It is no secret that celebrities like to hang out and be friends with athletes and just be where guys like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James or Carmelo Anthony are doing their magic. Frequent guests in NBA areas have been celebrities like Jay Z with his black sunglasses alongside goddess Beyonce, Lakers diehard fan Mr Shining Jack Nicholson wearing his dark sunglasses never having seen normal light in the Staples Center or Spike Lee recruiting new athletes for his movies are never far supporting their basketball idols. Back in the 1950´s, it seemed like it was impossible for athletes to be friends with each other, but that trend seems to have been eroding in the last 20 years as even the biggest rivals of the 80´sBird and Magic have become good friends and last season the Miami Heat showed that they weren´t sour losers as they joined the Dallas Mavericks in post game celebrations after they lost the 2012 NBA finals. Two Beko BBL stars Quantez Robertson and Mark Dorris have combined as much athletic power to make the perfect 2012 basketball specimen are both from Cincinnati and despite being on opposing teams share a strong friendship and were on the court for their third meeting in the Beko BBL and Robertson was able to win his third straight meeting 76-72. Before the game, Ludwigsburg sport director Mario Probst wasn´t to keen about any one on one duels, but had his mind on only one thing. “This duel might be nice for the fans, but the most important thing is that we win. The only important thing is that they know each other, but all else about them is unimportant. We are coming on a good way. It is never about individual play, but about team play. If not all five on the court defend, then we will always have problems to win”, warned Mario Probst. Long after the game was over, the two Cincinnati kids Dorris and Roberston were in a corner in the catacombs with ex Dorris teammate Jacob Burtschi hanging out and the only thing missing was a poker table as all three were calm, but Dorris was a bit disappointed about coming up on the short end again against his teammate. “It is always great to see Tez, but bitter sweet when he comes out on top”, stressed mark Dorris. Jacob Burtschi was used to seeing great Dorris performances like his 35 point outburst in Ludwigsburg last season and is still getting used to the Super Tez flights to the basket and understood their rivalry. “They are good friends, but as soon as they step on the court, it gets thrown out the window. Both were up for this game, one could sense it on the court. Tez was all over the court and Dorris hit some tough shots”, commented ex Phoenix Hagen forward Jacob Burtschi. Robertson finished with four points and four rebounds and Dorris with 10 points.
The game also marked the debut of new Skyliner Devin Gibson who was already on the bench in the Giessen win last week, but wasn´t inserted. Gibson was brought in to help out Michael Thompson at the point guard Position. Gibson played 6,57 minutes finishing with three points and a steal. On the steal Gibson flew out of no where denying a Ludwigsburg fast break and forcing a turnover. Gibson who is from Houston, Texas and played at the University of Texas at San Antonio had a superb senior year averaging 17.0ppg, 5.2rpg, 5.4apg, 2.7spg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 78.1%. He had a big smile on his face learning that the team had waited almost three months for their second win at home and he was a part of it. “It felt good being on the court in my first professional game and getting the win at home. I felt ok with the style. It is different to what I am used to in that there is more help defense here and more open shots. You also stay more in front of your man here”, stressed Devin Gibson. Before coming to the Fraport Skyliners, Gibson had a short stint with the San Antonio Spurs in training camp and was in awe of playing with France basketball legend Tony Parker. “It was great playing together with Tony Parker. He is a great player and future Hall of Famer. I learned from him how to change the pace on offense. I hope that I can do that here”, commented Gibson who registered two triple doubles in the NCAA last year. “I have been helping him, but he is ready. He picked up experience with the Spurs. Justin Gray also has been a leader helping him”, added Michael Thompson.
The Fraport Skyliners had been in a huge winning drought at home dating back to the buzzer beater win by Justin Gray on a mild autumn night against the s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg on October 12th and finally won again at home extending their winning streak to two games. After a pretty even first quarter, The Fraport Skyliners took control in the second quarter and despite never shrugging off EnBW Ludwigsburg completely, they were able to get a well deserved win at the end. “This was a good team effort. I thought that we executed well on offense and defense and just worked hard and stuck together. We finally completed a good overall game at home”, added Michael Juice Thompson. For EnBW Ludwigsburg, they had been in a long losing streak where they lost nine of ten games and replaced German coach Markus Jochum with assistant coach Steven Key. The team beat the Walter Tigers Tuebingen, but last week lost to Alba Berlin and were seeking to surprise Frankfurt, but instead just didn´t have enough in the second half to get over the basketball hump and regain the lead. Most of the Ludwigsburg players were down after the loss not being able to loose many words. “We didn´t play well”, stressed a sad John Bowler. However Jeff Greer who played nine years in France had some time to reflect on another tight loss after the team had lost three games by one point in the long losing streak. “We missed many opportunities in the second half. We are a much better team than what our record shows. When Frankfurt stepped up their intensity on defense, we struggled and tended to go more one on one. At times it works, but this isn´t the way to go and not the right kind of game plan”, stressed ex Rutgers American Jeff Greer.
Before the game, there was some confusion from EnBW Ludwigsburg as in what direction they would be shooting and it was soon cleared up as the direction that Frankfurt shoots in the first half towards the X-block was reversed and some could of thought that Skyliner head coach Muli Katzurin was playing with the opponents heads in trying to get any type of advantage in getting the long awaited home win again and Skyliners assistant coach Klaus Perwass had a long chat with German David Mccray. When the game finally did commence, 4,420 people were in the Fraport arena and saw a very even matched game. Ex Telekom Baskets Bonn center John Bowler got off to a quick start hitting his first two shots as Davidson was unable to stop the big man. Frankfurt took their first lead 6-5 on a Thompson free throw. EnBW Ludwigsburg went on the first big run of the game exploding on a 10-2 run to lead 14-7. Ludwigsburg made some intelligent plays and just executed on offense. German Johannes Lischka hit a turn around jumper, Alex Harris hit an open jumper, Green a jumper after they were able to break the Frankfurt press and get an easy bucket. Green then scored again form the wing over Davidson and Donatas Zavackas caught Frankfurt napping scoring easily on an inbound pass under the hoop. However Frankfurt didn´t allow EnBW Ludwigsburg to break away closing out the first quarter on a 7-2 run to trail only 16-14. Frankfurt got some timely steals by Robertson and got to the free throw line three times. Davidson also scored inside getting a quick feed from Mckinney. “The Frankfurt offense was having difficulty finding their rhythm. Davidson missed too many shots and the Frankfurt defense wasn´t in rhythm either yet”, stressed Fraport Skyliner PRO B player Jan Novak. EnBW Ludwigsburg was shooting 57% from the field and only 0% from outside while The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 23% from the field and 0% from outside. Ludwigsburg had the 9-7 rebound edge, but five turnovers while Frankfurt had three turnovers.
The second quarter stayed tight with EnBW Ludwigsburg having the upper hand, but the Fraport Skyliners stayed on their heels and soon would be sparked by the reggae dancer Jermareo Davidson that gives the term scoring in bunches a new meaning. Skyliner captain Marius Nolte came of the bench and gave his team immediate help scoring on a tip in, but former Pittsburg(NCAA) star Zavackas scored with a pull up jumper as Frankfurt still trailed 20-16. Jimmy Mckinney then dropped a three pointer and Jerry Green hit free throws as Frankfurt trailed 22-19. Then it was time for the Jermareo Davidson show as he took control like he did in Braunschweig recently. He started with a reverse lay up and then hit three pull up jumpers in a row as Frankfurt led 27-24. Davidson had Bowler for lunch and dinner as he used his quickness on many occasions. Alex Harris scored on a lay up sneaking inside getting a no look pass from Green and Johannes Herber hit a big three pointer as Frankfurt still led 29-28. Davidson then struck for his fifth bucket in the second quarter hitting from the free throw line. Davidson was on fire and he could of probably done so many things on the court like playing blindfolded and probably would have had success. “Davidson could of done a Reggae dance the way he played. He could of done actually any dance the way he was playing”, smiled Michael Thompson. “We were unable to stop Davidson. When he starts to make easy shots then he gets hot”, expressed EnBW Ludwigsburg German Tim Koch. Nolte made a pretty high energy left handed lay in near the end of the second quarter as the Fraport Skyliners led 34-29 at halftime. “Davidson gave Frankfurt momentum. Frankfurt played small in first quarter, but in second quarter big with Davidson and Nolte which helped the rebounding. Robertson was big on defense”, stressed Jan Novak. “Davidson had a slow start, but then went to work in second quarter. His energy got us the lead and we kept it”, said Jacob Burtschi. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 10% from the three point line while EnBW Ludwigsburg was shooting 38% from the field and 0% from the three point line. Ludwigsburg had the comfortable 21-13 rebound edge, but nine turnovers while Frankfurt only had three turnovers.
In the third quarter, The Fraport Skyliners didn´t have one of their usual hibernations, but jumped on EnBW Ludwigsburg right from the get go going on a 5-0 run as Herber hit a turn around jumper and Davidson hit a crazy three pointer his first of the season as the Fraport Skyliners led 39-29. Frankfurt was able to keep the lead, but EnBW Ludwigsburg continued to press, but the Skyliners always had an answer getting big shot from Thompson and Mckinney keeping the lead at 44-34. Zavackas then hit a jumper cutting the Frankfurt lead to 44-36. Frankfurt then found an extra trace of momentum going on a lightening 5-0 run as Jacob Burtschi nailed a three pointer and Quantez Robertson continued to spark the offense off strong defense getting a steal and going coast to coast for the dunk as Frankfurt led 49-36. It seemed like Frankfurt would run away with the game now, but instead EnBW found some day light like NFL running backs do going on a 13-3 run to cut the Skyliner lead to only 52-49 with ten minutes to play. Alex Harris started the run with a three pointer and Mckinney scored inside as Frankfurt led 51-39. EnBW Ludwigsburg compensated off Skyliner turnovers as Jerry Green scored a runner and made the free throw. Mark Dorris then hit a tough shot falling to his right and Johannes Lischka scored in an off balance shot in the lane which looked similar to how David Teague did in his Giessen days as the German watched time in and time out. Dorris finished with a lay in and free throw as the third quarter came to a close. “We attacked the basket more in the third quarter and found each other getting the big lead before turnovers hurt us”, stressed Devin Gibson. “Sometimes the best offense beats the best defense. You can sometimes play the best defense, but then you can still get beat by wild shots”, commented Jacob Burtschi.
The fourth quarter continued to be a battle with the Fraport Skyliners keeping the lead, but EnBW Ludwigsburg still keeping their face in the door. Greer started the fourth quarter with free throws, but the Fraport Skyliners struck back with a 5-0 run as Herber nailed a three pointer and Davidson connected on a jumper as Frankfurt led 57-51. Lischka and Nolte then traded buckets, but Dorris hit a pull up jumper as Frankfurt led 59-55. EnBW Ludwigsburg was creeping closer, but each time they did, Frankfurt had an answer as Thompson nit a big runner and free throw as Frankfurt led 62-55. Green then still had some magic hitting a tough off balance jumper and then making a runner after Frankfurt had given a second chance off an offensive rebound as Frankfurt led only 64-61. Thompson then hit two free throws as Frankfurt led 66-61. EnBW Ludwigsburg was able to cut it down to four points one more time 67-63 as Harris and Bowler swapped positions as Bowler found Harris inside with the lob pass and two quick points. However then it was Thompson again hitting the giant three pointer and Herber making a jumper as Frankfurt led 72-65 with less than two minutes to play. Harris and Lischka would score two more times, but it was too little to late as the Fraport Skyliners survived at home winning 76-72. “They just didn´t go away. We executed on offense well in the last minutes and got a big three pointer from Thompson. We were able to sustain their baskets at the end”, warned Jacob Burtschi.”We were unable to get easy baskets at the end and Frankfurt was consistent making shots”, said Tim Koch. “Defense got us the win and we controlled the tempo”, stressed Devin Gibson.
The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jermareo Davidson with 21 points and eight rebounds. Michael Thompson had 17 points and one assist. Johannes Herber added 11 points, five rebounds and three assists. EnBW Ludwigsburg were led by Alex Harris with 16 points. Jerry Green produced 15 points and Mark Dorris contributed 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners did a great job limiting EnBW Ludwigsburg to only two fast break points, but lost the rebounding rebound battle badly 35-24 and struggled from the parking lot. For many Beko BBL teams, holding a team to 72 points is a huge success, but the Fraport Skyliners had been limiting opponents to 63 points a game in the last nine games prior to the Ludwigsburg game and continue to defend well. “We do a good job slowing down the temp and limiting possessions. Everyone is helping each other and a nice phrase from Oklahoma is you have to help the helper helping”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. Gibson has only been with the team a week, but has quickly understood the key to the defense success. “Everyone is talking, everyone is rotating and helping out and just playing together as a team”, stressed Devin Gibson. The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg meet the Fraport Skyliners on January 15th.