In the home land of Danilo Barthel in Germany, the last days have been buzzing with soccer talk and the world cup final between Germany and Argentina approaching while in Orlando, Florida where the Heidelberg native is taking part in the Summer League, he can easily focus on basketball, basketball and basketball. He will be able to concentrate on this big sports event on his free day on Sunday in Las Vegas when he can sit back at noon time with a Vegas Strip Dog or paella valenciana and wash it all down with some Powerade or Gatorade while enjoying some more records being done by Thomas Mueller or Miroslav Klose. However Before he could relax in Las Vegas before taking the court again, he had to take care of some last business in Orlando with his last NBA Summer League game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Barthel competed against some well known basketball names like Andre Roberson, Mitch Mcgary or Nolan Smith, but there was one player he knew all to well about as he had lost twice last season to Michael Stockton and Ludwigsburg by not more than a combined three points in both games. In the first meeting Ludwigsburg were behind by 15 points until Americans Keaton Grant and CJ Harris pulled out their reserves and took apart the Fraport Skyliners while in Ludwigsburg, it was Coby Karl who drew a technical foul on Quantez Robertson and Adam Waleskowski that hauled down an offensive rebound and made the put back for the bitter 77-76 loss for Barthel and Frankfurt. Stockton and Barthel didn´t overly shine on the court then in Germany, but now had another chance to battle on the court as the German didn´t want to leave the court a loser against the Washington native three times in a row.
After having a DNP in the fourth game in Orlando against the Indiana Pacers, Barthel was back on the court again in a meaningless last game at the 2014 NBA Summer League in Orlando. After the Philadelphia 76ers had beaten the Memphis Grizzlies in the championship game, it was time for the last game of the day the game for seventh place between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite some high flyer names like ex Uconn Huskie Jeremy Lamb and Steven Adams sitting out the game and Miami Heat James Ennis not playing, the game had enough highlights and the announcement of Lebron James heading home to the Cavs may have been the buzz in the Orlando Magic practice facility, but at the end of 40 minutes North Dakota native Tyler Johnson had created his own electrifying verve that had scouts and GM´s putting that name down on their note pad. The Oklahoma Thunder had the better start in the first quarter and controlled the game and even had a comfortable 10 point lead as all five Thunder starters scored and it really didn´t matter where the Kevin Durant team shot from, they were perfect making 10 of 10 shots. Miami didn´t have a healthy Shabazz Napier who had a bruised right thumb that was severely hampering his play. Barthel had some competition with Perry Jones and later Mitch Mcgary to defend. The first good offensive play was Barthel on the fast break finding Andre Dawkins for the easy lay up and assist. However this game lived from amazing highlights that started with a massive block from 6.4 guard Tyler Johnson on 6,8 Marcus Lewis. Johnson would have many more amazing plays for the ESPN Sports Center top 10 plays. What Dominique Wilkins was to the Atlanta Hawks as the human highlight film. people at Fresno State would be proud if Johnson was crowned with the mini human highlight film nickname. After a very high scoring first quarter, the Thunder had the 35-29 lead.
In the second quarter, Fraport Skyliner Danilo Barthel was on the floor from the get go and was more involved with the offense than in game three. Every second on the court will help a player gain more experience, but as a young player you are still going to make mistakes and be up and down as was the case with the Beko BBL most improved player. He started off the second quarter with a soft two handed stuff where the Miami Heat displayed fine team basketball. Barthel played very solid defense in the first few minutes as he forced a turnover and one really notices how quick the German is especially when he is showing his lateral movement getting up to trap the guards and then being like a flash of lightening and getting back into the paint. His next big play was almost programed when Jones came down on the fast break from the left and Barthel was already at the hoop and was just waiting to sky high and swat the ball away which he did into the second row. There really wasn´t much Jones could have done on that play since he had no teammates to dish the ball to. In the last minutes of the second quarter, Barthel continued to get shots, but his three pointer just wasn´t falling as they were all open three pointers. He was beat a few times on defense and even put up an air ball that Justin Hamilton caught and made a put back giving Barthel a lucky assist. Michael Stockton also came into the game and did a good job in the few minutes he was in to always be aggressive on offense with his playmaking and finding his teammates. Oklahoma had led by as much as 15 points, but Miami kept chipping away at the lead and cut the lead down to two points as the Thunder led 60-58 at the break as Mcgary made a buzzer beater bank shot. It was the highlight game for Johnson as the gym got loud when he dunked home a Dawkins miss. Dawkins had 21 points and Hamilton 15 points at halftime.
In the first few minutes of the third quarter, the game was very sloppy, but the Miami Heat were still able to shoot a very high percentage form the field at 52% and they even had the 69-66 lead. Barthel entered the game again at the 5.30 minute mark. The German did a good job rebounding the ball, but his shot continued not wanting to drop and he had a traveling call for a turnover where his pivot foot was sliding a bit. He got to the free throw line twice making three of four free throws as on one play he showed again how well he can and likes to run the floor on the fast break. Barthel stayed in the game at the start of the fourth quarter, but his misfortune continued as he couldn´t hit the ocean if he was standing right there on the beach in neighboring Sarasota. With there being no foul rule in the NBA Summer League, Barthel reached a milestone that no player playing in Europe will ever achieve not even a Baby Shaq Sofoklis Schortsanitis who can only get the five hit upon him in a 40 minute game as the German got his sixth foul and could have stayed in the game as you can keep playing. Barthel then did depart the game and Stockton came in again. Tyler Johnson wasn´t done yet either as he had that ESPN top 10 plays dancing in his mind and he had two more worthy for the countdown as he came in from the wing and dunked two handed and soon after came down on the fast break and fed Honeycutt perfectly for the hard ally-op dunk. Oklahoma kept their nerves under control in the last two minutes as Andre Roberson and J Huestis hit shots giving Oklahoma the 103-98 victory. The final stat line for Danilo Barthel was six points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and three turnovers on 1/7 shooting in 21 minutes. Michael Stockton had one steal, one assist and one turnover in 3.53 minutes played. Barthel was unable to get revenge on Stockton as he beat him again and now leads their head to head series 3-0. Barthel had a very productive week as he did many good things on the court, but also made mistakes. If he had hit half of his open three pointers against the Thunder, he would have ended with 15 points and had some more eye brows raised from coaches and general managers attending the games. The pace of the game is very fast and unlike in the NBA, defense does get played in the NBA Summer League, because players want to impress. The big winner of the Miami Heat squad was rookie Tyler Johnson. With his solid and spectacular play, he could land a spot in an NBA team training camp. If he doesn´t reach the NBA, he will be a very desired player in Europe. This guy could be a star in the Beko BBL. Barthel now heads off to the Sun city Las Vegas where he will play more games next week with the Miami Heat. He will hop a plane to Las Vegas and be back on the court Saturday night at 7pm against the Houston Rockets and battle players like Jabari Brown and a familiar face with Chris Kramer who has played in Germany since 2011. Barthel probably will get some shut eye on the plane ride to Las Vegas and could be dreaming about Manuel Neuer making the last save in the penalty kicks to help Germany win the 2014 World Cup or about one of the breathtaking Tyler Johnson dunks in Orlando