Before the game started the most interesting question probably was how Bamberg could compensate the loss of starting point guard John Goldsberry. In game one the 29-year old american had a very unfortunate collision with Berlin’s Bryce Taylor and suffered a pulled ligament in his right ankle. Goldsberry may not have the flashiest numbers (4.3 points, 4.0 assists in 23 minutes per game), but he is probably the most important player in coach Fleming’s system.
After the first five minutes of game 2 no one really seemed to be missing Goldsberry as Bamberg started off brilliantly and took a commanding 2:18 lead. In front of 12.000 spectators in Berlin’s O2 World it looked like a really bad blow-out was in the making. Alba Berlin showed more than just once this post season that now and then the team falls apart and takes something like a 4-5 minute time-out while they are not getting anything done defensively and offensively. One may call it fortunate that this time they started the game with a bad run, because there was a lot of time left to get back into the game. And Alba is probably the only team in the Beko BBL to be able to overcome such a huge deficit against Bamberg.
Late in the first quarter Alba mainly tried to get close to the basket and get some easy points. This resulted in fouls and free throws for Katzurin’s team. But still Bamberg finished the first quarter with a huge 14:28 lead.
In the second quarter Predrag Suput and Brian Roberts picked up their third fouls and had to got to the bench. This would turn out to be a decisive moment in the game. Because now Fleming had to trust his german point guard talent Maurice Stuckey and Anton Gavel to take the ball across the half-court line. Alba Berlin instantly reacted on this and increased the pressure. They now played a press defense that resulted in turnovers and bad rhythm for Bamberg’s offense. Lead by Julius Jenkins and Heiko Schaffartzik Alba turned a 21:34 into a 35:34 lead. For the last 7 minutes Bamberg made just two more field goals and lead by just one point at the half (41:42).
At the start of the second half Bamberg bounced back and extended the lead to 43:50. After several lead changes Brian Roberts made a buzzer beater three pointer to tie the game at 58:58.
The last quarter started with a lot of fouls and missed shots. After almost two and a half minutes Immanuel McElroy scored two nice fast-break points. It had been IMac’s first field goal in the whole series. But if Alba lost game one because of the lack of offensive production by McElroy and Jenkins this time the latter one showed why he was the league’s best offensive player and MVP in 2008 and 2010. The 30-year old, who wears a Berlin jersey since 2006, scored a three pointer, then stole the Ball from Casey Jacobsen and finished the fast break with a two handed slam dunk. A very strange call by referee Toni Rodriguez did certainly not help Bamberg to change the momentum. Bamberg’s clutch-machine Brian Roberts went hard to the basket and collided with Julius Jenkins. But instead of calling a clear defensive foul Rodriguez did not hesitate to call an offensive foul on Roberts (his fourth). I’ve been around the german basketball scene for twenty years. But I cannot remember a worse call by a referee in a finals game. But judge for yourself:
However, Alba took an 8-point lead (67:59), but again Bamberg came back as Suput and Pleiß scored inside on four consecutive possessions. Alba Berlin meanwhile had its share of problems with Bamberg’s zone defense. Two free throws by Raduljica and a very important three pointer by Taylor Rochestie brought Alba back on the winning road. After Casey Jacobsen scored two points Brian Roberts committed his fifth foul and had to leave the court. Alba now took control of the game and won by 9 points (80:71).
Julius Jenkins led all scorers with 23 points (shooting 9/17) and Miroslav Raduljica made 17 points (including 7/7 free throws!). For Bamberg Brian Roberts and Casey Jacobsen each scored 16 points.
An important key for Berlin was to limit the number of turnovers (14 in game one and just 7 in game two) and to force Bamberg to throw the ball away more often (8 in game one and now 16 in game two).
The only positive news for Bamberg is probably that there is a chance that Goldsberry will be able to play in game 3.