The waiting, waiting, waiting and waiting for the big showdown between the Deutsche Bank Skyliners and the Brose Baskets Bamberg to meet had finally come to an end as the last days in Frankfurt had seemed as long as it currently is for fans waiting to see where NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony will practice his scoring soon, when new drama will hit Tila Tequila, the former star of A shot of love concerning a new scandal tape or when Gloria Giants coach Murat Didin will finally come through with his warnings of bringing in some new players for the stretch run as he has had many players in for tryouts and had them sweating more on the court than straining their fingers for a signature on the dotted line. Not only were the fans eagerly awaiting a battle, but so were the players. “I was really excited to play this game. The first against the second team and this has become a big rivalry with both teams playing each other 10 times in the last two seasons and all the players knowing each other fairly well on both teams”, stressed Bamberg forward Kyle Hines. “We approached the game as a normal game, but inside I was pretty excited. They are a good team that is well coached and I had fun playing”, stressed Bamberg guard John Goldsberry. Kimmo Muurinen showed his iceman qualities with little emotion for the magnitude of the game. “I dont extra excited about one certain game. It is a routine with the same preparation, but it was great playing in front of a full gym”, commented Skyliner forward Kimmo Muurinen.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners knew that the game would not be a cake walk and the team and fans probably had the incredible unforgettable Chris Moss buzzer beater in the back of their minds and were prepared for a repeat Mucauly Culkan Kodak moment mouth wide open in shock look from the movie Home Alone against The Brose Baskets Bamberg, but instead had a sad and disappointed Culkin type of look he may have had if he had been stumped by actor Joe Peschi instead of making a fool out of the actor as he did so often in the Home Alone movies. The Brose Baskets Bamberg came out on fire and played very solid for 40 minutes giving Frakfurt their first home loss of the season 81-63. “We started off well and moved the ball very well and got open shots and hit most of them. We have so many guys that can hit 20 points each night except of me off course”, joked Bamberg guard John Goldsberry.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners had massive problems with the solid Bamberg offense and could not come to terms with the Bamberg pressure on defense. “We started off very bad. I let Suput score like 8 points off the bat. We weren´t tough enough in the first half. We never got to the level that we needed to reach to win”, added Kimmo Muurinen. Bamberg simply displayed a kind of basketball that only they know how to play and be successful in the BEKO BBL. “I have to give a lot of credit to Bamberg. They controlled the tempo on offense and defense. They hurt us under the basket and just beat us down pretty good and that is the reason why they have only one loss this season”, added current top scorer in the BEKO BBL Dashaun Wood.
When forming successful and possible dynasty teams, a club needs to have a type of builder that can find the right players that will fit together the best. After much disappointment in the 90s, Boston sports teams had a type of revival in the Millennium winning 6 titles as the New England Patriots hoisted 3 Super Bowls, The Boston Redsox 2 World Series and the Boston Celtics one NBA title. A big part to the success of these teams were guys behind the scenes with Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics(well if baseball doesnt work lets try basketball) who won 2 NBA titles with Larry Bird in the 80s, Bill Bellichick of the New England Patriots who is considered one of the best NFL coaches of all time and Theo Epstein of the Boston Redsox(Mr RISK, but in the end he made another steal of a player. The man who fills this role in Bambegr is manager Wolfgang Heyder who has been a big part of finding the right mix of players for 3 BEKO BBL titles. He is known to standing and watching the Bamberg-Frankfurt games in both places in the runway of the arena and is always very focused during a game the same way a cat is just before finding prey with a mouth and has that relaxed aura about him the same way Franz Beckenbauer had in 1990 as coach of the German national team after they had won the World Cup in Rome, Italy against Argentina. It is always nice when a German Basketball mind knows something remotely about Americas past time Baseball. “I have heard of Theo Epstein. One cant forget that he has so much more money to work with in signing players. It is always important taking a lot of time when finding players”, stated Wolfgang Heyder. Heyder is pleased how the first half went and his formula for keeping most of the players and finding Hines and Terry worked out perfectly. “It would be fatal to say that I am not happy with the first half. The team found together fast and have played well together, but they can still get better. We felt it was important to keep the team together, but there is always a risk if the team will be as motivated to come back and win the next season. We had a good feeling with the characters of the players and so far it has paid off. Hines and Terry have fit in well. We watched Hines for two years so we knew what we were getting. We talked to many of his old coaches and watched him in Las Vegas again and we knew 100% what we were getting. It was pretty much the same with Terry. Also we have 5 young German players that always give 100% in practice and give good competition. Maurice Stuckey will be a German national player down the road”, warned Wolfgang Heyder. Heyder agreed with coach Chris Fleming that Hines has been one of most improved Bamberg players this season. “Hines has improved the most and that shows in the stats. He helps in so many places. Tibor Pleiss also has improved. He had a slow start due to the summer stress of the German national team and the NBA draft”, added Wolfgang Heyder. Heyder also had thoughts to Dirk Nowitzki playing In Bamberg and if Wood could fit into the current Fleming system. “Dirk doesnt need the money and wants to be near home. My contacts have told me that a lockout will probably happen. I am not sure if Wood would fit into our system now. We have guards who dont really need to score. Wood has a high quality and would help any team”, warned Wolfgang Heyder.
5,002 fans were in the Ballsporthalle as the jump ball was released and The Deutsche Bank Skyliners knew that getting off to a slow start against The Brose Baskets Bamberg would not be beneficial, but the gang of Gordon Herbert got off on the wrong foot as Bamberg jumped out on to an 8-0 lead. Tibor Pleiss started with a difficult fade away jumper over Chris Moss and Predrag Suput destroyed Frankfurt from down town with consecutive jumpers. Bamberg found their rhythm righta way, while Bamberg quickly displayed their aggressive pressure defense not allowing the team find any kind of harmony. Frankfurt tried to go inside early and had some success as Quantez Robertson and Dashaun Wood scored to cut the Bamberg lead to 10-4, but Bamberg then went on a 12-0 run to extend their big lead to 22-4. Suput continued to hurt Frankfurt now scoring twice inside. Bamberg continued to confuse Frankfurt with their head turning ball movement and good mix of penetration and shots or last second no look passes. Anton Gavel continues to bewilder you with his fast line drive shots that find a way into the hoop and Kyle Hines made a running hook shot. “They have so many plays and it seems like 15-20 new plays come for each new game. Bamberg has great and smart players that just know what to do. It is simply difficult to defend that”, stressed Dashaun Wood. Frankfurt started to find the hoop a bit better in the last few minutes as captain Pascal Roller nailed two three pointers and Kimmo Muurinen made a mid distance jumper. The Brose Baskets Bamberg were leading 29-13 after one quarter. “We had good ball movement, hit our shots and played good aggressive defense”, stated Bamberg manager Wolfgang Heyder. “Bamberg got off to a quick start hitting their shots. It was tough for us to come back. They play to perfection and never get of of their plays and just know how to knock down open shots”, commented Quantez Robertson. The Brose Baskets Bamberg were shooting 69% from the field and 100% from outside while The Deutsche bank Skyliners were shooting 42% from the field and 50% from outside. Bamberg had the huge 10-3 rebounding edge and only two turnovers while Frankfurt had five turnovers.
In the second quarter, The Brose Baskets Bamberg continued to hold a huge lead as The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were able to cut the Bamberg lead to 12 points, but not get any closer. Bamberg continued to play their smart inside out game as German Kartsen Tadda hit a three pointer and Predrag Suput made a mini hook shot over Chris Moss. Jimmy Mckinney found his stroke dropping a three pointer, but Brian Roberts hit a shot while falling to his right, but Bamberg still led comfortably 36-18. Frankfurt would make little spurts on offense with a 7-2 run to cut the Bambegr lead to 38-25, but had already dug such a big hole that finding a light at the end of the tunnel was difficult. Then it was time for a Tibor Pliess 4-0 run and then a Dashaun Wood 5-0 run as Frankfurt trailed only 42-30. Pleiss made a nice left handed hook and then a lay up getting a nice head fake shot pass from Casey Jacobsen. It seemed like Frankfurt might have found a bigger shovel in their retreat out of their dark and dank hole, but quickly lost it as Bamberg closed out the second quarter with a 7-2 run to lead 49-32 at halftime. Jacobsen started the run with a three pointer, which was followed with by a Hines lay in on the transition and a Reyshawn Terry Fade away jumper. Wood brought a little smile to fans as he made a buzzer beater off balance jumper at the break. “We had to watch out because Frankfurt is always dangerous on transition. We missed more shots, but the run at the end was important for us. It is always good to go into halftime with a good ending”, stated Wolfgang Heyder. The Brose Baskets Bamberg were shooting 58% from the field and 71% from the three point line while The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 40% from the three point line. Bamberg still had the massive 20-11 rebound edge. Frankfurt had 10 turnovers while Bamberg had only 6 turnovers.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners continued to face an up hill battle in their comeback attempt and had many chances in the first minutes, but were unable to capitalize from the Bamberg misses and turnovers. Frankfurt started off on a 3-0 run with a Wood free throw and a Chris moss lay in as Bamberg led only 49-35. However Bamberg then went on a 10-0 run to lead 59-35 aided by many Tibor Pleiss free throws. Frankfurt continued to scrap and get back to under 20 points as Skyliner captain Pascal Roller nailed a three pointer and Marius Nolte made a lay in as Frankfurt trailed only 64-46. One thing that seems to get overlooked at times is how well of a passing team Bamberg is. Kyle Hines scored twice and both times was fed the basketball over a silver platter. Hines dunked getting a no look pass from Roberts and then being found by Jacobsen as he penetrated making a quick pass ove rthe shoulder of Marius Nolte. Roberts then made a three pointer as Dominik Bahiense De Mello was practically in his face. Bamberg led 68-47 after three quarters. “We wanted to come out stronger in the third quarter on defense, but continued to get easy baskets and get to the free throw line which continued to make difficult for us to get back into the game”, stressed Quantez Robertson. The Brose Baskets Bamberg were shooting 49% from the field and 38% from the parking lot while The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting38% from the field and 36% from the parking lot. Bamberg was winning the rebound duel 29-21 and had only 9 turnovers while Frankfurt had 15 turnovers.
If there was going to be any come back by The Deutsche Bank Skyliners then it would have to happen in the fourth quarter. Frankfurt still had some energy left starting with a 9-3 run to cut the Bamberg lead to 73-56, but time was running out on the club having a unbeaten record continue to in their Ballsporthalle living room. Robertson scored inside with a hard penetration drive which was followed by a Muurinen lay in getting a no look pass from Roller and Mckinney made a jumper. With three minutes to play, it was Casey Jacobsen who seemed to break the back of Frankfurt with a three pointer which quickly was answered by a Muurinen three pointer from the top of the key, but Bamberg still led 76-59 as the two minute mark was approaching. Bamberg then extended their lead to 79-59 with a Pleiss mid distance jumper. Bamberg coach Chris Fleming now inserted 4 young Germans with Tadda, Stueckey, Neumann and Land. Super Tez made the last two Skyliner baskets inside as Frankfurt left the court with an unwanted, but a deserved 81-63 loss to Bamberg once again as they have only left the Ballsporthalle floor as winners twice in the last 6 years. “A key for the win today was the rebounding. Frankfurt is one of the top offensive rebounding teams. Our guards did a good job scratching out rebounds and we boxed out well. We play better as a team when we rebound well and can run”, stated Kyle Hines. “They did a good job cutting the head of the horse. That is usually a good way to win and they took me out of my rhythm and I couldnt adjust”, stated Dashaun Wood.
The Brose Baskets Bamberg were led by Tibor Pleiss with 20 points and nine rebounds. Brian Roberts connected with 13 points. Casey Jacobsen and Predrag Suput chipped in with 12 points a piece. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were led by captain Pascal Roller with 17 points. Dashaun Wood contributed 12 points and Quantez Robertson produced 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners shot under 40% from the field and outside and were outrebounded 39-32. It isnt a secret anymore that the Frankfurt game relies on the game of Dashaun Wood. Bamberg did a great job not letting him do what he likes doing best. “The biggest key to the win was slowing him down. We put 3-4 guard on him giving him different looks and limiting easy baskets. We wanted to make it hard for him to get the ball back when he got rid of it”, stated Kyle Hines. The Bamberg defense did a superb job not letting Frankfurt execute their offense. “Bamberg executes their offense really well mainly because they do the simple things well. We havent done such a good job executing our offense, because we arent doing the simple things. If we can execute better, we will get more confidence which will add to better defense and a snow ball effect will come where we play better”, warned Kimmo Muurinen. For Frankfurt to totally be able to compete against a Bamberg, they need to be totally healthy. “It is tough to beat a Bamberg without two starters. We still need to find our identity and can do that when we are totally healthy”, warned Dashaun Wood. Before Frankfurt can look ahead to Bremerhaven, they play a mid week cup game for a ticket to the Top 4 in Bamberg. “We need to play very good defense against Bonn limiting them to one shot and getting extra possessions on offense”, warned Quantez Robertson. “Frankfurt is missing some big men and Bonn is very athletic while Frankfurt is a good defensive game. If Frankfurt defends well and make their shots then they will have good chances to win”, warned Bamberg guard John Goldsberry. But before Frankfurt plays another game, all eyes in the world will be set on Dallas Sunday for Superbowl XLV in Dallas between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dashaun Wood knows who will win since Green Bay has their own Dashaun Wood type of player. “The Packers will win. They are a very good offensive team and Aaron Rodgers is hard to stop and in the zone at the moment. He is like me in that we both run the teams”, laughed Dashaun Wood. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners host The Telekom Baskets Baskets Bonn in a cup game February 9that 19:30.