Playoff basketball life has never been easy for the Telekom Baskets Bonn as they are still seeking their first Beko BBl title and since their last second game 5 defeat to current nemesis EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the 2009 finals, they really can´t be thinking what could be, but just hope hope hope for a good reality after 40 minutes. When looking at the current Oldenburg series, it is just hard to contemplate what could have been after the first three games, but instead of a 3-0 sweep, Bonn came into game four trailing two games to one and really had they been able to finish game one more cleverly in Oldenburg, coupled with their game two win and had they not turned the ball over in game three and made better decisions in overtime then Bonn Germans like Andrje Mangold and David Mccray could of spent a beautiful Sunday late afternoon possibly in Cologne hanging out at the Hard Rock café watching FC Bayern Munich defeat Ludwigsburg, watching Hamburg march their way to the second Bundesliga in Furth or just sipping a smooth cool drink debating how badly Dortmund was robbed against FC Bayern Munich in the cup final in Berlin where a Hummels goal was ignored ripping the seeds for a well deserved 2-0 Munich win. Instead the two Germans and their Bonn teammates were fighting for their lives against arch rivals Oldenburg to dead lock the series and force a game five in Oldenburg which they did thank an extremely hard fought game 72-71 in OT. After the game, Bonn point guard Eugene Lawrence reflected on why Bonn wasn´t able to relax on Sunday night and watch Bamberg get kicked out of the playoffs by the Artland Dragons. “We really had a chance if you look back at game three where we had bad starts in the first and third quarter where we missed our first 14 shots and were down by 15 points. You can´t play like that on the road and expect to win. One really has to watch the little things which can change the course of a whole game especially in the playoffs. We didn´t have any of that on our minds as we knew it was a do or die game and fought hard for the win”, expressed ex St Johns point guard. Ex Fraport Skyliner Ryan Brooks literally took the words out of the mouth of Lawrence as to why Bonn was still playing a game four. “We had a chance to sweep and this series really has shown that each possession counts. You can never take off a play, because you never know what can happen”, warned Philadelphia native Ryan Brooks.
A sold out Telekom dome of 6000 patrons wanted to see if the Telekom Baskets Bonn could force a game five and saw a very hard fought first quarter in which the EWE Baskets Oldenburg picked up the intensity at the end gaining the 27-16 lead. Oldenburg got in their comfort zone early going on a 5-2 run as 2008 cup winner with Artland Adam Chubb made a sweet fade away over Jamel Mclean and Serb Nemanja Aleksandrov hit free throws. Andrej Mangold scored inside and Chris Kramer made a free throw. Oldenburg was very physical inside and was getting easy buckets as Aleksandrov scored giving Oldenburg the 7-5 lead. Lawrence who has a pretty release then nailed a big three pointer giving Bonn their first lead of the game 9-8. That didn´t impress Oldenburg much as they picked up their game gliding out on a 8-2 run to retake the lead 15-9. Oldenburg kept pounding the ball inside as Alksandrov scored twice, Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding completed a rapid executed transition play and ex Bamberg center Philipp Neumann connected on free throws. Oldenburg kept up their intensity as Bonn had massive difficulty matching it and getting stops as the Oldenburg offensive machine was rolling as Julius Jenkins connected for a three pointer, made free throws and Chubb buried a mid distance shot. Just when you thought that Bonn had ended the first quarter in high fashion as Lawrence dropped another three pointer, it was Jenkins who stole him the show making an off balance step back three pointer at the buzzer and banking it home for good measure as Bamberg showed they were in early cruise control having the big 27-16 advantage. “We knew that we couldn´t come out flat and had to go out fighting. We did a good job getting the ball inside. We wanted to make them play defense. We had everyone involved on the offensive end and were defending very aggressively. You never know with a shooter like Jenkins, because he can hit big shots. The shot at the end was big. He is a great shooter”, stressed ex Frankfurt Skyliner Travon Bryant.
The second quarter had a tale of two stories as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg held their comfortable lead for the first five minutes, but let the Telekom Baskets Bonn back into the game knotting the game at 39-39 at the break. The Telekom Baskets Bonn got the second quarter going with a bang going on a 5-0 run to cut the Oldenburg lead to 27-21. Ex Giessen 46er Brooks hit a runner, then found teammate Mclean inside for an easy lay in. However Oldenburg knew when to stop the new born Bonn momentum as ex Skyliner Dominik Bahiense De Mello hit a bomb from the parking lot and forward Robin Smeulders completed the pick and role with Kramer as Oldenburg extended their lead to 32-21. Bonn then went on a 6-2 run as ex Boston Celtic Tony Gaffney scored three consecutive times and on the final bucket spinning around the Real Madrid Sergio Rodriguez look a like Aleksandrov forcing him to give a nod of respect for that move. Gaffney was extremely focused to win this game as he had gone to sleep the night before in his Larry Bird socks once again showing why one is always superstitious coming from Boston. Bonn was only trailing 34-27 and would continue to chip at the Oldenburg lead. They continued to have consistency in their offensive sets and closed out the third quarter with a 12-5 run to dead lock the game at 39-39. After a Benas Veikalas three pointer, it was ex Giessen 46er Chubb getting an easy bucket inside as Bonn trailed 38-30. A Lawrence three pointer, Gaffney steal and Veikalas free throws cut the Oldenburg advantage to 38-35. Gaffney then made free throws and defense specialist Kurt Lobby scored a put back as Bonn had regained the lead again 39-38. Jenkins closed out the second quarter with one free throw. “We were making too many quick shots which led to easy lay ups on our misses. We didn´t rebound very well and gave them too many second chances for points”, added Los Angeles native Travon Bryant.
Every so often you encounter a quarter in basketball that you want to quickly forget as a head coach, but can´t simply because nothing was going right on offense and breaking down that quarter on video could be as nasty for a head coach as it is for a five star chef trying to figure out how a piece of hair could have gotten into the main dish. The third quarter was just plain ugly from an offensive point view for both sides, but then again both teams would have been lauded for their zeal on defense. It took 12 possessions for the first field goal to fall as Ryan Brooks hit a jumper to tie the game at 41-41. The game had turned into a wild affair as fans were witnessing just about every turn over there is too see and just bricks being tossed around as if that had been on the menu by the coaches. After seven minutes of play in the third quarter, the score was 2-2, a score that Dortmund soccer fans would have dreamed for at the end of 120 minutes in the 2014 cup final in Berlin. A few more buckets were made in the last three minutes starting with a Konrad Wysocki lay in and free throw for the Oldenburg 44-41 lead. That was quickly erased as Tony Gaffney nailed a three pointer completing the nice drive and kick by Mangold tying the game at 44-44. Bonn ended the third quarter with the momentum going on a spectacular 5-0 run as Mangold dropped a huge three pointer and Veikalas hit a buzzer beater from the corner getting help from the backboard as Bonn led 49-44. “Bonn did a good job carrying over their good defense from the middle of the second quarter into the third quarter. We had no flow on offense”, stated Adam Chubb. “We were able to disrupt their perimeter shooters and we rebounded very well and just battled on defense”, warned Ryan Brooks. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 45% from the field and 40% from outside while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 38% from the field and 20% from outside. Bonn had the 25-19 rebound edge. Bonn had nine turnovers and Oldenburg 10 turnovers.
The fourth quarter was a battle as Oldenburg would regain the lead and loose it right away, but send the game into overtime on the last play of the fourth quarter. The Ewe Baskets Oldenburg started the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run to retake the lead 60-59. Oldenburg went back to their roots scoring inside three straight times as Neumann made two put backs and Jenkins snuck home two points on an inbounds pass from Lebron James friend Dru Joyce. Bonn retook the lead on Lawrence and Gaffney free throws for the 54-50 lead. Chubb then made a free throw, but missed the second as Aleksandrov tipped home as Oldenburg trailed 54-53. The game remained extremely exciting as Mclean found Gaffney back door for the one handed dunk and and Jenkins connected on a jumper as Bonn still led 56-55. Ex Ludwigsburg guard David Mccray who cans core in spurts then took responsibility hitting a high rainbow as Bonn led 59-55. One could sense that no team wanted to win it more than the other as both were fighting to the end. Ex Purdue guard Chris Kramer collided with a Bonn player sustaining a cut on his head and finished the game with a yellow head band. Oldenburg wasn´t going down easily as Paulding scored inside while Lawrence made free throws as Bonn led 61-57. Chubb them made a jumper as Bonn led 61-59. Lawrence then took a page out of ex Bonn guard Jared Jordan feeding Looby an ally-op pass that was risky, but so perfect that the American banged home as Bonn led 63-59. Kramer then quickly scored inside as Bonn led 63-61. With 23 seconds to play, Bonn had possession, but coughed up the ball as Chubb got the ball got Kramer on the fast break, but Gaffney came out of nowhere and swatted the ball seemingly into the Rhine river. With three seconds to play, Kramer caught Oldenburg napping as he found Paulding open and he sent the game into OT with a lay in. “You can´t let a guy like Paulding get open. We did a good job getting him the ball”, stressed Adam Chubb. “We simply had a miscommunication on the switching. I am happy that that last play didn´t bite us in the butt at the end”, added Ryan Brooks. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 43% from the field and 35% from the three point line while the EWE Baskets Bonn were shooting 39% from the field and 17% from the three point line. Bonn had the 33-32 rebound edge, but 14 turnovers while Oldenburg had 11 turnovers.
In the overtime, The Telekom Baskets Bonn maintained control until the end, allowed Oldenburg one more lead change until regaining the lead and winning the contest. Lawrence started the overtime period with a three pointer which was matched by a spectacular shot by Kramer falling to his right as Bonn still led 66-65. Paulding and Brooks then exchanged free throws as Oldenburg trailed 68-66. Mccray then found Brooks on the inbounds play and he gunned the ball back inside for the easy lay in. Kramer scored on the other end as Bonn still led 70-68. Bonn then made a costly turnover as the 24 second clock expired and Oldenburg took advantage of as Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding did what he does best hitting clutch three pointer as Oldenburg suddenly silenced the Telekom dome leading 71-70 with 21 seconds to play. “That is the moment when we want a guy like Paulding taking that shot. We have many guys that can take that shot, but Paulding is the guy you always want in that phase”, explained Dominik Bahiense De Mello. With 21 seconds to play, Bonn didn´t waste much time as David Mccray was the hero making the lay in to give Bonn the 72-71 lead. “We had an upscreen for Mclean.He gave me a good block and I saw the hole and took it. My defender was behind me so I just took the chance”, stressed David Mccray. “We had no help side. We knew that Mccray would do that. We have to be able to defend better in a moment like that”, warned Dominik Bahinese De Mello. “Mccray had much confidence in this game and had good rhythm. He saw open lane and took it. I am happy for him”, explained Ryan Brooks. Oldenburg had 16 seconds to win the game, but ex Wurzburg guard Kramer was unable to make the runner in the lane. “The game had been back and forth and had been a battle. Kramer had a good look, but it just didn´t want to fall”, said Adam Chubb.
The Telekom Baskets Bonn were led by Eugene Lawrence with 17 points and five assists. Tony Gaffney contributed 15 points and 12 rebounds and Benas Veikalas had 12 points. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were led by Nemanja Aleksandrov with 14 points. Julius Jenkins added 13 points and Rickey Paulding 10 points. Bonn shot 42% from the field and 35% from the parking lot while Oldenburg shot 40% from the field and 21% from the parking lot. Bonn won the rebounding duel 40-35, but had 15 turnovers while Oldenburg had 12 turnovers. An interesting statistic has been the domination of the boards of Bonn that lead 4-0 in the series. “We have not been taking care of the boards and have given up too many long rebounds. We have to be more focused and give more effort. We have shown that we can, but need to do it each night”, expressed Adam Chubb. Game five is in 72 hours and both coaches really don´t have to teach any more x and o´s as both teams know each other inside out. “The team that works harder and wants it more will win game five”, warned Adam Chubb. “We did a pretty good job on Jenkins and Paulding and hope it carries into game five. We need to control the game in Oldenburg and I have to take better care of the ball and stay out of foul trouble”, warned Eugene Lawrence.