So often in the past years when the playoffs were drawing nearer, the Fraport Skyliners
would go on a few days working vacation in order to do some last minute team building for the crunch-time period of the season. This season the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner went to the tourist infested Mallorca to digest their current two game losing streak that left them shaking their heads after the unexplainable and unacceptable loss to arch rival Giessen 46ers and their crunch-time fall out in Bayreuth. The Fraport Skyliners entered the top game of the season against FC Bayern Munich resting in seventh place and if the playoffs started tomorrow would have been in, but had teams like Bamberg, ratiopharm Ulm, Wurzburg and Giessen breathing heavily down their backs ready to attack as the club has a very difficult rest program. FC Bayern Munich didn´t enter the Fraport arena playing their best basketball either having won two of their last four games and playing a very suspect defense giving up 89 points on average in the last two wins. Their offense has been red hot as they scored 100 points or more in the last three games. FC Bayern Munich came to Frankfurt having a 12-5 overall record and positive 5-3 record in the Fraport arena. The Fraport Skyliners had had some very stellar performances against FC Bayern Munich in their living room in the past and were looking for their fourth win at home and another step toward a playoff spot, but instead saw an 18 point lead dwindle down in the fourth quarter as American guard Braydon Hobbs came from the bench and saved his team with the right kind of playmaking and just organizing the team the right way and had an incredible mix of big shots and handing out dimes leading FC Bayern Munich to an incredible 87-83 victory. For three quarters, it was the Fraport Skyliners playing energized basketball and shooting at a high rate, but were at their limit while FC Bayern Munich played uninspired and at times helpless as if it was a pre season game and were somewhere at 40% of their abilities. That all changed in the fourth quarter as the 2018 easyCredit BBL cup champion made a furious comeback to put another dagger in the playoff hopes of Frankfurt. After the victory, ex NBA player Jared Cunningham who has been playing up and down as of late and came into the game shooting 3/23 from the parking lot in his last nine games and finished with only 4 points was thankful the team could pull out the win. “Frankfurt came out very aggressive and we couldn´t get stops which resulted in them taking the lead. We came out harder in the second half started to make big shots and big plays which helped us get the win”, stressed FC Bayern Munich guard Jared Cunningham. Mr Canada Philip Scrubb had made not only huge shots all game long, but some amazing Steph Curry type shots from seemingly somewhere from the other side of Frankfurt, but when it counted most at the end, he was rejected by Reggie Redding ending the game. After the victory, Scrubb was as always prepared to digest another tough loss in his own living room. “We played well for 35 minutes. We were good for three quarters, but weren´t together in the fourth quarter and lost control. I know this was a tough game to lose, but this game showed that we can play with the best teams in the league. We will take some confidence from this game into the next one”, warned Philip Scrubb.
It is never a surprise when the top game of the season against FC Bayern Munich is sold out as 5,002 patrons came to the Fraport arena on a beautiful warm spring day. For Frankfurt, it was the second visit from Danilo Barthel who developed his game in Frankfurt for 6 years before making the jump to FC Bayern Munich in 2016. Barthel played with a rather ugly face mask and at tipoff was very friendly with his ex teammates and even jogged over to head coach Gordon Herbert for a good luck hand shake. The first few minutes saw two very aggressive teams at the same eye level, but FC Bayern Munich seemed a bit more nervous heaving up uncharachteristic bricks, but Frankfurt couldn´t take advantage of. The game started off well for the Fraport Skyliners as Florida native Mike Morrison tested his 40% free throw percentage and saw nothing but net giving them the first lead 2-0. After 2017 European championships silver medalist Stefan Jovic hit free throws, it was Scrubb who launched a three that saw nothing but net and the 5-2 Frankfurt lead. FC Bayern Munich then would grab their first lead of the game as ex Clemson(NCAA) center Devin Booker made free throws and was served up a beautiful lob pass by Jovic for the hard alley-op jam. Then the teams would exchange four lead changes as rookie Tai Webster made a floater and Wolfarth-Bottermann saw daylight finding room for the crushing two handed dunk while for FC Bayern Munich, it was Jovic making a steal and going coast to coast for the lay in and Devin Booker hitting a 20 footer for the 10-9 Munich advantage. Booker continued to be a menace inside as Cunningham fed him the ball for a devastating one handed dunk as FC Bayern Munich led 12-9.
FC Bayern Munich had the slim lead mainly because they were up and down and their pick and roll execution was a disaster while Frankfurt was playing for their lives staying in the game. Morrison would cut the Munich lead to 12-11 with a pretty left handed tip in dunk. However FC Bayern Munich kept control and just overpowered Frankfurt with their depth as ex Bamberg guard Anton Gavel hit a runner and ex Alba Berlin forward Nihad Djedovic made free throws and a clutch three for the 22-14 lead. The Fraport Skyliners remained close thanks to the incredible shooting of Philip Scrubb. First he drilled home a long trey from nine meters out over Reggie Redding at the shot clock buzzer and later hit a seemingly impossible double pump trey at the buzzer as Frankfurt trailed 22-19. “On that last second shot I took a dribble, but he was in front cutting me off so I made a pump fake and when the guy behind me went up, I waited and shot. I thought we played pretty good defense in the first and made some shots at the end keeping us in the game”, warned Philip Scrubb. FC Bayern Munich was shooting 46% from the field and 20% from outside and had 10 rebounds and three turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 35% from the field and 60% from outside and had 11 rebounds and four turnovers.
In the second quarter the contest became a real dog fight, but the Fraport Skyliners waltzed into the break with the slim 41-37 lead. Both teams had little offensive rhythm in the first few minutes and FC Bayern Munich wasn´t playing their normal dominant game as even ugly air balls reared their head into the game as Djedovic had to attest to. Frankfurt was a one man wrecking crew with Scrubb as he continued to hit tough shots and Webster slowly got going, but there was little team basketball with the Fraport Skyliners, but an increase of individual performances as FC Bayern Munich could control the duo of Scrubb and Webster as the game was deadlocked at 28-28. FC Bayern Munich had received some valuable buckets from Redding and Booker. FC Munich would continue to keep the lead as Booker scored inside again, but not for long. In the last minutes the Fraport Skyliners started to heighten their game and add transition propelling them on a 11-7 run to lead 41-37 at halftime. Ex Dayton(NCAA) standout Jordan Sibert started the run scoring on transition and then Scrubb found ex Auburn(NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson on a back door cut and Frankfurt had retrieved the lead back 34-33. Sibert then made a quick steal in Munich´s end and dropped a huge trey for the 37-33 lead. Webster continued to be lethal with his quickness and penetration making two lay ins, and FC Bayern Munich got back to back lay ins from Jared Cunningham who wouldn´t score again. “We relied a lot on our individual talent. This isn´t always a bad thing, because it lets players play free. We hit some tough shots and played good defense”, added Philip Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 56% from the three point line and they had grabbed 18 rebounds and had 6 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 38% from the field and 14% from the three point line and they had grabbed 19 rebounds an d had 8 turnovers.
Everyone was expecting a brutal and commanding response from FC Bayern Munich in the second half after their less than satisfactory first half, but instead the Fraport Skyliners came out dictating the game and taking control extending their lead into double digits and leading by 14 points after three quarters. The Fraport Skyliners did the unexpected and played aggressor the way everyone expected FC Bayern Munich would going on a 10-4 run to lead 51-41. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners continued to shoot at a very high clip from downtown as Webster and Scrubb dropped trey´s and Wolfart-Bottermann made a turn around shot and Scrubb made free throws. This run was very vital for Frankfurt as their self-confidence was heightened which would carry into the fourth quarter. FC Bayern Munich continued to be somewhere else and their three point shooting was as cold as the top of the Zugspitze mountain in January.
After a Booker lay in who remained one of the only bright spots for FC Bayern Munich, it was Webster and Finish national player Shawn Huff who scored upping Frankfurt´s lead to 56-43. The novice basketball fan never noticed, but for the basketball expert, Braydon Hobbs wearing out the bench for more than 25 minutes was a huge mystery, but finally at the 4.17 minute mark of the third quarter, the Ohio native was lifted into the game. And bang Hobbs gave FC Bayern Munich a new spark leading them on a mini 4-0 run to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 56-47 as ex Alba Berlin forward Reggie Redding served up a dime to Booker for the ally-op dunk and then made a lay in after Booker´s offensive rebound led to a shovel pass for the assist. However despite this little burst of energy by the guests, the Fraport Skyliners closed out the third quarter with a commanding 9-4 run to lead 65-51 after three quarters. Webster continued to lead Frankfurt achieving two baskets, Huff made a turn around shot and Scrubb once again broke out another shot for the highlight reel as he gave Reggie Redding a “in your face” moment draining a trey. Scrubb makes it look so easy and there is no other shooter in the easyCredit BBL that can hit tough shot after tough shot the way he does. Big German talent Isaac Bonga closed out the third quarter with a monster block on ex Chalon center Devin Booker. “Munich couldn´t buy a three. They aren´t really a three point shooting team. We contested their shots well and rebounded well. A team as good as them will eventually hit shots and did in the fourth”, stated Philip Scrubb. “Hobbs came in and got us going. You can´t control what coach odes concerning why he came in so late. He really stepped it up and started to make big plays”, added Jared Cunningham. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 49% from the field and 47% from the parking lot and hauled down 27 rebounds and had 8 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 37% from the field and 9% from the parking lot and hauled down 27 rebounds and had 10 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, FC Bayern Munich would trail by as much as 18 points, but then it was Braydon Hobbs who had moved up the basketball ladder in Germany the last years from the Pro A in Nurnberg via Giessen to FC Bayern Munich would lead the come back charge. The Fraport Skyliners got on the board first with a 5-0 run as Scrubb made free throws and Sibert dropped another trey and would finish with 8 points after two goose egg games extending the Frankfurt lead to 69-51 and for some in the Fraport arena, the game was decided.
But it wasn´t as Hobbs led FC Bayern Munich on a key 9-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 69-60. In the run Redding scored back to back baskets as their press was annoying Frankfurt and ex Bamberg center Maik Zirbes scored inside and Hobbs hit a trey. Webster continued to be in the offensive zone as he continued to create shots for himself and buried a jumper for the 71-60 lead. However FC Bayern Munich continued to chip away at the Frankfurt lead going on a 16- 5 run to dead lock the game at 76-76. Hobbs organized the FC Bayern Munich offensive something they lacked badly in the first half and his quick paced decision making was something Frankfurt couldn´t come to terms with. 2017 European championships silver medalist Vladmir Lucic was huge in the run netting 7 points including two buckets inside as Frankfurt was a step behind as his quickness was deadly. It didn´t help Frankfurt that Wolfarth-Bottermann very much hurt his 55% free throw shooting coming into the game as he missed two in a row for the third time of the game as he was 0/6. FC Bayern Munich continued to get key baskets as their offense was rolling now as Booker and Redding traded lay ins and Hobbs made the deadly trey to tie the game at 76-76. “Hobbs turned the game around making big plays. He is so talented. It is a sign of a good player when he can come into a game after two and a half quarters and take over the game”, added Philip Scrubb. Morrison gave Frankfurt the 78-76 lead with a hard two handed dunk, but FC Bayern Munich retaliated with a big trey from Jovic as Hobbs registered the assist. “I´m not sure why I came in so late, but I knew that I had to be ready. I just try to do anything that will help my team win. If it means scoring, passing or playing defense. I didn´t play my best defense today”, stressed Braydon Hobbs. Frankfurt didn´t give up continuing to be aggressive and match FC Bayern Munich´s intensity as the Fraport arena was cooking with excitement and energy as Webster made a shot for the 81-79 lead. However FC Bayern Munich then came and made the kill closing out the game with a 8-2 run. Key was Jovic who was extra aggressive making a runner to tie the game at 81-81. Then he sealed the win with a trey from the corner as Booker was incredibly unselfish giving up an easy lay up for the trey attempt that saw nothing but net. FC Bayern Munich heightened their defensive pressure as Scrubb missed two shots. Lucic hit 4 free throws and Redding blocked Scrubb´s last attempt to end the game. “We played better defense and didn´t want to give up our #1 position in the standings. Our press was big and we made big plays that they couldn´t capitalize on”, added Jared Cunningham. “They are a good team and they started to make shots. If you let a good team like them go on a run, you won´t win. We had a hard time stopping their momentum. We played too passive in the run and tried to run out the clock instead of staying aggressive”, warned Philip Scrubb. FC Bayern Munich was led by Vladimir Lucic with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Devin Booker added 19 points and 8 rebounds while Reggie Redding added 12 points and Stefan Jovic 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Tai Webster with 32 points and Phiip Scrubb added 23 points. FC Bayern Munich shot 48% from the field and 29% from outside and got 37 rebounds and had 13 boards while the Fraport Skyliners shot 47% from the field and 42% from outside and got 34 rebounds and had 13 turnovers.