Last summer it was exciting to tune into Dennis Schroeder playing Summer League games with the Atlanta Hawks and to see how he would fair against the other young talented NBA hopefuls, while this summer despite Germany having as many candidates playing like never before, Danilo Barthel remains the most desired player for me to watch simply because I have seen every game of Barthel in the last three seasons with Frankfurt except three against Artland, Giessen and Bremerhaven. So after his second game where he helped defeat the Brooklyn Nets with a very solid 8 point, four rebound performance, I quickly checked the schedule when game three would take part and I right away had an upcoming dilemma where I would have to let my eyes and ears go to work in the same fashion an animal does when always having to be alert when danger may come while for me it would mean watching two round balls move on the soccer pitch and on the basketball court. Going from watching the first half of the 2014 World Cup semi- final Germany-Brazil where you see world class players like Manuel Neuer, Thomas Mueller, clashing with guys like Dani Alves, David Luiz and a guy by the name of Hulk who isn´t green, but could be the incredible Hulk´s little baby to watching a normal NBA Summer League game between the Miami Heat and the Detroit Pistons couldn´t be more of an extreme, but sometimes sport is cruel and one just has to suffer and watch two screens at the same time. The fact that Barthel would clash against ex teammate Tim Ohlbrecht who he hadn´t shared the court with in 27 months as teammates with the Fraport Skyliners was just an added bonus to a full packed Sports evening.
I had my doubts that I could really enjoy watching the third NBA Summer League game of Danilo Barthel and the clash against ex teammate Tim Ohlbrecht, but with Germany leading 5-0 at half time against a totally shocked Brazilian squad, I actually was able to enjoy this game without having any guilt complexes about not really focusing on the World Cup game and the possibility of even more goals coming. However one can´t forget a few years back the German national team had a 4-0 lead against Sweden and after 90 minutes it was 4-4, but I had no worries that a repeat effect was going to happen as the shock factor in the stadium in Belo Horizonte was so huge as the only way Brazil would come back was if Neymer came out in the second half reborn hand in hand with Ronaldo who wanted to get back even with Miro Klose with 16 goals. However with the soccer game running in the back round, I was able to focus on Barthel vs Ohlbrecht, because Germany only scored two more goals in the second half. After heightening his game in the first two games, Fraport Skyliner Danilo Barthel was inserted into the starting lineup against the Detroit Pistons. The Miami Heat didn’t´t get off to a good start trailing 10-2 quickly. The Heidelberg native played seven minutes, but how much he was able to get involved on the offensive end reflected the first game against the Boston Celtics where he wasn´t getting the ball as much. He was also hit quickly with two offensive fouls. The highlights of Barthel in the first quarter was his one field goal where he penetrated using the strength of his big body getting position under the hoop and finishing with his left hand as he had waited until his defender was in the air. On another play, one could see the exceptional ability of Barthel to run the floor, but lost the ball after not getting a good pass. As always Barthel had an eye for the open man, but Shabazz Napier couldn´t connect on an open shot. Ex Barthel teammate Tim Ohlbrecht who has played three NBA games for the Houston Rockets and spent last season in the D-league with Ft Wayne was his usual big presence under the basket getting two offensive rebounds, but being absolutely no option on offense in finishing. Since leaving Germany after the 2011-2012 season, it is apparent that Ohlbrecht has gained muscle on his body. If he were to return to the Beko BBL this season, he would definitely be a different kind of player, a definite force in the league.
In the second quarter, Tim Ohlbrecht played a few minutes, but wasn´t a factor, while Danilo Barthel reentered the game at the 4.02 minute mark. Miami was spreading the ball around the game nicely even though Shabazz Napier wasn´t a factor. Every guy was getting looks even if Barthel seemed to be at the end of the shot list takers. Barthel had no real offensive highlights and got his third turnover as he was caught traveling. Barthel continued to clean up under the defensive basket. Miami had the comfortable 38-30 lead at the break. In the third quarter, Barthel was in for a few minutes, but was no real factor. Ohlbrecht was inserted with 2.39 minutes to play in the third quarter. He didn´t get any balls in the low post as both teams were unleashing shot after shot from outside or making buckets on the fast break. Ohlbrecht suffered a bitter offensive foul on a miscommunication on the pick and role. The two biggest highlights of the third quarter was a crushing Tony Mitchell dunk and an ankle breaker from Caldwell-Pope. Detroit had the slim 57-55 lead after 30 minutes. In the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, the executives, scouts and press were displayed very sloppy basketball until Barthel came back in at the 6.24 minute. The lead changes kept going back and forth and as rapidly as the goals were being made from Germany against Brazil. Barthel lost the ball near the end driving to the hoop and other than that was no real factor on offense, but he wasn´t getting shots. Cardwell-Pope got very hot in crunch time and Miami gave the game away at the end not executing while James Ennis missed two free throws with 12 seconds to play with Miami leading 78-77. On the last possession, Detroit won the game with a game winner from who else, but Caldwell-Pope who led all scorers with 26 points. Tim Ohlbrecht finished the game with four rebounds and three turnovers in 9.35 minutes and no field goal attempts. The stat line of Danilo Barthel read as two points, three rebounds, one assist and one block in 19.57 minutes on one for two shooting. The Germans combined almost played 30 minutes combined taking two shots. This shows that the German players have to be extra extra extra aggressive on offense and just want the ball almost having to slap the other Americans silly, but that isn´t the easiest thing to do when everyone is firing away trying to help their stats shine. One thing is for sure, Danilo Barthel may not remember it was this game, but in 20 years he will remember where he was during the historical 7-1 Germany crushing of Brazil at the 2014 World Cup. He was in Orlando and with Tim Ohlbrecht probably the only two Germans who didn´t watch the game on TV Live.