Last week at the beko BBL Top 4 in Bamberg, people were as confident for a Frankfurt-Bamberg final as many feel Chicago Bull guard Derrick Rose will be 2011 NBA MVP, as actor Charlie Sheen is going totally beserk since his gig in Detriot and Perez Hilton is giving the juiciest gossip in Hollywood, but instead The Deutsche Bank Skyliners left the Bavarian city in fourth place and a lot of people wondering how that was ever possible. It was extremely obvious, that Skyliner skipper Gordon Herbert would not endure another performance like that again against Phoenix Hagen as The Deutsche Bank Skyliners returned with clenched fists and a mouth watering hunger for the opponent like German Formula one driver Sebastian Vettel has for defending his title, actor Jeremy Renior giving his all in the new Bourne movie as a whole new type of hero and kid hero Justin Bieber wanting to serenade his mother with a birthday cake, but mistakingly setting her hair on fire as the Frankfurt team blew away Phoenix Hagen 93-53. “We had the right attitude tonight. We had been thinking all week about the Braunschweig cup loss. We showed that we wanted to win very badly with our performance. Our defense kept their offense in check from the second quarter until the end. We did very much right today and I am very happy about that”, stressed Skyliner center Marius Nolte. Phoenix Hagen knew that Frankfurt would come out motivated, but had no answers on offense or defense. “Frankfurt had a chip on their shoulder. They came out and just handled us and wanted to boost their confidence. We had energy before the game, but as the game started we showed nothing as nobody did anything. Frankfurt exposed all part of our game”, stressed an unhappy Jacob Burtschi. “We were very focused this week. We showed tonight that we learned from our mistakes in Bamberg. We knew that with Hagen being a very good offensive team, that it would be a good test for us. We knew this game would be a good chance to show our Skyliner basketball and we did”, warned Skyliner guard Dashaun Wood. “We could have lost by 50 points. Nothing happened in this game for us. It was a catastrophe on offense and defense. Frankfurt came back form their poor showing in Bamberg and continue to keep second place”, added Bernd Kruel.
Phoenix Hagen had nothing to lose in this game against The Deutsche Bank Skyliners resting in 12th place and just wanting to finish the season with their heads high. This season Phoenix Hagen has had little problems scoring points as they average 85 a game, but their biggest flaw was their defense letting up 80 points or more 21 times and scoring 80 points or more 11 times, but still losing. Defense is one of the main reasons why the team failed to reach the promised land. “I think that one of the main reasons of our poor defense is that we play so fast which in turn brings turnovers. We have had a lot of misfortune on the road recently getting between 18-20 turnovers, but at home only around 11-12 turnovers. We also had that stretch in the first half of the season where we had numerous injuries which didn´t help us winning either. I think giving up so many points also has to do with experience. We have many new guys and only Quentin Pryor and Zygimantas Jonusas”, stressed Phoenix Hagen assistant coach Steven Wriedt. The team has had some bright spots including the emergence of beko BBL rookie Mark Dorris and late bloomer Jacob Burtschi who had to wait three years until becoming a professional because of military duty. David Bell is leading the team ins coring, but has had many years of European expereince. the question remains, which one of these three players should get beko BBL newcomer of the year? “I would give the award to Jake Burtschi. He is the third most effective player in the league, leads the league in three point shooting, is top 10 in scoring and getting more rebounds. It is quite impressive how well he is playing despite not playing for three years. We really want to keep him, but it will be hard. He plays a lot of four position, but if he wants to play for a top European team, he will hav eto play more position three”, added Steven Wriedt. Another interesting question is, will Bernd Kruel return for another season in the beko BBL? “I am pretty sure that Bernd Kruel will play next season. He keeps showing that he can play and he is in the top three among most effective German players in the league”, commented Steven Wriedt.
In the first half, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners found their rhythm quickly and it seemed like the team might lull the fans to sleep as the spectacular plays were missing a bit, but that quickly appeared in the second half, as Frankfurt brought some NBA flair into the game with dunks, dunks dunks. “It felt like NBA Jam to me. We dunked very much and when you have Jimmy Mckinney getting into the dunk thing, then you know that its something like NBA Jam. I have been a little unlucky with my bets. I lost the NCAA bracket and tonight I also lost my bet to Marius Nolte. WE had bet in the middle of the season that whoever dunked first, the other guy would have to buy the other a pizza. Marius got lucky tonight”, joked current beko BBL top scorer Dashaun Wood. “We had many teams, but something was wrong that Tez wasn´t involved. I reminded Dashaun about our bet after my dunk. Dashaun only smiled”, said Marius Nolte. “Frankfurt poured it on in the second half with their own version of NBA Showtime. Shepherd and Powell had some nice dunks”, added Jacob Burtschi. “I think that we all had fresh legs that helped us with the dunks. Even Jimmy Mckinney got a dunk. He usually just gets lay ups”, smiled Jevohn Shepherd. “The dunks were nice for the fans, but bad for us. It showed that we got back to slow on defense”, stressed Bernd Kruel.
Before the game 2004 beko BBL champions Skyliner captain Pascal Roller and Bernd Kruel had some time for chit chat at center court, while fans were hustling in the Ballsporthalle. Despite it being a Friday night, perfect weather for an early spring cook out and Eintracht Frankfurt playing, 4,820 fans found their way to see the basketball game. Phoenix Hagen was without their top scorer David Bell who had a wart problem on his foot and was unable to play. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners started the game taking a quick 6-2 lead as their early and clear goal was to push the ball inside and take advantage of the weak Phoenix Hagen inside defense. Chris Moss and Roger Powell scored inside as did Dashaun Wood who made a nice hesitation and then scored a move that he has been showing more and more in recent games. However Phoenix Hagen must of surprised Frankfurt somewhat as they weren´t going to their big strength outside shooting, but were taking a chapter out of the Frankfurt offense and going inside as well with quick and extra passes. Quentin Pryor and Mark Dorris scored, but Phoenix Hagen still trailed 8-7. Phoenix Hagen was displaying fast in the first quarter that they continue to have a nasty phobia not being able to defend as Frankfurt was hitting on al cylinders inside and out. Quantez Robertson dropped a rainbow three pointer as did Roger Powell who was testing his 28% three point percentage and scored inside as Frankfurt led 19-11. Phoenix Hagen then went on a mini 5-0 run to trail only 19-16 as Pryor hit a fade away jumper from the wing and ex Ohio State Greg Oden practice player Matt Terwilliger a three pointer. However Frankfurt closed out the first quarter with a 8-2 run to lead 27-18 after 10 minutes as they continued to hurt Phoenix Hagen with their pick and roll and continued to hit shots and play transition game. Mckinney and Nolte scored inside and captain Pascal Roller was in the zone early with his jumper. “Our 1/7 shooting from outside and 6 turnovers were the reason for being behind. I felt we did ok defending the pick and roll, but at times Frankfurt got that second chance and then scored”, added Phoenix Hagen assistant coach Steven Wriedt. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 75% from the field and 67% from outside while Phoenix Hagen was shooting 54% from the field and 25% from outside. Frankfurt had the 6-5 rebounding edge. Frankfurt had four turnovers and Phoenix Hagen five.
In the first few minutes of the second quarter, Phoenix Hagen was able to stay with The Deutsche Bank Skyliners as Edward Seward scored inside as did Matt Terwillger who fought for an offensive rebound and scored as Frankfurt led 32-23. However Frankfurt then slowly started to break away closing out the second quarter with a 13-6 run to lead 45-29. Chris Moss cored an off balance jumper from the wing, Powell presented his first dunk of the evening and Dominik Bahiense De Mello nailed a bomb from outside as Frankfurt led 39-25. Phoenix Hagen was having immense problems getting a rhythm in their set offense and were being denied any way of showcasing their speed on the fast break play which is their trade mark. Frankfurt was also doing a fine job of limiting Jacob Burtschi to only four points in the first 20 minutes. Down the stretch in the second quarter, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners continued to score inside as Roger Powell scored inside after securing an offensive rebound and one half of Air Cincinnati Super Tez Robertson dazzled with a spin move inside making twisting Bernd Kruel inside out. “Phoenix Hagen is a team that shines on offense. They had no rhythm on offense in the first half and that was due to our defense. On offense our pick and roll was working well as Chris moss and I were able to get the job done”, added Marius Nolte. “We had no energy on offense or defense. Our offense was not flowing the way it should. The pick and roll killed us. We were doing a good job on Dashaun Wood, but their big guys took advantage of us in the middle”, stressed Phoenix Hagen guard David Bell. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 53% from the field and 40% from the three point line while Phoenix Hagen was shooting 41% from the field and 14% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the slight 17-16 rebound edge and six turnovers while Phoenix Hagen had nine turnovers.
In the third quarter, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners increased their intensity a bit more scooting out on a quick 10-0 run to lead 55-29. One is supposed to play defense for 40 minutes, but already in the third quarter, it seemed like Phoenix Hagen had blindfolds on as they were farther away from Frankfurt at times on defense than The Minnesota Timberwolves are from reaching the 2011 NBA playoffs. Powell started the run with another three point shot, Wood scored on the lane as if he was on a comfortable Sunday stroll with his grand parents as no one even thought of bothering him in any way, De Mello scored inside and Robertson hit from down time. It took Phoenix Hagen a bit more than 4 minutes to score their first points of the third quarter as Quentin Pryor scored. Phoenix Hagen went on a 7-1 run which didn´t put much of a dent in the big Frankfurt lead as Frankfurt still led 56-36. Burtschi nailed his first three pointer of the game and Pryor hit a pull up jumper. Frankfurt was rattled by this short spurt of offense by Phoenix Hagen as they retaliated with a 12-4 run to close out the third quarter leading 68-40. Powell hit his fourth and final three pointer of the game, Skyliner captain Pascal Roller contributed another three pointer and Marius Nolte showed some massive grit finishing the pick and roll with a thunderous two handed stuff. Frankfurt was displaying intelligent team basketball, while Phoenix Hagen was too involved with one on one basketball. “Frankfurt continued to hit very well. We played too much one on one on offense and missed very often”, stressed Phoenix Hagen center Bernd Kruel. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 52% from the field and 47% from the parking lot while Phoenix Hagen was shooting 33% from the field and 15% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 31-27 rebound edge and only nine turnovers while Phoenix Hagen had 11 turnovers.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners started with a bang in the fourth quarter going on a 8-0 run to extend their lead to 76-40. St Louis native Jimmy Mckinney hit a three point pull up jumper and then surprised the Ballsporthalle with a rare dunk as he came from the free throw line and seemed to float to the basket for the dunk. Powell then dunked over young German Fabian Gentgen closing out a transition play. Phoenix Hagen coach Ingo Freyer seemed to know that there would be slim chances of finding a miracle on the court so he inserted young Germans like Gentgen and Thomas Reuter and Dominik Wilkins no relation to the Atlanta Hawk legend the human high light film. Mark Dorris showed traces of brilliance leading his team on a mini 4-0 run scoring twice in the lane in the typical mr fantastic game with his fade away shots, but Frankfurt still led 76-45. Frankfurt still had so much energy in their tank that they continued to shine on offense going on a 13-2 run to lead 89-47. The dunks continued to come as Mckinney did it again getting a perfect bounce pass on the fast break from Pascal Roller. Nolte then made a pretty lay in over Edward Seward falling to his left as he was off balance. Roller then nailed a jumper from the top of the key. Then it was time for the birthday boy Jevon Air Canada Shepherd to get into the highlight reel as he dunked twice once with Terwillger watching and a second time as Seward got over to slow. Frankfurt had the more than comfy 91-49 lead and really gave the name their own personal Ballsporthalle living room a new meaning. “We worked very hard on offense this week and executed very well. We knew that they can score and we were prepared for a battle to outscore them and we did. They play to outscore the opponent, but that is always harder to do on the road”, added Dashaun Wood. “Our goal was to shut down Wood, but everyone else stepped up and played well. That is what good teams do”, warned Jacob Burtschi. “Our biggest strength tonight was our communication on defense”, added Jevohn Shepherd.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were led by Roger Powell with 24 points and eight rebounds. Chris Moss chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Jimmy Mckinney added 12 points and four rebounds. Phoenix Hagen was led by Matt Terwilliger with 12 points and five rebounds. Quentin Pryor had 11 points and seven rebounds. Mark Dorris added 10 points. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners out shinned Phoenix Hagen in every stat category shooting 51% from the field, winning the rebound battle 46-39 and outscoring the opponent 46-24 in the paint. However the biggest thing gained in the win was not needing Dashaun Wood to score 30 points to win. Wood finished with six points, seven assists and four rebounds, the kind of numbers that Boston Celtic Rajon Rondo is putting up more frequently. Wood was content with the team scoring balance as was his teammates. “It was great for us that so many guys were making shots and that we started so well. I didn´t have to say its my turn. The team was rolling and we are a better team like that”, warned Dashaun Wood. “I have to give Dashaun a compliment. He stepped back and let others score. This was very important for the team. He could of scored more, but didn´t have to and let others do their job”, said Marius Nolte. “It is not about one player. It is important that each guy stepped up. We will need each guy in the playoffs”, stressed Jevohn Shepherd. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners don´t have much time to sit back and enjoy the big win, but will b eon the court again in less than 48 hours in Trier. TBB Trier is coming off a 80-61 loss and currently in 8th place as three other teams are fighting for that last playoff place. Frankfurt will have no cake walk against TBB Trier. “Trier is having a great season as coach Henrik Rodl is doing a great job. It will be atough game. I hope that we can take the energy from this game into the Trier game”, warned Marius Nolte. “We could play Trier in the first round. They are fighting to stay in the playoff places. This will be a defensive battle. Whoever scores 65 points or more will win”, warned Dashaun Wood. TBB Trier host The Deutsche Bank Skyliners April 10th at 17:00.