Do or die games in professional sports now a days seem to be as common as the gossip that has been surfacing about the Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger in the last weeks concerning his leisurely activities with mistresses, NBA teams playing matador defense letting guys like Dwayne Wade or Derrick Rose get simple buckets and hope to get points back at the free throw line to finish games or Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen keeping his name fresh in the tabloids even if he is just trying to sell his Beverly Hills mansion for a cool 7,2 million. In the last days, fans saw two do or die games in the NBA playoffs as both Dallas and Miami got past Oklahoma and Chicago who had to win to elude summer vacation, in the NHL, Boston and Tampa Bay squaring off in a seventh game where Boston kept their dream alive of their first Stanley Cup win since 1970 or ex Skyliner Ilian Evtimov who got an early summer vacation as his team Chalon lost a do or die game against Asvel. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners faced the same predicament having their backs to the wall down 2-1 against 8 time beko BBL champion Alba Berlin, but had had fond memories of the O2 World arena winning a thrilling comeback win in the fourth quarter out scoring Alba Belrin 24-5 just 8 days ago in game two. Frankfurt might of had their backs to the wall, but finally played Skyliner basketball winning game 4 and forcing a game 5 this Thursday in Frankfurt dominating Alba Berlin for the most part of the game winning 83-74. Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert had been in enough do or die games in his career and knew exactly how he could prepare his players best. “We worked hard on the mental aspect of it. We wanted to be very focused coming into the game. We did a good job coming out with a lot of energy into the game”, stressed Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert. “We had a different kind of week for this game. We focused more on the mental part than on the physical part. We did a lot of mental exercises something that I have never done before, but it was worth it and the game showed that many guys got something out of it”, said Skyliner forward Kimmo Muurinen. “It was not easy for Frankfurt to come into a game like this, but Frankfurt was prepared for the moment and there is a reason why they were the second best team in the league. Many guys stepped up like Roger Powell, Pascal Roller was strong off the bench and Tez does what he always does”, added Alba Berlin forward Bryce Taylor.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have not gotten of to fast starts in this series, but saved their best for five minutes before 12 as they came out from the start and showed Alba Berlin that they were taking over their living room this Sunday. Frankfurt got off to a quick start that carried them to the win. Except for a slight mishap in the third quarter where Alba Berlin fought back cutting the lead to one point, they never lost their composure getting the lead back and strolling home with the victory. “There were two scenes that was key for the win. The first six minutes of the game where we finally played our game where we quickly found our rhythm and the second was after Alba Berlin went on their run, we never got depressed, but were able to extend our lead back to 12 points”, expressed Skyliner sport director Kamil Novak. Alba Berlin lost their second consecutive game in this series at home and were unable to use their home court advantage as they let Frankfurt be the aggressor. “Frankfurt hit their first shots quickly and got into the game. We let them into the game. Having intensity on defense is important, but we didn´t have that today. Playoff games live with emotion. Things worked right away for Frankfurt and we had problems coming back”, stressed Alba Berlin manager Mithat Demirel.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners fans expressed themselves best right before tip off unleashing a very descriptive sign “It aint over” and Frankfurt would quickly prove that the series was long from over. The game also attracted numerous basketball players like German national players Steffan Hamann and Phillip Zwiener and the speedy Gonzalez of German basketball Achmadscah Zazai who have been working out in Berlin who are all under contract to the agency Lumani and FC Bayern Munich German Bastian Doreth and BBC Bayreuth German Stefan Schmidt were all spotted catching in the action. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners came out on a mission going on a furious 16-0 run to start the game as if their life depended on winning this single basketball game. Ex NBA player Roger Powell was on fire netting the first five Frankfurt points testing his 29% three point percentage and nailing a step up jumper over Derrick Allen. Dashaun Wood then got a heads up steal and went coast to coast for the lay up, Quantez Robertson scored inside and Dominik Bahiense De Mello tested his one on one skills against Bryce Taylor making a nifty lay up. De Mello then netted two free throws and Wood dropped a three point bomb. It seemed before Alba Berlin could even gasp for air, Frankfurt seemed to be on their way of shooting Alba Berlin out of the arena.
Alba Berlin was sleeping on defense and seemed like they had taken a nap in the sun on the Alexander Platz and seemed unsure on offense taking difficult shots. It took Alba Berlin 4.35 minutes before they got on the score board. Frankfurt got more production from Wood and Jimmy Mckinney nailed a three pointer from the wing as Frankfurt led 24-3 as everything seemed a bit too good to be true. Alba berlin got some timely hoops from Julius Jenkins and Miroslav Raduljica down the stretch and Wood seemed to have his magic early as he nailed a seemingly impossible off balance shot. Frankfurt led 29-9 after one quarter. “Frankfurt had a great start and didn´t react to what Alba Berlin did, but just took control. Powell was a big help as was Tez. The Frankfurt bench really stepped up and showed that they don´t only have to rely on Wood for the scoring. They put their teeth together on defense playing very aggressive”, added ex North Carolina Tar Heel Ademola Okulaja. “Alba Berlin seemed very surprised by the aggressive Frankfurt defense. Frankfurt had a good start and showed that they wanted to win the game more early on”, added BBC Bayreuth center Stefan Schmidt. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 60% from the field and 50% from outside while Alba Berlin was shooting 25% from the field and 0%(0/6) from outside. Frankfurt had the huge rebound lead 11-3 and two turnovers while Alba Berlin had three turnovers.
Alba Berlin had a quick start in the second quarter surprising The Deutsche Bank Skyliners with a 6-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to29-15. Alba Berlin started with quick ball movement on their first possession finding the open Taylor Rochestie in the corner for three. Raduljica then scored inside on a reverse lay up. However Frankfurt didn´t allow Alba Berlin to chip more at their big lead as they continued to hit their shots. De Mello and Powell nailed three pointers despite Immanuel Mcelroy and Bryce Taylor answering back with their own three pointers, but Frankfurt still had the comfortable 37-23 lead. Frankfurt continued to be the more routine team on offense going on a 7-3 run to lead 44-26. In this run, Frankfurt also disposed some dunks as Chris Moss up Quantez Robertson with a beautiful bounce pass as he flew in from the wing and Roger Powell used his strong one on one athletic moves coming around the corner and dunking with authority. Wood then hit a pull up jumper. In the last two minutes, Quantez Robertson got two consecutive steals which fueled the offense as Dashaun Wood hit a tough off balance three pointer. Bryce Taylor closed out the second quarter with a three pointer, but Frankfurt went into the break with a relaxing 49-33 lead. “Frankfurt continued to shoot well and did a good job keeping the lead. Wood had more free space, because Frankfurt had so many weapons hitting shots like Mckinney and Powell”, stated ex German national player Ademola Okulaja. “Alba Berlin started well, but Dashaun Wood continued to be very strong”, stressed Stefan Schmidt. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 56% from the field and 47% from the three point line while Alba Berlin was shooting 36% from the field and 29% from the three point line. Frankfurt continued to dominate the rebounding 20-10 and both teams had five turnovers a piece.
If there is anything that any basketball amateur should learn quickly is that basketball is and will always be a game of runs. Sometimes it really seems unexplainable how a team can dominate for many minutes and the other team play as if they had just arrived form the planet Mars. In the first quarter, it had been the Deutsche Bank Skyliners doing their run and now to begin the third quarter, the rolls seemed to have been reversed as Alba Berlin erased a 49-33 deficit going on a 15-0 run as Frankfurt suddenly only led 49-48. Taylor Rochestie started the attack with a three point bomb form the wing, which was followed by a Jenkins left handed lay in and two Derrick Allen free throws as Alba Berlin trailed only 49-40. Now it was time for ex beko BBL MVP Julius Jenkins to display that he is still a dangerous scorer in bunches as he made a step up floater and three pointer. Alba Berlin had the momentum and the crowd as Bryce Taylor stole the ball from Super Tez and going in for the lay up as Frankfurt led only 49-48. Alba Berlin had stepped up their defense as Frankfurt seemed unsure and passive and had a bad shot selection. It took the team 5.25 minutes to score their first points of the third quarter after missing 7 shots in a row. Roger Powell did the honors getting an offensive rebound and getting a put back. Frankfurt held their nerves the rest of the way in the third quarter stepping up their offense again and getting a lot of support from the bench. Skyliner captain Pascal Roller nailed an open three pointer and some what weak Kimmo Murrinen in this series stepped out of his shell scoring 6 points down the stretch as Frankfurt led 65-56 after three quarters. “We played good in the third quarter, but the come back cost us energy. Frankfurt stayed calm getting the big lead back”, said Mithat Demirel. “We came out a bit passive in the third quarter. We weren´t aggressive enough and knew they would go on a run. We took too many tough three pointers. It was important that we didn´t fold when they cut our lead to one point. Mayn guys stepped up like Kimmo Muurinen and Pascal Roller”, expressed Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 41% from the parking lot while Alba Berlin was shooting 40% from the field and 32% from the parking lot. Frankfurt led the rebound duel 29-21, but had eight turnovers while Alba Berlin had only seven turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners continued to produce on offense while Alba Berlin was starting to feel the weight of their comeback in their bones. Frankfurt got much needed support from Roger Powell who scored seven points in the first few minutes showing his lethal inside out play ripping home a three pointer, making a running hook shot and a step up jumper. Pascal Roller also hit another three pointer as Frankfurt led 75-61. Alba Berlin kept fighting getting production as Derrick Allen who has showed less of his ballerina moves in this series made one of his typical lay ins getting a nice feed inside from Sven Schultze, but Alba Berlin couldn´t get a streak going on defense with consecutive stops. Wood then nailed another three pointer and Jenkins scored inside, but Frankfurt still led 78-66. Frankfurt kept control of the game in the last minutes as Alba Berlin was too inconsistent. They did get some hoops from Schultze and Allen, but Frankfurt got to the free throw line being able to ice the win for the 40-50 fans that had made the trip to Berlin. “Alba Berlin did have a strong third quarter, but we dominated the game for the most part and deserved to win. Our biggest strength today was that we never stop believing that we could win this game”, added Skyliner sport director Kamil Novak. Dashaun Wood once again showed his basketball true colors. “Frankfurt came out ferocious ready to play and defended well. Wood got going quick and got easy ones early. When his jumper is falling that it is very tough, because you can´t guard him. He showed why he is MVP, because he played like one. To be honest, I kind of figured that he would score a lot since Tyrese Rice did yesterday, Wood had to follow him”, added Bryce Taylor. Wood wasn´t the only thorn in the side of Alba Berlin. “Wood took 22 shots and it is obvious that he will get his points. Wood wasn´t the problem, but Powell was. We should of controlled him better”, added Mithat Demirel.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were led by Dashaun Wood with 30 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Roger Powell contributed 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Alba Berlin was led by Julius Jenkins with 19 points. Derrick Allen and Bryce Taylor contributed for 11 points a piece. So all the work and energy that has been used in the first four games now comes down to a new do or die game 5 for both teams. No team has won at home which brings back memories to the 2004 beko BBL final where Frankfurt nor Bamberg could win at home until Frankfurt did in game five. “This has been a crazy series. The home court had no meaning in this series. We hope to change that in game five”, stressed Skyliner sport director Kamil Novak. “Our plan is to win game five. We will have to be ready to play the way we know how”, warned Alba Berlin guard Taylor Rochestie. “We have to go into game five with a lot of energy and be concentrated not for 10-15 minutes, but for 40 minutes. There isn´t much tactical things you can do. Now all that counts is who wants it more”, warned Mithat Demirel