FC Bayern Munich might be the most famous and well known German sports team, but when it comes to German basketball competition the biggest duel and most intense rivalry of the last 10 years belongs to the two big B´s Alba Berlin and the Brose Baskets Bamberg as they have been battling each other for titles seemingly forever, but currently the Bavarian team having the 9-4 edge, but Alba Berlin has won the last two cups. Both teams are currently also the crème de la crème in the Beko BBL as they are 1 and 2 in the standings boasting a 23-4 record and hoping for bragging rights before the playoffs start in a month. Bamberg came into the game well rested having last played last weekend while Alba Berlin were still digesting their bitter 71-64 Euroleague loss to top Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv 48 hours ago as they were denied the ticket to the quarterfinals as the experience factor played a massive role in crunch time. Both teams had battled only one time this season as 6 time Beko BBl champion Brose Baskets Bamberg destroyed Alba Berlin 98-69 as the Bavarian team shot out the light Stephen Curry style hitting 13 three pointers and displaying six players in double figures. Alba Berlin was unable to crack the Bamberg defense hitting only four three pointers and presenting splitting head aches for head coach Sasa Obradovic all night long. Even though this semi final was the top game, it started at the unconventional time of 5.00pm a time where Brad Wanamaker or Reggie Redding are usually getting ready for a light pre game snack while the other semi final of the EWE Baskets Oldenburg and Telekom Baskets Bonn was the top draw at 8:00 pm to help cater to the home crowd. Despite a small lull in the third quarter, the Brose Baskets Bamberg controlled the game for 33 minutes and easily reached the final disposing of Alba Berlin 86-65. “We played very aggressive defense, had nice ball movement and took the lead quickly. We allowed Alba Berlin to come back, but we stepped up our defense in the fourth quarter and were able to finish the game in fine fashion”, stressed Brose Baskets Bamberg forward Karsten Tadda. “We were a bit tired coming into the game and Bamberg limited our pick and roll and just didn´t let us play to our strength. We played more intensive defense in the third quarter being able to come back. We decided to stop pick and roll and just banged the ball inside to Mclean and Banic and that worked. But they came back hitting big three pointers and Dalibor Bagaric hurt us inside”, stressed Alba Berlin guard Ismet Akpinar. The Brose Baskets Bamberg were led by Brad Wanamaker with 21 points. American Ryan Thompson added 18 points. Elias Harris and Trevor Mbakwe added 12 points a piece and Janis Sterlnieks contributed 11 points. Alba Berlin were led by their big men Marko Banic and Leon Radosevic with 11 points a piece. Jonas Wolfarth-Botterman gave energy from the bench with 10 points. Bamberg had a hot shooting night shooting 53% from the field and 41% from outside while Alba Berlin shot 40% from the field and couldn´t hit the side of a barn from downtown shooting a miserable 12%. Alba Berlin did win the rebound battle 30-29, but had 13 turnovers while Bamberg had 11 turnovers.
Even if a EWE Baskets Oldenburg Telekom Baskets Bonn can´t compete with the player talent and consistent winning tradition of an Alba Berlin-Brose Baskets Bamberg match up, it sure can take the cake in terms of excitement and drama as these two ball clubs have witnessed some wild series and games and Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding was always on the court and usually left as the winner in the most critical games. Who could forget the nerve wracking 2009 BBL finals where it went to five games and where Bonn looked like the sure winner and Brandon Bowman was only a few seconds away from having a long 13 hour flight home to Los Angeles and enough time to think of the best title stories, but was denied as Oldenburg swiped away a sure Bonn title winning their first title. Last season both teams battled in the playoffs going to the wire as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg prevailed again in a tight five game series that saw two overtime games that was decided by one point. Fate and basketball lady luck haven´t been on the side of Bonn against Oldenburg in the last years, but overall the Telekom Baskets Bonn have made a name for themselves as not being able to win the big games and always losing in finals the same way the NFL Buffalo Bills have losing four Super Bowls while Bonn have lost five finals and three cup finals. The Telekom Baskets Bonn continue to quietly play superb basketball and are the best team behind the big three of Bamberg, Berlin and Munich while Oldenburg have been struggling as of late and recently fired German head coach Sebastian Machowski who had led them into the Beko BBL final in 2013 and semi´s last season where a rough period quickly replaces past success. However some things never change as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg really have the number of the Telekom Baskets Bonn beating them again in a big game 77-71. The first quarter was very even, but Bonn took control in the second quarter as Lithuanian Tadas Klimavicius got to work scoring eight points inside as Bonn led 43-35. However the tide started to turn in the third quarter as Oldenburg made a huge comeback retaking the lead 57-56 as ex NBA player Casper Ware and ex Bamberg center Philipp Neumann added the mini and giant beast to the court with mid distance shots and put backs. In the fourth quarter, Oldenburg kept the lead and just overpowered Bonn as they missed too easy shots despite doing a great job on the offensive glass. “We were more focused than Bonn and played better defense, our rotations were good and the rest took care of itself. Philipp Neumann sparked us when I missed shots, he cleaned up”, stressed Oldenburg guard Casper Ware. “We shot very bad three pointers, but had Oldenburg under control. Oldenburg fought back and rebounded better and got many fast break points. They stepped up their defense and we didn´t get any more easy looks or baskets. I don´t know if Bonn has a jinx in finals or against Oldenburg, but we just can´t seem to beat them in very important games”, added Bonn guard Andrej Mangold. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were led by Caspar Ware with 14 points. Philipp Neumann added 13 points and seven rebounds. Nemanja Aleksandrov contributed 12 points and five rebounds and Chris Kramer had 11 points. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were led by Benas Veikalas with 17 points. Tadas Klimavicius and Ryan Brooks chipped in with 12 points a piece and Angelo Caloiaro had 10 points.