Tony Gaffney(Telekom Baskets Bonn) I Think It Is Quite Clear That Bamberg Don´t Like Us And We Don´t Like Them

Tony Gaffney is a 27 year old 204cm forward from Berkely, Massachusetts that is playing for the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He is a forward who brings a high level of energy and athleticism to any teams he joins. He is a tenacious rebounder and great defender. He was the Atlantic 10 Conference defensive player of the year in 2008-09, and one of the nation’s leading shot-blockers. He played at Boston University from 2004-2006 and then went to Massachusetts (NCAA) where he played from 2006-2009. In his senior year, he played 30 games: 11.5ppg, RebA10-2(10.2rpg), 1.7apg, StealsA10-2(2.0spg), BlocksNCAA-3(3.8bpg), FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 64.6%: Finished career at UMass ranked seventh all-time in blocks (174). In 2009-2010, he played for Altshuler Saham Galil Gilboa (Israel-Premier League): 1 game: 2pts, 2reb, 1steal, 1block, but left next month, in Apr.’10 moved to Boston Celtics (NBA). Last season, he played for the Boston Celtics (NBA), in Oct.’10 moved to Turk Telekom Ankara (Turkey-TBL): Turkish League: 8 games: 6.0ppg, 2.4rpg, FGP: 63.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 80.0%; EuroChallenge: 3 games: 8.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.0spg; left in Jan.’11, same month acquired by Utah Flash (D-League): 38 games: 10.3ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.3apg, 1.4spg, Blocks-4(2.3bpg), FGP: 55.9%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 66.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before game 2 against the Telekom Baskets Bonn.

A big 75-74 win against the Brose Baskets Bamberg in game one. How much did the big do or die game against the Fraport Skyliners fuel the Telekom Baskets Bonn to perform at a high level for 40 minutes?

The win over a very good, tough defensive team like the Fraport Skyliners prepared us for the first round series against Bamberg. All week after the win over Frankfurt our mentality was that, “with 8 teams left playing, every one is 0-0”

From your experience playing in NCAA, Israel, Turkey and NBA how difficult is it to prepare for a top team like bamberg in a best of 5 series

Its very difficult preparing for any series, never mind when its against some of the leagues best teams. We are well aware of what we need to do to give ourselves the best shot at winning this series with Bamberg and coach is doing a great job at preparing us, and then once that ball is tipped, its up to us players to perform. The atmosphere in Bamberg was like that of in Kansas my senior year at Umass, where my team as the underdog also went in there and stopped a long home winning streak that the Kansas Jayhawks had strung together

The Brose Baskets Bambegr had the slim lead at halftime. What did head coach Michael Koch tell the team to do better in the second half?
At the half coach told us we were doing a good job and to keep shooting and shots would eventually start to fall. He also told us that if we were going to win that game it was going to be on the defensive end and that Bamberg is a tough team to beat when the score is in the upper 80s-90s. It was made very clear at what a good coach we have in Mike and the adjustments he made throughout the week as well as the in game adjustments.

In the third quarter, Bamberg got out to a 10 point lead. What adjustments did Bamberg seem to do to get the lead again?
When Bamberg got out to their 10 point lead midway through the 3rd quarter they simply made shots and we did not. Coach told us to relax, and to keep defending because shots will start to fall. Bamberg is a very deep team, if one player has an off night, they have 3 or 4 guys that can quickly come off the bench and get hot. During that run, they made some big plays, but we didn’t panic and kept with coaches game plan.

The Telekom Baskets Bonn never gave up and cut the lead back down. What was key in crunch time for keeping the game close?

Having a veteran team like we do, we don’t tend to panic when other teams go on runs. They went up big early on us and we stayed calm and were able to get a few easy buckets to get us going. In crunch time I don’t think there were any real “keys” to keeping the game close, we just played solid basketball and ran our sets, and were able to get the shots we wanted.

Describe the last play where Benas Vielakis won the game with a tip in?
We knew that if we spread the court, Jared, or Talor or Benas would be able to take their defender off the dribble, and draw help and possibly be able to kick to somebody for an open shot, luckily Talor beat the defense and got a point blank look that Marcus did a great job of altering, but with that said, it was crucial that Talor got the shot to the rim, because had it been blocked the game probably would have ended before there was time for Benas’ tip. Benas is a warrior, one of our toughest guys we have, and he muscled his way to the offensive glass, and was able to tip it in, in traffic, with his left hand. It was very impressive.

Is Kevin Koch on the Bonn pay roll? He seems to be getting experience as an assistant coach? Lol
Haha Kev is a big part of our team, he is with us every game and has an amazing basketball mind…like father like son.

There seemed to be some trash talking going on on the court. Could this series get more heated up as the series progresses?
Yeah there was a lot of words exchanged throughout the game, I don’t think there will be much love lost when this series is over. Besides Marcus being one of my boys, that all goes out the window when the ball is tipped. For the most part I think its quite clear, we don’t like Bamberg and they don’t like us, and that always leads to a heated and entertaining series for the fans.

It seems both teams don´t like each other. But it can´t be as forcefull as the Celtics and Lakers?
I don’t think there will ever be a basketball rivalry quite like that of the Celtics/Lakers.

Describe how important Talor Battle is. Could one assume and say that Bonn would not have won with out him?
Talor has been one of the most important picks we had this season, bringing him in around Christmas was huge. He’s our 6th man, and on nearly every other team in the league he could start, but he embraced that role and is instant offense off the bench. In game 1, he was able to easily penetrate their defense and get to the rim almost at will.

Is it more an advantage or disadvantage to have almost a week between games?
For our team it is definitely an advantage, gives our team all the time to rest and make adjustments and prepare for game 2.

I guess keeping Bamberg guessing about how Bonn will defend will continue to be key for getting by in this series?
Yes we will continue to make adjustments and try to keep them on their heels.

PJ Tucker makes it look so easy and that is why he has played in the NBA? Why is he so hard to guard?
He’s a good player. I thought we did a very good job of making him shoot 7-16 from the field. A big part of this series will be trying to keep him in check. Not an easy task to say the least, but if we want to have a shot at winning this thing, thats going to be a big factor.

What is your prediction for the Alba Berlin/Wurzburg series?
I Feel Berlin is just too deep, but for a first round match up, you have to think that Berlin was not thrilled to see they had to play Wurzburg, they’re defense is so pesky and can really annoy opposing teams.

What is your prediction for the Ulm/Braunschweig series?
Having buddies on both teams, this is a tough one, but I don’t see Braunschweig having answers for Isaiah and JB, but then again, Braunschweigs depth could eventually wear down Ulm.

What is your prediction for the Artland/Munich series?
This is the most intriguing series to me, besides ours with Bamberg, because although Munich is the lower seed, they’ve been playing so well these last few months, wouldn’t be surprised to see this series go 5 games.

Do the Boston Celtics have the series wrapped up against Atlanta?
Yes. When Paul, Ray, K, and Rondo are all playing at this level, they’re so hard to beat.

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Gran Torino…man that movie is tough. Clint Eastwood is a G in it.

Thanks Tony for the chat.

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