The Fraport Skyliners are in their 20th professional season that has boasted three titles and over the years seen NBA players enter the Fraport arena on a regular basis with the likes of a John Leuer, Nick Johnson, Jiri Welsh, Darius Miller or a Deandre Liggins. But for a real basketball legend to be in the arena is something that doesn´t happen so often as over the years fans saw guys like Dejan Bodiroga, Svetislav Pesic or a Hansi Gnad play or roam on the sidelines. But having that basketball legend in the arena is one thing, but also having a two NBA champion at the same time is something that is as rare as Lebron James losing a one on one duel on the court with anyone. Before any easyCredit BBL team had entered the Fraport arena for the new season, fans were given a super duper treat seeing the first game of the season an international game in Eurocup action against Italian squad Fiat Torino. Fans weren´t only given the experience of watching two time NBA champion James Michael Mcadoo from The Golden State Warriors make his debut in Germany who is related to NBA legend Bob Mcadoo who put up shooting clinics in the 70´s and 80´s on a regular basis, but NBA legend Larry Brown. Brown isn´t a player anymore, but a coaching master mind that is known as one of the greatest basketball teachers of all-time. His NBA consistency speaks for itself as he coached an amazing 27 years in the NBA for teams like Denver, New Jersey, San Antonio, LA Clippers, Indiana, Philadelphia, Detroit, New York and Charlotte. He is also known for turning losing team´s into winning teams which he demonstrated with the Clippers, Spurs and Pacers. His two biggest highlights was winning the 1988 NCAA tournament with Kansas grooming star Danny Manning into a top player and winning the 2004 NBA title with the Detroit Pistons as he got revenge against the Lakers after losing to them in the final in 2001 with the 76ers. One could only be wondering what kind of thoughts Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert had the days leading up to the clash as well as during the game as he must of seemed like a little boy looking up to the Godlike coaching guru. Herbert didn´t go through a hard fought 40 minute battle, but an extremely tight 45 minute duel where he escaped as the Fraport Skyliners surprised Fiat Torino 88-85 in OT. After the huge win a very ecstatic Jason Clark seemed like a little kid after playing pick up with Lebron when he raved about meeting legendary Larry Brown seconds after the huge win. “I told a guy after the game that I got total chills when I talked to him. He shook my hand and said. That was a great game. You’re a hell of a player. Pound for pound he is the greatest coach ever. It was a cool experience, because you don´t play against a legend every day”, stressed ex Georgetown(NCAA) guard Jason Clark. After the big loss, ex NBA player James Michael Mcadoo reflected on the game and showed that he had learned good manners over the years as he accepted the loss like a real winner. “It was a tough game. This was one of those games where you want to come out with that first win. Frankfurt is a great team and played with a lot of desire to win. Even if we haven´t been together that long, at the end of the day it is 5-5. They deserved to win. We will continue to get better the more we play together”, stressed ex North Carolina(NCAA) center James Michael Mcadoo. One of the big winners of the game was ex NBA player Erik Murphy who broke out in the second quarter displaying his precise outside shooting and was relived that his team was able to pull out the win. “This win feels really good. They are very talented, very athletic and well coached. We knew that it would be a battle. Both teams went on a bunch of runs and after 40 minutes, it was 0-0 and we were able to pull it out at the end. We wanted it more. We made mistakes today and will need to clean it up. Our fans had great desire today and gave us a huge boost”, stated ex Chicago Bull Erik Murphy.
The Fraport arena saw a great turn out as many fans stormed into the arena on a Wednesday afternoon as Germany was celebrating it´s unification holiday. Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson will be turning 34 on December 16th, but the American who now calls Alabama home now started off right where he ended last weekend in Ludwigsburg where he had a stellar game despite the loss and going into the Eurocup game one could see that he was extra motivated as he scooped up a Brady Heslip miss and made the put back. For those fans that had forgotten the Coke to help wash down the greasy food and ran to get a nice cold one and came back a minute later suddenly saw Frankfurt down 9-2. Fiat Torino hadn´t been impressed by the Robertson effort and rattled off three straight three´s. Two were made by ex Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv (Israel-Winner League) forward Victor Rudd who relied more on his shot on this night than his athleticism and the other by ex Los Angeles Clipper Jamil Wilson. Clark did rattle home a trey, but the Italian side continued to score with ease as Mcadoo scored on transition and ex NBA player Tyshawn Taylor sped to the rim and finished with his left hand as Fiat Torino led 13-7. However Fiat Torino was scoring, but not generating any real healthy offense as most points resulted from 1-1 play. Fiat Torino were wild at times and allowed Frankfurt back in the game as they went on a 7-0 run to take their first lead 14-13. Canadian sharp shooter Brady Heslip who put up the big goose egg in Ludwigsburg last weekend finally broke the ice hitting his first three which was followed by a Clark lay in and he then executed on a pull up jumper. Then there were three lead changes, but the Italian squad were able to finish with class better as Taylor scored twice as did ex Penn State(NCAA) stand out Tony Carr. Murphy hit a three, but Fiat Torino led 26-19 after 10 minutes. “We didn´t have a good start and didn´t really know what they would do. We had some lapses and they hit three three´s at the start. We battled back into the game”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Brady Heslip. Fiat Torino shot 38% from the two point range and 57% from outside and had 9 rebounds and 0 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot50% form the two point range and 50% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 4 turnovers.
In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners rallied back and both teams were at eye level. One could see that Fiat Torino were still a bit rusty as they hadn´t played an official season game yet and looked more like a pre-season team then a top team. The Fraport Skyliners didn´t waste anytime jumping all over Fiat Torino going on a blistering 8-0 run to recapture the lead 28-27. In the run, it was Murphy connecting twice from the parking lot and ex Alba Berlin guard Akeem Vargas made a lay in. The Frankfurt defense was getting into groove and just making it difficult for the Italian team to wheel and deal in the paint the way that they would have liked. Frankfurt played like a threatened animal while Fiat Torino played with no real urgency. Fiat Torino got the lead back and kept it despite having Vargas control Taylor better as he couldn´t generate any real offense. The Italian squad was going inside more and got success from Mcadoo and Rudd. Despite getting points in the paint, Fiat Torino had problems all day long getting the lob pass in to Mcadoo. If they had been a bit more consistent on this play then they most likely would have won the game. “I didn´t expect Frankfurt to control my low post touches so well and making it so tough. They really scouted us well. They also did a good job slowing down our transition”, stressed 2 time NBA champion James Michael Mcadoo. The Frankfurt defense continued to make it very tough for the Italian team to generate any solid offense and went into the break with a lethal 9-2 run to lead 45-37. In the run Frankfurt got much needed production from Jason Clark who scored twice inside including on transition, a lay in from Murphy and Finish national player nailed a trey. “We figured out how to slow down Mcadoo and Murphy made big shots. A few three´s can change the game and we got going”, stated Brady Heslip. The Fraport Skyliners shot 47% from the two point range and 46% from the three point line and had 22 rebounds and 6 turnovers while Fiat Torino shot 32% from the two point range and 50% from the three point range and had 16 rebounds and 5 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners held the momentum going into the third quarter, but couldn´t hold it down the stretch as they allowed Fiat Torino to hang around and crawl back into the game,. The inside woes of Mcadoo continued in the first few minutes, but he would slowly get going. Heslip hit a pull up jumper and showed that when he has space and has a good look that most times good things will happen as Frankfurt led 47-39. However Fiat Torino went on a quick 6-2 run as Mcadoo hit all three baskets. He showed his whole versatility getting a tap in, dunk and fade away jumper over Murphy. Murphy connected on a hook shot and Frankfurt led 49-45. Frankfurt continued to defend very aggressively and Fiat Torino who seldom finished off any set plays had to continue to rely on 1-1 plays, but couldn´t execute as Frankfurt continued to force them to tough shots. On offense Frankfurt got key baskets from Heslip who dropped a trey and ex Giessen German Marco Voeller made a lay in as Frankfurt led 57-47. However basketball is a game and run and Frankfurt lost their intensity and rhythm and allowed Fiat Torino to hang around going on a crushing 10-0 run to dead lock the game at 57-57. In the run, they got vital aid from Jamil Wilson who dropped two trey´s, Taylor made a runner who had great court vision and knew how to pick his spots well and Carr hit free throws. Carr made a lay in briefly before the buzzer and Fiat Torino led 59-58. “We didn´t move the ball enough during their 10-0 run and we were stagnant. It is always easier to go on transition when you get stops”, added Brady Heslip. “We went back to basics in that run. We played the extra pass and made them defend more and got a better chance to score”, stressed James Michael Mcadoo. Fiat Torino shot 41% from the two point range and 50% from the parking lot and had 25 boards and 11 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 46% from the field and 36% from the parking lot and had 26 boards and 12 rebounds.
The fourth quarter was a real tight affair where no team led by more than 4 points. The Fraport Skyliners led for the majority of the time, but couldn´t win the game on the last possession. Frankfurt played long ball nailing three trey´s to keep the 67-63 advantage. Heslip wasn´t always open so Quantez Robertson filled the void nailing two three´s while Huff also connected. It looked like Frankfurt had control of the game, the momentum and had the energy of the fans on their backs. But as so often is the case, one play can change a game. With Frankfurt on offense, Jason Clark was careless bringing the ball forward and suffered an 8 second violation turning the ball over. This one play seemed to spark Fiat Torino as they went on a 6-0 run to regain the lead 69-67. The Italian side played smart basketball getting a coast to coast lay in from ex Ludwigsburg American Tekele Ctton and another trey from Wilson. However Clark redeemed himself scoring in the paint and making a free throw for the 70-69 Frankfurt lead. At 1.44 of the fourth quarter, Frankfurt led 75-71 as Huff made a tap in and Heslip dropped free throws. After Carr free throws and a Murphy miss, Fiat Torino was very fortunate to get a heads up play from Mcadoo who fired a touch down pass to Taylor to tie the game at 75-75 with 12 seconds to play. Quantez Robertson had the chance to be the hero, but missed on the last shot as he had a good look, but the ball just didn´t want to fall sending the game into OT: “We were disorganized. That was a great play by Mcadoo and Taylor leaked over”, stressed Brady Heslip. “We made a run in the fourth. I hit Taylor who was butt naked. Between the many turnovers and bad shots we took, we just weren´t focused enough to win”, added James Michael Mcadoo. The Fraport Skyliners shot 40% from the two point range and 37% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 15 boards while Fiat Torino shot 40% from the two point range and 46% from outside and had 36 boards and 13 turnovers.
The overtime period experienced 4 lead changes, but the Fraport Skyliners simply executed better on offense and played better defense wanting the win more. Clark and Wilson had their own little shooting clinic as they both hit two shots apiece as Fiat Torino led 80-79. Jason Clark had recovered very well from his bitter 8 second violation turnover mid way through the fourth quarter and got Frankfurt going in the fourth and overtime. After the huge win, he was relieved that the turnover in the fourth quarter didn´t cost Frankfurt the game and didn´t hurt his self confidence. “I wasn´t aggressive enough at that point of the game leading up to the turnover. I knew that a mistake like that could change the game. I didn´t want that mistake to rest on my shoulders. It motivated me more and set me on fire”, added Jason Clark. Murphy and Taylor then traded buckets, but Fiat Torino still led 82-81. Then came a great example of how Fiat Torino had made bad decisions all game long. Taylor made a steal and with a basket would have led by three and he attempted another lob pass to Mcadoo that failed a lesson that wasn´t learned after many failed attempts earlier. Huff punished Fiat Torino with a trey giving Frankfurt the 84-82 lead with 1.32 left and they would never trail again. Frankfurt gave the Italian side no good shots which made Wilson take two tough shots that missed and he coughed up the ball on another possession. Frankfurt retaliated with Bell Haynes and Heslip free throws. Cotton hit a deep trey from the corner with 2 seconds remaining, but is was too little too late as Frankfurt ruined Larry Brown´s debut in Germany 88-85. “We got big stops at the end and made a few more plays than they did”, added Erik Murphy. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Erik Murphy with 19 points. Jason Clark contributed 16 points and Brady Heslip 15 points. Quantez Robertson and Shawn Huff added 14 points apiece. Fiat Torino was led by Jamil Wilson with 19 points. James Michael Mcadoo produced 17 points and Tyshawn Taylor had 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 45% from the two point range and 37% from the three point line and they had 40 rebounds and 17 turnovers while Fiat Torino shot 43% form the two point range and 42% from the three point range and they had 38 rebounds and 16 turnovers.