnBW Ludwigsburg had some misfortune at the start of the fourth quarter as they were hit with a unsportsmanlike foul and then a technical foul. However Roller missed the first two free throws which is about as unlikey as a person seeing pis flying down form heaven or Angola ever winning the basketball world championships, but the Skyliner captain sunk the next two free throws. John Bowler then made a super tough shot in traffic as it felt like the whole Skyliner roster was under the basket as EnBW Ludwigsburg only trailed 50-47. However then came the turning point of the game as Frankfurt went on a 11-0 run to lead 61-47 and EnBW Ludwigsburg would never fully recover. The first four points of the run were made without Wood who was on the bench as Pascal Roller scored coming in the zone as the trailor as De Mello fed him and then Robertson scored on the fast break where EnBW Ludwigsburg had some further misfortune as Robertson tried making a pass to the wing, but Merriex tipped the ball which went directly back into the hands of the Robertson who finished with an easy lay up. Frankfurt then got easy buckets inside as Super Tez made a nifty over the shoulder hook pass to Dabbert who scored and Wood found Nolte open inside as the help defense was taking a coffee break. Nolte then stole the ball out of Bowler´s hands and Wood answered with a three pointer and the Frankfurt 61-47 lead. EnBW Ludwigsburg never gave up and would continue to threaten going on a 6-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 61-53. Lishka did damage twice scoring inside in traffic and the club got free throws from Bailey and Zavackas. However whenever EnBW Ludwisgburg was getting closer, Frankfurt hit a big shot and who better than Pascal Roller who nailed an open jumper from the wing as Frankfurt led 64-53. However EnBW Ludwigsburg would stay on the heels of Frankfurt as Alex Harris went on a 5-0 run hitting a runner and a three pointer as Frankfurt only led 64-58. With time running down, David Mccray hit a lay up as Frankfurt led only 66-60. In the last minute, Zavackas would score twice and Harris once, but there was too little time and Frankfurt answered with Powell and Wood free throws winning 74-67. “Frankfurt deserved to win this game. Frankfurt didn´t play so strong, but it was enough to win. We missed easy shots and too many free throws. If we can´t take advantage of their mistakes then wínning is very difficult against a good team like Frankfurt”, stressed Steven Clauss. “This was the first game this season where we were playing at alot quicker pace on offense and defense. I think if we can continue to play like this in the future then we will win more games. We just have to get adjusted to this style more”, stressed ex Phoenix Sun Toby Bailey. “This was a tough loss. This was like amoral victory for us. We turned it around and picked up our intensity and aggressiveness. If we can play like this more than we will be successful against many teams”, warned ex Telekom Basket Bonn center John Bowler.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were led by Roger Powell with 16 points, six rebounds and two assists. Dashaun Wood produced 13 points, eight assists and four rebounds.Dominik Bahiense De Mello and Joe Dabbert chipped in with 11 points a piece. En BW Ludwigsburg was led by Alex Harris with 18 points and three assists. John Bowler contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and two assists.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners finished the game shooting 45% from the field and shooting a dismal 35% from outside while EnBW Ludwigsburg shot 39% from the field and a horrible 29% from outside. Frankfurt led the rebounding battle again hauling down 39 rebounds while EnBW Ludwigsburg had 34 rebounds. Frankfurt also won the points in the paint with 34-28, but had 16 turnovers while EnBW Ludwigsburg only had 12 turnovers. There were positives from the outcome, but also things the team can work on the next days. “We rebounded very well and our offensive systems were running well. Powell is getting better integrated into the team. However we were having problems on our rotations and giving Bowler too many points”, stressed ex Paderborn Baskets center Marius Nolte. Despite the messy game and loss, EnBW Ludwigsburg showed one strong quality in the game. “We showed our fighting quality for the first time this season. We have our whole team back now an dif we play more games like this with this mentality then I think we will win more games”, stressed 1995 NCAA champion with UCLA Toby Bailey. AJ Moye is known as being a very hard working basketball player in the same league as a Derrick Allen. Those two guys could probably set the Guinness world record for being on the court the longest in practice, but Moye also showed another quality. He has always been a man with comical words, but he also can philosophy with the best of them. “Our goal is to win, but not focus on the goal but the process of winning. We have to take it one play at a time”, warned AJ Moye. Frankfurt have the weekend off and start the Eurochallenge next week at home, but AJ Moye already has the Walter Tigers Tuebingen game in his head on November 20th. “I want to beat Tuebingen by a million”, grined AJ Moye. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners host Macabbi Haifa in Eurochallenge play November 16th at 19:00.