The Grant And Harris Ludwigsburg Explosion Turn Off The Fraport Skyliners Bright Light 90-78

In the last years, the closest one could come to an NBA connection concerning the MLP Riesen Ludwigsburg were ex players like Toby Bailey who played 73 NBA games for the Phoenix Suns or Terrell Harris who practiced set plays with Lebron James as a Miami Heat.  This season the club has a player whos last name is linked with possibly the greatest team of alltime the 1992 Dream team. New player Michael Stockton is the son of legendary guard John Stockton and playing his first season in Ludwigsburg. After two solid, but not spectacular seasons with Pro A club BG Karlsruhe, he made the jump to the Beko BBL. A lot of credit goes to coach John Patrick for giving him self confidence and trust and he played 38 minutes netting 20 points and 8 assists in his Beko BBL debut against Bremerhaven. He also had fine games against Vechta with 17 points and FC Bayern Munich with 12 points. He is shooting at a very high rate at the moment at 45% from the field and 46% from downtown coming into the game in Frankfurt.  He played at Westminster(NAIA) before coming to Germany and played two summers in a row NBA Summer league with the Utah Jazz and also was recommended to him by Charles Barkley that he should be his role model before his own dad.  It will be interesting to see how Stockton progresses who sees his defense as underestimated,  favorite pass to give is the kick out pass and sees his dad as an unbelievable passer and him just a good passer. One thing is for sure, if player evenings going to the scala or Luna cinemas get old, the Utah native can still entertain his teammates with stories like when friends and he were playing basketball outside, and Karl Malone came over took the ball and dunked over 7 kids as some were hanging on to him. Making big plays or shooting out the lights may not compare to Karl Malone or Charles Barkley stories, but the only thing Stockton is concerned with now is helping his team win and he entered the Fraport arena on Saturday in the starting five and despite not having his finer games scoring only two points and dishing out two assists, he was a part of the 90-78 Ludwigsburg win past the Fraport Skyliners. Coming into the game , the Utah native was averaging 12,6ppg, 3,4rpg and 4,2apg and had scored in double figures in the first three games and knows that his whole Beko BBBL is a process in the making. “I think that I have made a good adjustment even if I didn´t play well tonight. At the end of the day it has to do with fitting in with very good players in this league. This league is very physical and it is important to know how to be able to guard the different guards. It are simple adjustments that need to be made”, stressed Michael Stockton. Stockton teammate CJ Harris who played point guard at Chris Paul school Wake Forest had nice words for his teammate. “He has been great and I can learn so much from him. He is a great teacher. It has been a great learning tour in that he shows me the little things about being a point guard”, added North Carolina native CJ Harris. The Fraport Skyliner players were thinking more about their loss than Stockton, but had some words for him. “He has a lot of heritage to live up to, but he ia a very crafty player”, commented Oklahoma native Jacob Burtschi. Ex NBA player Andy Rautins who fouled out at the end of the fourth quarter and wasn´t  as accurate shooting as he usually is only had one short sentence for the point guard.” It was playing like any other point guard”, said Andy Rautins. Skyliner Dawan Robinson was making more thoughts about his performance than about the name Stockton. “I had no idea that they were related. Michael is a quick penetrating guard, but two different type of players”, explained Dawan Robinson.

In the first half, it looked like the Fraport Skyliners were on  a good route to beating MLP Riesen Ludwigsburg and that catchy Kevin Bright title was already in the making. Bright had his break out game as he lit up the score board for 23 points connecting on six three pointers. His shot was finally falling even if it was more consistent in the first half, this performance was very important for his self confidence. However in the second half two Americans Keaton Grant and CJ Harris stole the show from him almost dismantling the 2004 Beko BBL champion on their own. At halftime, Grant and Harris had 10 points combined and after 45 minutes had 48 points combined. They simply turned off the bright shooting light of Kevin Bright by shooting out the lights in the second half Grant started to get hot and Harris followed hitting 10 points in the fourth quarter and connecting for 12 of the Ludwigsburg 15 overtime points. “Grant and Harris were big in our win. We needed someone to take responsibility and they wanted the ball and attacked the rim”, stated Ohio native Patrick Flomo. Harris who is only a rookie showed immense self confidence in his game and just controlled the overtime as the Fraport Skyliners ran around the court like helpless dogs looking for their master. Ludwigsburg head coach John Patrick as he usually does had a good notion of who to give the ball to. “Coach wanted us to be aggressive. We felt that we could attack the ball screens and swings and did  a great job attacking them”, stressed CJ Harris. Frankfurt could of done a better job trying to close out these two guards, but instead kept letting them take them apart and Dawan Robinson surely knows who they are after this loss. “Grant is one of those players that is everywhere that is penetrating, is physical and plays with high energy. Harris did a good job playing his own pace. He really did what he wanted to do, even if he did hit many open shots. The problem is that when a guy like him finds his rhythm then it is hard to stop him”, warned Dawan Robinson. “Harris hit tough shots and we couldn´t stop Grant from getting to the rim. They just wanted it more than we did”, warned ex Phoenix Hagen forward Jacob Burtschi. “They are both very good players. They took over the game and we are very happy they did. They gave us that needed spark when we were down”, commented Michael Stockton.

The Fraport Skyliners were entering the game after a very tough loss in Munich and wanted to get back on track winning in their living room. After their last big win at home against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg, the team wanted to follow that up with the next big win and seemed to be on their way after playing a solid first half and keeping Ludwigsburg at bay in the third quarter and keeping the lead. In the fourth quarter, they were leading 66-52 and seemed in total control until Grant and Harris started to get heated up forcing overtime and outscoring the Fraport Skyliners 15-3. This was a very bitter loss for Frankfurt and one observer who has been going to games for years in Frankfurt called it one of the worst games he has ever seen at home and not only he was disappointed, but the club as well. “We played well for three quarters, but we have to learn to finish games. We had this game as good as won, but let it go. This is a part of being a young inexperienced team and is a part of growing pains”, stated Syracuse alumnist Andrew Rautins. Fraport Skyliner Konstantin Klein is as quick in his reply about the loss as he is getting to the basket. “We gave up the lead, because we lost concentration on defense. Ludwigsburg took the momentum into overtime and closed out the game easily”, stressed Konstantin Klein.  MLP Riesen Ludwigsburg  were coming off a huge 79-77 win against the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and in Frankfurt gave their special version of never never never losing faith in being able to win this game. “This was a crazy game. Frankfurt took it too us in the first half hitting three pointers, but in the second half we attacked the basket more and guys like Tanner Smith and Shawn Huff did a great job taking charges and we just got stops that gave us the win”, stressed CJ Harris. Ludwigsburg head coach John Patrick looked pooped after the win as his team got every inch of coaching expertise and Patrick Flomo was the deciding factor that got his team back on track. “Frankfurt played with very much self confidence and had a huge first half. The Flomo tip dunk changed the momentum of the game. We got more aggressive and CJ Harris had a big game. I have to tip my hat to Frankfurt as they have a typically well coached team from Gordon Herbert. I am very impressed with the development of the young Germans”, added John Patrick.

4,170 fans visited the Fraport arena to witness another exciting basketball battle between Frankfurt and Ludwigsburg and that is exactly what they got. Fraport Skyliners forward Danilo Barthel got the home team on the board first with a slick move past Gregory Echenique and the easy left handed lay in. Venezuelean Echenique responded with a tip in as he showed his early dominance on the boards a problem Frankfurt would have all night long. Then followed a few minutes as the game was very wild as there were turnover after turnover and Dawan Robinson airballs. The two big men Johannes Voigtmann and Robert Tomazek traded baskets as the gaem was dead locked 4-4. Voigtmann than found Mannheim native Kevin Bright who scored inside and American Tanner Smith who was the second leading scorer in Holland last season for  Landstede Basketbal Zwolle showed his downtown shooting hitting a three pointer while being fouled as Ludwigsburg led 8-6. Bright then nailed his first three pointer as Frankfurt led 9-8. Jacob Burtschi then got an unsportsmanlike conduct call, but Keaton Grant missed both free throws. However this didn´t hinder Ludwigsburg from going on a 8-2 run to close out the first quarter with the 16-11 lead. Harris started the run with a floater which was followed by a Mario Stojic off balance shot. Harris then hit free throws and Grant made a spectacular dunk over Danilo Barthel. “We lost focus in the first quarter letting Ludwigsburg on that run. We played only well in some phases”, stressed Konstantin Klein. “We didn´t start so well just trying to get used to each other and the opponent. This all snowballed in our game we calmed down went on a run and ended the first quarter with the lead”, said Patrick Flomo. Ludwigsburg was shooting 40% from the field and 20% from outside while Frankfurt was shooting 36% from the field and 25% from outside. Ludwigsburg had the 9-6 rebound edge, and they had six trunovers while Frankfurt had eight turnovers.

The Fraport Skyliners started off the second quarter very focused moving the ball well as Andrew Rautins made a reverse lay up getting set up nicely from Barthel. Bright who was the leading rebounder last season at Vanderbilt kept his hot shooting stroke flowing hit from the parking lot again over Tanner Smith, but the American from Norcross, Georgia made an incredible bank shot as the 24 second shot clock elapsed keeping the Ludwigsburg lead at 20-16. However Frankfurt who at this point had no inside game continued to drill home three pointers as precise as drilling for oil in Texas as Bright and Barthel nailed three pointers to tie the game at 22-22. Frankfurt then went on a 10-2 run to extend their lead to 32-24 as Klein scored inside and hit a three pointer while Rautins also nailed a jumper and Bright again from outside. However a big problem for Frankfurt on this day was that after great spurts of play, they would lose concentration for a short period allowing Ludwigsburg back into the game as they went on a mini 4-0 run as Stockton scored inside and Smith showed his good versatile play giving Tomazek a no look pass for an easy bucket to cut the Frankfurt lead to 32-28. After Klein free throws, it was Smith who couldn´t get the good shot from outside, but made a quick decision penetrating and scoring inside. Bright hit another three pointer and Grant ended the second quarter with a runner as Frankfurt still led 37-32. “This was a good quarter for us in that we played well and had a run. We defended well not giving Ludwigsburg easy shots and we continued to hit from outside”, stressed Konstantin Klein. “We weren´t focused as much in the second quarter. Frankfurt hit too many open shots and our rotations were bad”, added Patrick Flomo. Frankfurt was shooting 52% from the field and 58% from the three point line while Ludwigsburg was shooting 43% from the field and 29% from the three point line. Ludwigsburg had the 16-13 rebound edge and both teams had nine turnovers a piece.

In the third quarter, The Fraport Skyliners would keep the lead, but just were unable to sweep Ludwigsburg away as they kept on their heels like an annoying mosquito that is still alive after being hit. Shawn Huff started off the third quarter with a three pointer and Kevin Bright scored inside as Frankfurt led 39-35. Barthel then used his quickness plowing by Echenique for two easy points, but Huff showed his penetration ability sweeping by Barthel and Voigtman as Frankfurt led 41-38. Klein who found his shooting touch shooting 50% from outside hit a three pointer as Frankfurt led 45-38. However Frankfurt was unable to close the door on Ludwigsburg as there were always phases again where they played with less focus and were unable to capitalize on Ludwigsburg mistakes. Two missed Barthel free throws and a missed Rautins dunk were punished with a Huff pull up jumper and Flomo tip in dunk as Ludwigsburg trailed only45-42. Flomo really came alive in the second half and finished with four points, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal and was a big spark plug on defense for Ludwigsburg. “I think that tip dunk gave the team energy. That deflated Frankfurt a bit. On defense, I just try to play solid and just try to use my athletic ability and try to block the penetrating guards. We had a bad first half, but I think we played more aggressive on defense as a group”, stressed Patrick Flomo. Rautins nailed a huge three pointer, but Grant quickly silenced the home crowd with a three pointer as Frankfurt led only 48-45. However Jacob Burtschi found his outside touch again making a bomb from outside and Grant closed out the third quarter with a jumper as Frankfurt led 53-47. “We did a good job moving the ball and just kept Ludwigsburg behind us”, stated Konstantin Klein. “The third quarter was tough, because we were in a good groove, but everytime we hit a big shot or made big play, they were still able keep their distance”, stressed Patrick Flomo. Frankfurt was shooting 47% from the field and 53% from the parking lot while Ludwigsburg was shooting 43% from the field and 40% from the parking lot. Ludwigsburg had the big 29-19 rebound edge, but 13 turnovers while Frankfurt had 10 turnovers.

The Fraport Skyliners started off the fourth quarter as if they wanted to close out the game early and get to the sports bars early as Burtschi and Bright hit back to back three pointers extending the Frankfurt lead to 59-49. Harris stopped the Frankfurt run with a three pointer, but Frankfurt continued their offensive attack as Robinson who had had misfortune on finishing in the lane all night long scored with pretty stutter steps and Burtschi scored another three pointer and inside which had carried Frankfurt to the 66-52 lead with a 13-5 run. However Ludwigsburg started a comeback and with each new basket got more self confidence and took their team into overtime with a unbelievable 23-9 run. Overtime belonged to Harris, but the foruth quarter to Grant. Ex Real Madrid player Stojic started the run with a three pointer. Grant then showed his basketball ability scoring twice in the lane in traffic, hit free throws and a three pointer as the Fraport arena  was getting quieter with every new Ludwigsburg basket. Grant and Stojic made free throws and all of a sudden Frankfurt led only 67-66. Barthel then made an amazing hard dunk over Grant for the 69-66 Frankfurt lead. Rautins then fouled out and Smith made free throws as Frankfurt led 69-68. Grant then played tough defense on Barthel and Harris made a steal and got Smith the ball on the fast break and he finished giving Ludwigsburg after a long dry spell the lead back 70-69. Robinson then took the game into his own hands making free throws and hit a wonderful bank shot  for the 73-70 Frankfurt lead with 1.04 to play. Harris and Robinson then traded free throws as Frankfurt led 75-72. Ludwigsburg had 13,2 second left to bring the game into overtime and Harris nailed a three pointer as Frankfurt didn´t foul. “There is no question that we should of fouled. We had a miscommunication, but something like that just can´t happen in that situation”, stressed Konsatntin Klein.

MLP Riesen Ludwigsburg entered the overtime period with the momentum and self confidence and the Fraport Skyliners just couldn´t give them any resistance as Ludwigsburg won the overtime period 15-3 and game. Harris got Ludwigsburg on the board first with an off balance jumper, Grant hit free throws and Harris connected again as Ludwigsburg led 80-75. Harris and Robinson then traded free throws, but Harris kept hitting as he nailed a very unorthodox jumper from the corner and then scored inside as Frankfurt trailed 86-76. Frankfurt was getting unnecessary turnovers like Kevin Bright getting caught on the line, a big Patrick Flomo block on Barthel and their shots just weren´t falling anymore. Max Merz scored the last points for Frankfurt as it wasn´t enough. Flomo blocked Barthel again and Harris closed out the game with free throws. “Maybe Frankfurt was tired, but so were we. I think that it could have been a mental thing. Frankfurt had the big lead, but we came back had the momentum going into overtime and they couldn´t react”, added Michael Stockton. “A lack of defensive concentration lost us this game. We defended well in the second and third quarters, but lost it in the fourth quarter and couldn´t get it back. We didn´t think that we could lose this game and were shocked when they came back”, added Dawan Robinson.

MLP Riesen Ludwigsburg was led by CJ Harris with 26 points. Keaton Grant contributed 22 points. Tanner Smith chipped in with 13 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Kevin Bright with 23 points. Konstantin Klein and Jacob Burtschi added 12 points a piece. Frankfurt ended the day shooting only 40% from the field and 37% from the field while Ludwigsburg shot 48% from the field and 50% from outside. Ludwigsburg dominated the boards 45-29 and had 38 points in the paint. Ludwigsburg had 19 turnovers while Frankfurt had only 16 turnovers. In the press conference, it was obvious to see that Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert wasn´t happy with the play of his point guard Dawan Robinosn. The Philadelphia native played 30 minutes had nine points, three rebounds, four assists, but 5 turnovers and a disastrous shooting night at 2 for 15. Robinson had already been suspended recently for disciplinary reasons and now it is slowly becoming apparent that the point guard and coach dont see eye to eye. Robinson wasn´t happy about his game, but that his demeanor on the court had nothing to do with Gordon Herbert. “I was frustrated with my game. A lot was going through my head and my inability to hit shots. I just wasn´t happy that I couldn´t help my team better”, stressed Dawan Robinson. If one didn´t know how warm the room temperature was in the arena after the game, one might have thought that Andrew Rautins had just come out of an ice tank as his expression was motionless, but didn´t see a lack of effort on the part of the game of Robinson. “Dawan Robinson does a good job keeping the team together until the fourth quarter, but then took a step back. I think that we moved the ball well and that is job of a point guard. Basketball is a team game and a loss doesn´t have to do with one individual player”, commented Andrew Rautins.

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