The Fraport Skyliners have reached the Beko BBL playoffsthe last 4 years and the last time that they didn´t reach the promised land, Murat Didin had just come back for his second tour of duty in Frankfurt, Jimmy Mckinney had just ended his first professional basketball season in Frankfurt, Jacob Burtschi was a senior at the Air Force and Michael Thompson and Devin Gibson were finishing their senior years in high school. With a do or die type game in Oldenburg and every game like a match point for the reaching of the playoffs and ex Skyliner Dominik Bahiense De Mello ready and parked in the corner to release basketball bombs on his old team and wanting to show Jimmy Mckinney that he had picked something up from the ST Louis native the last years watching him shoot, the Fraport Skyliners were as motivated to keep their winning streak and hopes of the playoffs alive as Deadmau 5 was slamming Madonna at the Ulta Music Festival for glamorizing the use of ecstasy, Tim Tebow exploring his new home New York in a pimped out limo van or pop star Robbie Williams showing his interest in the purchasing the Michael Jackson home as the gang of Muli Katzurin were able to make a beautiful Easter present by winning their third game in a row in Oldenburg 75-67 and showing that they are very much serious in slipping into the playoffs. “This was a do or die game for us and a loss would have put a damper on our hopes of the playoffs. Their crowd kept them in the game, but we just kept pushing getting this big win and hope for playoffs alive”, stressed Skyliner forward Jacob Burtschi. With the loss, the EWE Oldenburg have one less win for the playoffs and their chances erode even more. “We really gave all that we had, but this team has gone through a lot recently. It was very disappointing how the game ended, but every game crucial now and there are 4 games to go, so we just have to see what happens”, added 2007 German cup winner with Rhine Energy Cologne Ronald Burrell. Skyliner Devin Gibson may only be a Beko BBL rookie, but he often plays more like a season veteran and his energy and aggressive defense annoys opponents all day long, but he also doesn´t shy away at sprouting penetrating words. “Teams will still be surprised when we make the playoffs. I hope that they eat my words”, warned Skyliner guard Devin Gibson. “We put ourself in a tough situation with this loss. We have to win the last four games and then just see what happens”, commented ex NBA player Bobby Brown. “For us reaching the playoffs is out of our control. We have to win the rest of our games and see what the other teams do”, commented Rickey Paulding. “We know the win in Oldenburg is huge, but now we have another big game against Phoenix Hagen. We have to keep taking it one game at a time”, stressed Johannes Herber.
The Fraport Skyliners continue to play smart, consistent and strong basketball winning their third game in a row and six of their last eight games. They also broke a five and a half year winless drought finally winning again in the EWE area after losing six games in a row. In the last two seasons the 2004 Beko BBL champion had lost only by a combined score of five points. Ex Phoenix Hagen forward Jacob Burtschi was very happy for being a part of the win despite not being fit. “I hadn´t been fit the last few days, but the doctors treated me well. I didn´t play my best, but I was taught that nothing ever holds me back. I have really enjoyed being a part of the Skyliner family. Beating Bamberg at home and now ending this long winless streak in Oldenburg has been great. It has been a nice ride for me this season in Frankfurt”, commented Jacob Burtschi. For the EWE Baskets Oldenburg, they have had a very up and down season and recently have lost five of six games and their chances of the playoffs become to turn more and more against them with this loss. “This was a hard fought game. Frankfurt did a good job getting easy buckets and Davidson was awesome. We had problems executing on offense the way we know how and they forced so many turnovers on account of aggressive defense”, stressed 2004 Detroit Pistons draft pick Rickey Paulding. The Fraport Skyliners didn´t take a early Easter egg hunt on the court, but came to play right away. “We started very well and were very concentrated on defense. We controlled the tempo in a place where it is never easy to play in. We kept our composure at the end, made the right decisions and got timely steals to seal the win”, expressed Skyliner sport director Kamil Novak.
The Fraport Skyliners had another meeting with ex player Dominik Bahiense De Mello that left Frankfurt last summer after playing a total of 188 Beko BBL games with the 2000 cup winner team. De Mello who has started three games since German head coach Ralph Held took over the reigns was all smiles before the game seeing his ex teammates. De Mello had a nice visit with Fabian Franke and also had a longer chat with Jimmy Mckinney who he played the longest with in Frankfurt. It almost seemed like De Mello and Mckinney were already exerting too much energy with their smiles. However when the game did get started, both were meeting eye to eye in the starting lineup. The Fraport Skyliners began spirited getting buckets inside from Tim Ohlbrecht and Quantez Robertson. However the EWE Baskets Oldenburg kept pace tying the game at 4-4 with a Paulding lay in and Brown jumper. Frankfurt then got free throws from Ohlbrecht and Thompson for the 8-4 lead. Oldenburg kept attacking inside even against the zone to start and got easy points from Adam Chubb scoring on the pick and roll getting a perfect pass from Brown and Burrell getting a lay up. Frankfurt kept the lead with a Ohlbrecht dunk and Thompson and Mckinney free throws as they led 14-10. Frankfurt was unable to go on a run ans Oldenburg continued to attack inside or out as Bobby Brown connected on a three pointer as Frankfurt led 14-13. However in the last minutes, Oldenburg was able to take the lead as Paulding hit a huge three pointer and brown did what he does best scooting in for a penetration lay up scoring high off the glass as Frankfurt trailed 18-16. Both teams then traded buckets in the last minute as Brown made another lay up and Davidson a fade away jumper. After one quarter, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg had the slim 20-19 lead. “Frankfurt started aggressive into the game and we had problems getting into the game. We were able to get back into the game due to individual efforts and Bobby Brown was key in the first quarter”, stressed EWE Baskets CEO Hermann Schuller. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 53% from the field and 40% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 42% from the field and 0% form outside. Frankfurt had the eight to six rebound edge and both teams had four turnovers.
The second quarter continued to be extremely exciting as no team was able to break away as the fans experienced seven lead chnages, but Jermareo Davidson was able to lead the Fraport Skyliners on a run in the last minutes of the second quarter. Davidson started the second quarter with a step up jumper over Robin Smelders for the 21-20 lead. Oldenburg countered as Paulding scooped up an offensive rebound and the put back for the 22-21 Oldenburg lead. Jacob Burtschi then powered home a three point bobm while Bobby Brown gave Oldenburg the 25-24 lead with a lay up high off the glass always finding the open spaces and quickly getting to the hole. The Fraport Skyliners continued to work very well inside finding the smaller guys easily like a Robertson who dunked getting a perfect bounce pass from German national player Johannes Herber and the 26-25 Frankfurt lead. Frankfurt had little resistance on this day for points in the paint giving up 36 and an easy lay up to Adam Chubb. However, Frankfurt did make life tough on 2008 cup winner with Artland Adam Chubb as Davidson blocked him under the hoop and Quantez Super Tez Robertson then blocked his dunk attempt on the next offensive play. Davidson tied the score at 27-27 with a free throw. Chubb and Robertson then exchanged buckets as the score was dead locked at 29-29. Then as if Jermareo Davidson had heard his calling or simply had gotten a special green light from Muli Katzurin turned up a few notches ending the second quarter with a 7-0 run as the Fraport Skyliners headed into halftime with a more comfortable 36-29 advantage. Davidson scored three consecutive baskets as he was unstoppable in the low post. It didn´t matter if it was Chubb or Smeulders, he had both of them for pre Easter dinners. “It would have helped if we could have found a way to stop Davidson. Frankfurt just wanted it more in the second quarter”, stressed EWE Baskets CEO Hermann Schuller. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 11% from the three point line while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 41% from the field and 33% from the three point line. The Fraport Skyliners led the rebound duel 19-16 and had only six turnovers while Oldenburg had nine turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners kept the lead in the third quarter, but couldn´t keep the 8-10 point lead as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg always found ways to score and keep the score in reach. Devin Gibson who came from the bench and gave a superb defensive effort showing his Edward Scissor hands time in and time out hit a jumper as did Mckinney, but Oldenburg quickly countered with with hoops form Paulding and Kenny Hasbrouck as Frankfurt led 40-34. Frankfurt was very consistent on offense in the third quarter as Davidson scored another turn around jumper over Chubb and Robertson dunked inside after getting a nice feed from Gibson as Frankfurt led 48-37. With Oldenburg trailing one could almost paste the saying on the back of the jersey of Bobby Brown “When in need give Brown the ball” as he scored inside again with ease and Chubb scored in the lane as Oldenburg trailed only 48-41. The EWE Baskets ended the third quarter with a spirited 10-4 run to trail only 52-47. Paulding scored inside sweeping in form the base line, Brown hit a jumper and then showed his dangerous passing skills firing in a quick pass to Chubb who finished with a dunk. Frankfurt closed out the scoring as Robertson scored on a layup as Mckinney found him coming to the hoop from the baseline a play that Frankfurt perfected last season usually Wood to Robertson for the swift ally-opp. “We came out and defended very well in the third quarter. We were able to sustain their changes and we got other guys going”, said Skyliner Jermareo Davidson. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 41% from the field and 8% from the parking lot while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 51% from the field and 44% from the parking lot. Frankfurt still had the 26-22 rebound edge and only eight turnovers while Oldenburg had 15 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners were able to withhold a feisty Oldenburg team and then seemed more shocked at the ending of the game then did the fans in the arena. Mckinney who had been quiet in the first half as he had been against ratiopharm Ulm last weekend continued to step it up in the second half dropping two jumpers for the 57-50 lead. After another Davidson fade away jumper which seemed like his 100th on this day, Oldenburg kept pressuring inside as Burrell and Hasbrouck scored. Frankfurt wasn´t playing bad defense, but forcing Oldenburg to create their own shots and do a lot of one on one which these Americans are capable of doing. Oldenburg hit many tough shots. The defense always wants to force tough shots and if the opponent makes the shots then there is simply not more than tipping the hat which can be done. After Burrell made some clutch free throws, it was Jacob Mr Top Gun Burtschi who scampered to the bucket scoring hard with his left hand giving Frankfurt the 63-59 lead. Oldenburg would simply not bow out, but continue to attack the rim drawing fouls as Chubb and Brown connected as Frankfurt only led 64-63. However then it was time for Mr clutch Jimmy Mckinney to connect from down town giving Frankfurt the 67-63 lead. Paulding then cut the Frankfurt lead to 67-65 with free throws. However Frankfurt remained as cool and calm as Tiger Woods does making big puts going on a mini 4-0 run to lead 71-65. Gibson didn´t show any trepidation attacking the bucket a second time in crunch time after missing his previous attempt he scored inside with amid range jumper. Davidson then followed that with a dunk as he was alone as there seemed to be a miscommunication by the Oldenburg defense. Brown continued the come back with a minute to play a lay up as Oldenburg trailed 71-67. However then came two unexpected and surprising turnovers by Oldenburg that led to fast transition dunks from Davidson and Robertson as time then elapsed and Oldenburg retreated into the locker room wondering what had just happened on the last two possession where they looked more like an amateur team than professional team. “I was very surprised how Oldenburg ended the game giving up two easy dunks”, stressed Johannes Herber. “I think we just tried to hard to execute at the end and weren´t on the same page”, added Detroit native Rickey Paulding. “The last minute killed us with our turnovers and they capitalized on every turnover”, stressed Bobby Brown.
The Fraport Sklyiners were led by Jermareo Davidosn with 25 points and seven rebounds. Jimmy Mckinney poured in 16 points and Quantez Robertson added 10 points. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were led by Bobby Brown with 22 points. Rickey Paulding contributed 15 points and five offensive rebounds. Adam Chubb produced 12 points and ten rebounds. Ronald Burrell added 11 points and five rebounds. Both teams shot 47% from the field which is solid, but horrible form outside with Oldenburg at 33% and the Fraport Skyliners at 18%. “We didn´t shoot well as a team. I couldn´t of hit a ocean with my shot. We got big offensive rebounds and Davidson was huge in the post. We won tonight not by hitting our three pointers”, smiled Jacob Burtschi. Frankfurt won the rebounding battle 31-30, but what remains the most consistent thing since the win in Hagen last December is their defense. “We played great help side and pick and roll defense”, warned Jimmy Mckinney. “Every guy on that team plays hard on defense. When you have a whole team that does that, then you always have good chances to win”, commented Rickey Paulding. Ex NBA player Jermareo Davidson had the full package playing brilliantly on offense and defense and almost seems embarrassed to talk about his stellar play. “When I am feeling good on defense, then I can do it all. Coach has been believing in me and given me an extra chance to correct my mistakes. Then I can give you anything”, warned Jermareo Davidson. It is no secret that Davidson has ambitions of returning to the NBA and will try his luck this summer in the NBA summer league. “Davidson had a strong game and played good defense. I hope he can make it back to the NBA. I wish him all the best”, commented Ronald Burrell. When Bobby Brown heard about Davidson wanting to get back to the NBA, he smiled and chuckled, “I hope to see him this summer in the Summer League. Its the plan to get back to the NBA”, stated Bobby Brown.