After the crushing 83-57 loss to Alba Berlin last weekend where the only thing missing after the game was an unexpected bombardament of rotten eggs by Dashaun Wood to fuel the wound of the loss of the Fraport Skyliners, the club of Muli Katzurin had little time to recover and lick their wounds as they had to visit power house Brose Baskets Bamberg in which some less desirable things now might have been more desirable to encounter then having to experience Freak city now in this vulnerable time like Paris Hilton having to eat raw spinage instead of caviar, Kim Kardashian and NBA player Kris Humphries having to have a year subscription to annoying publicity about their doomed marriage or actor Charlie Sheen going to entertain people in his new Charlie Sheen mask and nobody believing it is really him. Nobody really expected the Fraport Skyliners to win in Freak city even though they had been the last team to do so June 6th 2010 in the Beko BBL finals as they got hammered 97-63. Despite it being so difficult to win there, no Skyliner wanted to be anywhere else. “I love to play in an atmosphere like this here in Bamberg. I get pumped up better for the game. Bamberg did a good job getting good start and getting fast break points and hitting their shots”, expressed Quantez Robertson. For Skyliner rookie Michael Thompson, he was given the nod to start at point guard and he didn´t seem at all overwhelmed by the conditions and felt at home in the Bamberg zoo. “I didn´t want to be anywhere else tonight. It was hard to play here, but all we can do is learn from our mistakes and take the positives and negatives. I was happy for the start, but I felt that I didn´t get the team ready on offense the way I could of”, expressed Michael Thompson. For Justin Gray, the atmosphere was more like a playful puppy then a vicious German shepherd. “The atmosphere was nothing like what I have seen in Greece. The toughest fans are in Greece”, warned Justin Gray.
The Brose Baskets Bamberg continue to show that they are like a pesky hurricane causing havic wherever they play as they have beaten their first 6 opponents in the Beko BBL by an average of 29 points. The four time German champion move to 6-0 and continue to sit alone a top the Beko BBL standings. Long after the game had ended a gentle and happy Casey Jacobson who has 287 NBA games under his belt didn´t know what the 31/11 basketball equation meant, but after finding out that it stood for 31 free throws made and 11 Bamberg players getting on the board, he had a simple explanation for the success of the Bamberg math. “Our balance on offense is so good. We have very skilled players where many could average 20 points a game, but we all sacrifice for the better of the team. There are no special players here. If you look at the top 10 scorers in the Beko BBL, you wont see a Bamberg player and that makes me smile. We are not about one player. The reason so many teams have problems against us is that they can´t prepare for us. You cant focus on one or two players, if you do then we have so many other guys that step up. There is no pressure on one guy to carry the team. We play as a team and the most important thing is winning”, warned ex Memphis Grizzlie Casey Jacobson. For The Fraport Skyliners, they lost their fourth game in a row and fall to 2-5 and remain as from from the playoff places as soccer team Bayern Munich is from losing a game as they rest in 14th place. The Skyliners continue to be unable to get a good start. “We got down early again and they got to the free throw line too much. They played very good defense, we let up too many offensive rebounds and allowed too many transition points”, stressed Skyliner guard Justin Gray.
Before the game started German national players Tibor Pleiss and Tim Ohlbrecht exchanged a friendly handshake and the best thing that The Fraport Skyliners did in the first two minutes was keep Bamberg scoreless, but too bad that they couldn´t go on a run. You can never keep the Brose Baskets Bamberg off the score board for long as they got it going going on a quick 8-2 run. Marcus Slaughter got Bamberg going as he tried to duplicate his left handed dunk that he did against Sinanovic 48 hours earlier, but took off to early and just laid it in. PJ Tucker hit a jumper and ex Alba Berlin guard Julius Jenkins nailed a three pointer off a fast break. Frankfurt finally got on the board with a bolt of Super Tez energy as he got a steal and went the distance for a lay up and Jermareo Davidson dunked after being set up nicely by Jon Leuer as Frankfurt trailed only 8-4. However Bamberg kept up the pressure not only on defense, but also on offense going on a 10-2 run to lead 18-6. Bamberg showed their unselfish play as Jenkins declined an open shot and opted for an extra pass feeding Anton Gavel for the open line drive three pointer. Jenkins then hit from the corner and 2006Toronto Raptors NBA Draft Pick PJ Tucker caught Frankfurt napping on transition. After a Jimmy Mckinney bomb form the corner, Julius Jenkins registered the dunk of the month as he took lift off from the American Sports bar outside showing a twist of Michael Jordan hammering home a one handed dunk as Bamberg led 22-9. Predrag Suput closed out the scoring with a lay in as the Brose Baskets Bamberg led comfortably 24-11 after one quarter. “Frankfurt had no answer for the aggressive Bamberg defense. Frankfurt was giving up too many easy points”, stressed 2005 Beko BBL champion with Bamberg Ivan Pavic. The Brose Baskets Bamberg were shooting 50% from the field and 60% from outside while The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 28% from the field and 20% from outside.The rebounds were dead locked at 11 a piece, while Frankfurt had four turnovers and Bamberg had only two turnovers.
In the second quarter, The Fraport Skyliners once again had difficulty finding a rhythm fast as it was the Brose Baskets Bamberg that had the better start going on a 10-3 run to lead 34-14. Jenkins did a superb job drawing fouls and scoring inside, Karsten Tadda left off from his hot shooting in crunch time against Malaga 48 hours earlier in Euroleague play as he hit an open three pointer from the corner and Predrag Suput hit a floater. Bamberg continued to stifle Frankfurt with their hard defense and just did the little things better with tipping rebounds out or getting loose balls and just seemed to want it more. However then as is so often the case, a team somehow escapes the basketball jaw of life and finds new life as the Fraport Skyliners rushed out on a 9-0 run to trail only 37-25 and seemed like they were in striking distance again. In the run, Quantez Robertson sparked the team with his lightening bolt of energy with a tip in on the offensive glass and steal and dunk. Leuer also scored and got to the free throw line. However the Fraport Skyliners were unable to keep the momentum as it shifted back to Bamberg as they closed out the second quarter with a 6-1 run to lead 43-25 at halftime. Jenkins scored inside and Tucker got four free throws. “Both teams had runs, but that didn´t mean much. Bamberg continued to defend very well, and rebounded well”, commented ex Bamberg player Ivan Pavic. The Brose Baskets Bamberg were shooting 41% from the field and 40% from the three point line while The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 31% from the field and 25% from the three point line. Bamberg had the slight 24-21 rebound edge and only four turnovers while Frankfurt had eight turnovers.
In the third quarter with The Fraport Skyliners with very much ground to cover, they weren´t able to gain any ground as both teams pretty much stayed even as the Bamberg lead always hovered around 20 points. The third quarter started out with a bang as Marcus Slaughter seemed not to have had enough of his dunking show against Malaga teaming up with Anton Gavel with a monster ally-op dunk. Bamberg continued to get very much support from all over as Gavel made a lay in, Brian Roberts a fade away jumper and Slaughter spending almost as much time at the free throw line as Lindsay Lohan is posing for mug shots. Skyliner Jon Leuer was in the zone doing the dirty work under the boards fighting for offensive boards, getting put backs and getting to the Free throw line. Michael Thompson continued to show his grace from the parking lot hitting a three pointer as Bamberg led 58-40. Bamberg was able to extend their lead a bit more closing out the third quarter with a 10-4 run as Julius Jenkins showed some of his microwave heat scoring 6 of the 10 Bamberg points. Frankfurt was very careless with the basketball in the third quarter coughing up the ball seven times led by the behind the back passes by Justin Gray that didn´t find their target. After three quarters the Brose Baskets Bamberg led 68-44. “I hit some shots, but we never gave up and continued to be very aggressive. They got some offensive rebounds though”, commented Bamberg guard Julius Jenkins. The Brose Baskets Bamberg were shooting 47% from the field and 38% from the parking lot while The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 33% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the rebound edge back 30-26, but 15 turnovers while Bamberg had only six turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, it was the same old story for The Fraport Skyliners, that they were unable to go on a run to eat away at the huge Bamberg lead. Both teams were scoring as the lead stayed high and would grow as the fourth quarter progressed. German national player Tibor Pleiss was hot at the start of the fourth quarter jamming home a no look Tadda pass and making a jumper from the free throw line as Bamberg led 75-48. Frankfurt then found a glimpse of daylight going on a rare 8-0 run to cut the Bamberg lead to 77-56. Johannes Herber and Justin Gray hit back to back three pointers and Marius Nolte scored inside being set up nicely from Gray. However Bamberg was able to erase that 8-0 run as quickly as Mario Gomez had his hat trick in the last Champions League game as Bamberg countered with an 15-2 run to take their biggest lead of the game 93-58. Pleiss and Tadda had back to back dunks as the resistance under the basket from Frankfurt was as gentle as if Shaq had to tell bedtime stories to orphans. Young German Phillip Neumann who is a dead ringer for a young Oliver Kahn was very motivated getting to the hoop whenever he could making a running hook shot and a massive dunk. Tadda hit a catch and pop and continues to deserve a nomination to the German national team and keeps showing that he could easily be a starter for many other Beko BBL clubs. With less than a minute to play, Chris Fleming had four Germans on the court and young German point guard Daniel Schmidt was the 11th player to get on the scoring sheet making a tough reverse layup. Pleiss hit a runner ending the game as Bamberg sealed an easy win 97-63. “This may look like an easy win, but every game is a challenge. We rely on our defense and that is what gets us going”, stressed Florida native Julius Jenkins. “We have so much talent on the team, but haven´t shown it on the court yet. We can´t lay down and die. We have keep fighting, stay together and just get better in practice”, warned 2011 Milwaukee Bucks draft pick Jon Leuer.
The Brose Baskets Bamberg were led by Julius Jenkins with 20 points and four assists. Karsten Tadda produced 13 points and six assists. PJTucker contributed 12 points and five rebounds. Marcus Slaughter chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jon Leuer with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Justin Gray chipped in with 10 points. Despite the 34 point loss, The Fraport Skyliners finished with respectable shooting percentages at 40 form the field and from outside, but lost the rebounding duel 37-33. Their 18 turnovers were too high again and the 31-11 fouls speak a total different story. The Skyliners offense was making small strides, but the most important thing was missing. “We shared the ball better, but it can still get a lot better. Now we just need to make more shots”, commented Justin Gray. However there is still a lot to do on offense to get it flowing the way Muli Katzurin wants it. “We have to make our offense more crisp so we have even more options on offense and able to insert the individual qualities of the players better into the systems”, warned Skyliner center Marius Nolte. Despite the slow Skyliner start, there is hope for the future from the eyes of Julius Jenkins. “We played very well and Frankfurt didn´t. They aren´t clicking at the moment, but Frankfurt is a great team. I think they still have potential to belong to the top teams”, stressed Julius Jenkins. The success of Bamberg has to do with their defense and maybe Frankfurt can take some of the advice of Casey Jacobsen. “There is no secret to our defense. We have stressed defense from the first day of training camp. We don´t talk about offense. All what we focus on is what are the most important strengthes of the opponent that we can take away? We want to make life as difficult as possible for our opponent. Every day we focus on defense. We let our offense take care of its self”, warned Casey Jacobsen. The Fraport Skyliners host the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven on November 12th.