It has only been 17 months since the Deutsche Bank Skyliners lost a close fifth game to Alb Berlin in the 2011 semi -final playoffs. Back then it was the last game for Dashaun wood in a Skyliner uniform. Many will have fond memories of his season as he tore apart the Beko BBL leading the league in scoring with 19 points and at times tearing apart defenses as if he was taking a stroll in the River walk in Detroit. Instead of remaining in Frankfurt, he took more money and continued offense freedom under Gordon Herbert last season. The season had its up and downs and ended with an unsatisfying four game series playoff loss against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. Despite this misfortune, the road runner Wood remained in Berlin, but knew things would change and become different under new head coach Sasa Obradovic. Wood found out quickly that he would have to be as prepared for the new strict basketball teacher as James Bond had to be with his confrontations with henchman Jaws. Wood doesn´t have the freedom as he had the last two seasons with a much deeper and talented roster, but the Detroit native clamped down right away in training camp and accepted the1998 World champion with Yugoslavia and his precise rules and buckled down and left his ego in the trash can next to the O2 World arena. His stats have been down this season, but that is more than expected with the talented teammates that he has as well as the overload traffic at the guard position with Heiko Schaffartzik and Vule Avdalovic. The interesting fact is that his scoring has dipped only a bit from last season, but his assists and rebounds are way down. He isn´t averaging 30 plus minutes this season, but has gotten accustomed to his newer reduced role, but can at any time pull out the road runner Wood turbo scoring, rebound and assist machine and make the big shots in key situations. After only a week with his new coach Sasa Obradovic, he explained the harmony between him and his new coach. “We have been on same page since day one. I understood from the start that he was a great player for Alba Berlin and won as a coach. I wanted to learn from him from day one. I think that I have become a better player with him as coach. I think that with me learning more and more in the future that our relationship will get even better”, stressed 2011 Beko BBL MVP Dashaun Wood. Coming into the game, Wood had a 2-0 record against his ex team and was as focused to meet his ex team as was Ray Allen of the Miami Heat recently when he squared off against his ex team the big green machine Boston Celtics. Wood had a solid game against the Fraport Skyliners scoring 15 points, dishing out four assists and grabbing two rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes.
The Fraport Skyliners came into the game with a one game winning streak and added confidence after their big 61-59 win against the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig last weekend, while Alba Berlin approached the game with a two game winning streak, but were reeling off a bitter Euroleague loss at home against Italian top team Sienna. The Fraport Skyliners who already have a more limited roster in comparison against eight time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin and got bad news that the yhad to play without forward/center Zach Peacocok who was laboring with a ankle injury and remained in Frankfurt and didn´t make the trip on Sunday. Alba Berlin didn´t hesitate at all jumping on the 2004 Beko BBL champion Frankfurt cruising out on a 6-0 lead as American Zach Morley hit his first shot and would remain perfect on the day and North Carolina alumnist Deon Thompson scored and hit free throws. Frankfurt finally got on the borar with a high rainbow jumper from Danilo Barthel who had amused the fans on Saturday with a handful of dunks in the PRO B win against Leitershofen. However Frankfurt was unable to put a dent in the early Alba Berlin offensive rhythm as the 2008 Beko BBL champion relied on their weapons as it was time for 2011 Beko BBL MVP Dashaun Wood to jump start his motor as he scored in bunches twice in the lane for the 10-3 lead. Frankfurt reacted with a Quantez Robertson back door pass to Ted Scott for two points. However Alba Berlin kept chipping away and would soon extend their lead to 19-9. It was no secret that Frankfurt was decimated inside and that is where they were attacked by from Alba Berlin. German national player Yassin Idbihi scored twice and that was followed by a Heiko Schaffartik bomb from the TV tower at the Alexander place in downtown Berlin. However in the last minutes, the Frankfurt defense stepped up their aggressiveness and played more as a team ending the first quarter with a 7-2 run to trail only 21-16. Zach Morlery scored on a mini ally-op pass from 2004 Olympic participant Vule Avdalovic. Frankfurt then closed out the first quarter with a tough in your face three pointer from Dion Dowell, A Tez lay in and a Marius Nolte lay in with two seconds left on the shot clock as Texas native Devin Gibson somehow shoveled him a perfect pass. Alba Berlin was shooting 70% form the two point range and 33% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 40% from outside. Alba Berlin had the eight to five rebound advantage and both teams had a high number of turnovers at six each.
The Fraport Skyliners were unable to carry that defensive intensity into the second quarter as Alba Berlin was able to climb out on a 14-2 run to lead 34-18 which was the deciding point in the game as Alba Berlin would never look back and at times lead by 30 points later in the game. In the run, Alba Berlin got continued to be able to get to the free throw line as Thompson and Wood connected and got consecutive buckets from Morely and Idbihi. The German national player who played at Buffalo in the NCAA with Leitershofen forward Parnell Smith scored inside twice showing that he has a nice array of moves and Morley used a mismatch against Tez and hit a three pointer. American Johnathan Jones was able to stop the run with three pointer, but Alba Berlin kept pouring it on on offense as Obradovic got sufficient production form his bench. Avdalovic scored inside showing his has athletic ability and Djedovic scored on the fast break as Alba Berlin led 38-21. Alba Berlin kept keeping up their consistent offense while the Fraport Skyliners continued to have difficulty with mistakes, defending the rim and losing mismatches. Thompson hit amid distance shot and scored free throws. Ex Pamesia Valencia center Albert Miralles scored easily inside getting away from Dion Dowell as if the American had been glued to the O2 arena floor. Morley then used a second mismatch against the two time Beko BBL slam dunk finalist Tez with a shot over him. Ohio native Ted Scott hit a few jumpers to keep Frankfurt not in nowhere land, but back 49-29 at halftime. The Fraport Skyliners were struggling in the first half to find an offensive rhythm while Alba Berlin was hitting their shots and staying consistent on defense not letting the opponent get into the flow. Alba Berlin was shooting 78% from the two point range and 38% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 33% from the three point line. Alba Berlin had the 16-10 rebound edge and only seven turnovers while Frankfurt had 10 turnovers.
In the third quarter, Alba Berlin was able to extend their lead to 30 points while the Fraport Skyliners were heading more into no mans land as they kept fighting, but just didn´t have the basketball quality on this day to challenge Alba Berlin. Idbihi started a mini 4-0 run with two baskets inside getting fed by a no look Wood pass. Here and there, the Fraport Skyliners had some rays of light on the offensive side as young German Konstantin Klein who was extra motivated playing in front of his home town crowd continued to show his strong self confidence not hesitating to take a three pointer to cut the Frankfurt lead to 53-32. Alba Berlin kept up the pressure on offense going on a 13-5 run to lead 66-37. It didn´t matter what American Zach Morley did on this day, because everything he touched turned to gold as he continued to make shots. His most beautiful shot was a tough fade away jumper over Danilo Barthel. Alba Berlin continued to punish Frankfurt inside hammering the ball inside and penetrating as Djedovic and Avdalovic scored inside and Wood showed how the finger tip role works to perfection. Alba Berlin led 66-37. Konstantin Klein was the only real bright spot for the Fraport Skyliners trying all he could to get some kind of offense going as he made an off balance shot and catch and pop jumper. The Alba Berlin lead could have been even higher had Sven Schultze and Albert Miralles not missed free throws. German big man Johannes Voigtman closed out the third quarter with an offensive rebound and put back as Alba Berlin led 71-42. Alba Berlin was shooting 75% from the two point range and 29% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 39% from the field and 36% from the parking lot. Alba Berlin had the comfortable 27-17 rebound edge and 10 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners had 15 turnovers.
The only real positive thing from the fourth quarter was that the Fraport Skyliners won the quarter 23-20, but that doesn´t get you a win when your down by 29 points. Robertson and Wood exchanged three pointers to begin the fourth quarter. Dion Dowell then had his strongest stretch of the game scoring nine consectutive Skyliner points in a row. He showed his inside out strengths coring inside a few times and then also remembering his three point shot which he buried with ease, but Alba Berlin still led 78-54. On could see the unhappiness of Alba Berlin head coach Sasa Obradovic as his team was unable to close out the game the way he wanted too as their defense started to lose on intensity as the Fraport Skyliners started to get more easy points. Scott scored twice once catching a touch down pass from Tez as he beat the transition defense and then scored again inside. Dowell also beat the Alba Berlin defense again with a three point bomb. Alba Berlin youngster Sebastian Fulle also got onto the stat sheet with a pretty pull up jumper. Devin Gibson ended the game with free throws as Alba Berlin was able to win their third game in a row 91-65.
Alba Berlin was led by Yassin Idbihi with 17 points and five rebounds. Zach Morley added 16 points(7/7), five rebounds and two assists. Dashaun Wood added 15 points and four assists. Deon Thompson contributed 14 points and seven rebounds and Nihad Djedovic steered 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Dion Dowell with 18 points. Ted Scott contributed 13 points and Konstantin Klein produced 10 points. When looking at the stats, the Fraport Skyliners didn´t shoot bad at all with 43% from the field and 42% from the three point line. However they had no solution for the boards where they were trampled all over 36-22 and had 19 turnovers. It was an ok effort by the Fraport Skyliners considering they had no Zach Pecocok, but one could see the vast difference in player quality where the Fraport Skyliners just were unable to find any resistance against. The Fraport Skyliners can´t hang their heads as the opponents don´t get any easier as ratiopharm Ulm visit next weekend and the s.Oliver Baskets the weekend after.