In the 80´s in the NBA, each teams season game that separated them from the other games was battling against top teams Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers while in the early 90´s and late 90´s, the big draw for each team was when the Chicago Bulls came town especially for the autograph collectors who would never see a Michael Jordan until he was in the arena because he never stayed in the same hotel with his team. Now a days the Cavs and Lebron James and Golden State Warriors with the Splash brothers and Kevin Durant excite the fans most when they come to town while in Europe, the arena´s, players and excitement level may all be a tad less than in the NBA, but in the EasyCredit BBL, there is almost that yearly NBA flair with Brose Bamberg as they are always sporting that ex NBA player like the last two seasons with Kentucky Wild Cat stand out Darius Miller and this growing Euroleague team is the absolute draw in every arena in Germany as the season isn´t complete with having annoyed them at least a bit or having accomplished the impossible sending them home with a loss and being disgruntled. This season, Brose Bamberg haven´t been a one man show at the top, but have had fierce competition from the Rising BBL team ratiopharm Ulm that have surprised the whole league at 19-0 and have snatched away the number one position from freak city, but are still mowing down the BBL teams having a 18-1 record at the moment and have a five game winning streak and are the best ranked defensive team and third best offensive team in the league. The Fraport Skyliners continue to be a team finding itself as they rebounded off a nasty blow out loss in Munich by carving out an impressive 90-80 Champions League win five days ago and are in good position to advance thanks to the Mike Morrison show as he scored a career high 35 points owning the paint area for a day. However in the EasyCredit BBL, rebounding from their tough defeat in Munich wasn´t going to be easy against defending champion Bamberg as they never had a chance on this night as the Fraport Skyliners experienced Black Sunday getting plastered by Brose Bamberg 76-57. Frankfurt started off slow and never got into the game trailing by as much as 20 plus points. They did play a better second half, but had given up too many points in the first half to have any kind of chance. “We lost this game in the first half. Bamberg took us out of our offense. We never got into our sets as one guy always was forced to do it alone as they switched very well on defense. We had no ball movement and Bamberg did what they wanted to on offense as we weren´t on the same page on defense. We played with better intensity in the second half and had a good mentality where we all defended well”, stressed Fraport Skyliner German Stefan Ilzhoefer. For Brose Bamberg it was another normal day at the office as they worked hard to get a big lead and hold it for 40 minutes even if they did suffer very minor lapses in the second half. 2012 NCAA champion Darius Miller of Kentucky was pleased with the victory of his club. “This was a good win for us. Frankfurt is a talented team and it is always hard to play here. We lost here last year and were very focused to win tonight. We were very disciplined on defense and had a normal offensive game attacking whenever it was most advantageous”, said Darius Miller. For Quantez Robertson it was also another normal day at the office as the autograph requests were as never ending as usual after the game even after a loss and one could feel that he took this loss very hard. “Bamberg ran their plays well. We were unable to execute on offense and didn´t talk on defense or rebound the ball well. We also didn´t play tough or together”, added ex Auburn standout Quantez Robertson.
The Fraport Skyliners played in front of a sellout crowd and the first thing that stood out was their untypical black jerseys that they once wore before back in the 2003-2004 season, but this time it was an early promotion for the club´s benefit gala to be held in March where the motto is always come in a black tuxedo and sneakers. The black jersey´s could later have been seen as a bad omen as after 40 minutes they had witnessed their own Black Sunday.
Bamberg got going quickly getting off to a 8-0 lead. They stopped Frankfurt´s first four possessions and on offense got solid support from Miller and German national player Maodo Lo from downtown and ex Alba Berlin forward Leon Radosevic was very aggressive in the early going scoring inside. Frankfurt finally got on the board with rookie Shavon Shields free throws to cut the lead to 8-2. Frankfurt was forced to to much one on one on this day and Shields is the best player on his team that can finish alone and did scoring on a pretty reverse lay up getting his team´s first field goal of the contest at the 5.40 minute mark. Robertson then made one free throw cutting the Bamberg lead to 8-5 on a 5-0 run. However Bamberg´s offense doesn´t get ruffled often and it is only a matter of time before they continue to be a wrecking crew as ex Boston college Eagle Patrick Heckmann connected on a catch and pop trey and Miller hit a 20 footer for the 13-5 Bamberg advantage. Bamberg continued to attack and closed out the first quarter with a strong 13-5 run to lead 26-10.
Bamberg has so many weapons and players come and go during the game and just when one thinks it´s time for a breather, in comes top German national player Daniel Theis who is a beast on the glass as he finished twice with a tip in dunk and a two handed dunk. Latvian national player Jan Strelnieks tested his 41% three point shooting percentage nailing one from the parking lot. “Bamberg did a good job scoring much under the basket. They shot at a high percentage and did a good job switching on defense keeping us out of rhythm on offense”, stressed Stefan Ilzhoefer. The Brose Bamberg were shooting 53% from the field 67% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 18% from the field and 0% form outside. Bamberg had the 9-8 rebound edge and one turnover while Frankfurt had three turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Brose Bamberg continued to dominate the game totally stifling the Fraport Skyliners offense as they were a wall that couldn´t be climbed. Frankfurt actually got on the board first with a Mike Morrison hook shot, but that start didn´t get Bamberg out of their game plan as they continued to attack on both ends and went on an annoying 8-0 run to extend their lead to 34-12. Ex EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-SerieA) forward Leon Radosevic continued to be lethal in the paint as he connected twice and Greek national player Nikolaos Zisis scored on transition. After a Robertson lay in in traffic, then came a frightening moment where Bamberg guard Lucca Staiger lay on the floor for minutes while being treated and was later brought to the hospital with a concussion. Bamberg then displayed fine ball movement as Italian national player Nicolo Mello passed up a good shot for a great shot letting Zisis take the honors netting a trey for the 37-14 Bamberg lead. Then came an extraordinary burst of energy from Mike Morrison and AJ English as the latter found the big man twice in a row with alley-oop dunks cutting the Bamberg lead to 37-18. After a nifty back door pass from ex Marquette (NCAA) American Jerel Mcneal to Theis for the hard two handed jam, it was Shields countering with a tough trey to cut the Bamberg lead to 39-21. Frankfurt lived in little spurts on offense, but couldn´t get consecutive stops and let Bamberg close out the second quarter with an overwhelming 11-4 run to lead 50-25 at the break. In the run, Brose Bamberg was led by Theis´s five points as he continued to be extremely active on the offensive glass coming away with two hard dunks, Mcneal hit a jumper and Zisis connected on free throws. “Bamberg played great defense in the second quarter. They didn´t let us play our game and forced us to too much one on one play. Bamberg have the best defenders in that situation”, added Stefan Ilzhoefer. Brose Bamberg was shooting 59% from the field and 71% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 31% from the field and 11% from the three point line. Bamberg had the 17-12 rebound edge and four turnovers while Frankfurt had five turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners played their best quarter in the third, but were down by so many that it was impossible to make a real dent in the huge Bamberg lead. Bamberg did get on the board first with a pretty Lo 20 footer step back jumper, but Frankfurt struck back with a 6-0 run halting Bamberg on three consecutive possessions. Frankfurt got a hook shot from German Niklas Kiel, a Shields runner and Kwame Vaughn free throws to cut the Bamberg lead to 53-31. Frankfurt played out their possessions better in the third quarter even if there was still an abundance of one on one plays, they executed better. Vaughn who hadn´t had much going on in his offensive game hitting for only 8 points in the game scored on back to back jumpers cutting the Bamberg lead to 58-35. Frankfurt also got a bucket from little used German big man Mahir Agva who got the quick pass from Vaughn.
Ex Iona(NCAA) guard AJ English was also given a welcome to the EasyCredit BBL best team Brose Bamberg as he was totally taken out of the game in the first half, but found some daylight in the stretch run of the third as he nailed a three point bank shot and then connected on a fade away to cut the Bamberg lead to 63-46. English finished with five points, three rebounds and three assists. Lo closed out the third quarter with a lay in as Brose Bamberg led 65-46. “We played better defense in the third quarter. Our defense led to easy buckets on offense. We didn´t need as much set play as our good defense led to transition baskets”, said Stefan ilzhoefer. Brose Bamberg were shooting 57% from the field and 50% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 38% from the field and 15% from the parking lot. Bamberg had the 21-19 rebound edge and both teams had nine turnovers apiece.
In the fourth quarter, there was lees scoring as it seemed like both teams wanted to just get this game over with. Brose Bamberg let their aggressive defense do numbers on Frankfurt stopping their first five possessions, but couldn´t take advantage of it except for a Strelnieks trey. Bamberg was defending hard as always, but they had lost focus on offense not running down their plays for the best shot, but often making inferior decisions taking quicker shots. Finish national player Shawn Huff finally got Frankfurt out of their scoring funk as he nailed back to back buckets cutting the Bamberg advantage to 68-50. Both teams closed out the game with respective runs as Bamberg started off with an uneventful 8-0 run as Lo nailed a trey, Theis scored inside and ex Los Angeles Laker Elias Harris hit free throws as Bamberg was going through crunch-time with the commanding 76-50 lead. Frankfurt closed out the game scoring the last 7 points of the game as Shields hit a three pointer, Robertson nailed free throws and 17 year old German Wunderkind Isaac Bonga dished up the wonderful alley-oop toss to Shields who rammed the ball home ending the game. “I don´t think that we lost focus in the second half. We still moved the ball well and got easy baskets. We also defended well getting the ball into the open floor leading to easy baskets”, commented Darius Miller. “I think that Bamberg let up a bit and didn´t have as good of shot selection. I thought we continued to play good defense”, added Stefan Ilzhoefer. Brose Bamberg was led by Daniel Theis with 16 points and seven rebounds. Janis Strelnieks and Nikolaos Zisis added 12 points apiece and Maodo Lo contributed 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Shavon Shields with 18 points and seven rebounds. Brose Bamberg shot 50% from the field and 41% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 38% from the field and 20% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound duel 30-26, but had 17 turnovers while Brose Bamberg coughed up the ball14 times.