The return Eurocup game between the Fraport Skyliners and Fiat Turin had two major stories involved that separated 50 years. The one major news story before the game was the return of 78 year old head coach Larry Brown who had been back in the states for a month on account of health issues and had been cleared to return and the other story was a buzzing one of 28 year old ex NBA player Erik Murphy who may never ever be close to being on the shooting level of a Dirk Nowitzki, but knowing the genuine character of the big German, he would surely have praised the American for his almost spotless shooting in the last two games had he witnessed it. “It was good to see coach Brown again on the sidelines. You never want to see a coach or player be out because of health problems. He looked healthy and had high energy. It is always nice seeing someone doing what they love”, stressed ex Chicago Bull Erik Murphy. Murphy hasn´t just been hot in the last 48 hours, but has been severely red hot. He led the Fraport Skyliners to the 83-79 win at home against the Telekom Baskets Bonn where he produced 22 points and then stormed on to the court in Turin and gave an unforgettable Eurocup performance dropping 33 points in the comfortable 85-75 victory. ”We came out ready to play and had a good first half letting the defense set the tone. We were focused and were able to take things away from what they do well. Despite some runs of them and shots made, we were pretty much in control of the whole game”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Erik Murphy.
His two game total stands at 55 points while shooting an amazing 20/26 from the floor.
Murphy´s court the last two days has been like a ocean as he has continued to hit shots with ease as if he was laying on the beach throwingthe ball in the water blindfolded. Murphy who is a very good shooting big man showed that he was worth every penny that Frankfurt pay him and one has to wonder if he found anything extra in the yummy Italian cusine that helped him shoot extra out of the ordinary. “The food is always good in Italy. I had a slice of Pizza Before the game, but that didn´t affect my shooting. My teammates did a good job finding me. Garai Zeeb did a good job also hyping me up for the game and cheering me on. It was one of those shooting days that was fun for me, but also for all watching”, added Erik Murphy. Even after two great Murphy performances, he doesn´t believe like he is the teams first scoring option. “We are a team that concentrate on sharing the ball. We have five to six guys that can score 10 plus points on any given night. Then we may have a guy score 25 points on another night. It always depends on the game. Every player is capable of having a big game. Important is that we always play together”, warned Erik Murphy.
The Fraport Skyliners came into the game having come off a big win against the Telekom Baskets Bonn while Fiat Turin haven´t been playing their best ball especially in the Eurocup where they came into the game sporting an unsatisfactory 0-5 record and had lost by 22 points to Euroleague team Milan. Fiat Turin was without ex NBA player James Michael Mcadoo which put a big void in the paint for them. In the first quarter it was a tight duel even though Frankfurt had the early 10-5 lead, the Italian side fought back with their two americans Tony Carr and ex NBA player Tyshawn Taylor who contributed buckets. On the Frankfurt side they got good team contribution rorm German Marco Voeller who let the name Wolfarth-Bottermann be forgotten for a few minutes as he scored twice as his game from the bench has been eye popping. “Marco has been great for us. He brings toughness and energy and is our most physical player at the moment. He rebounded well and rolled and finished well. We all believe in each other”, warned Erik Murphy. Jason Clark who was carrying a nasty cold around was aggressive from the get go and scored in the paint area and the club got good support from ex St Johns German Richard Freudenberg who knocked down back to back three´s as Frankfurt led 24-21 after 10 minutes. ”Richie is a talented kid. He is young and still learning the game. He plays hard and shoots the ball well. We are always confident that he will make his shots. He is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment and I hope that it will continue”, added Erik Murphy. In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners picked up the aggressiveness on the defensive side while Fiat Turin took a break from defending. Frankfurt was able to keep the lead and get their lead into double figures. They had a good grip on the boards and letting the three ball fly with good accuracy giving the Fraport Skyliners the comfortable 49-36 advantage at the break. “Our defense led to easy offense which helped us get the comfortable lead. We rebounded well and got on transition and didn´t let their defense get set. We made a little run and kept the lead”, said Erik Murphy.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners held their intensity while Fiat Turin couldn´t match it and didn´t execute on a normal basis while the Fraport Skyliners offense continued to roll like a well oiled Formula one Ferrari car that has the healthy lead and will get over the finish line with two to three minutes more than the second car. The Fraport Skyliners continued to do a good job moving the ball around and spreading the floor well while getting good shots and just sharing the ball well. Even if it was Erik Murphy´s night with 33 points, he didn´t force anything, but Frankfurt did a great job keeping everyone involved. Heslip had been kept quiet in the first half, but came more alive in the third quarter while Voeller and Clark continued to remain aggressive and execute at a fine rate. In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners ran a little out of gas as they were outscored 20-13.”Their run was a combination of things. We had some lapses and tended to relax which is human nature when you have a big lead. We also were a bit fatigued having had two games within 48 hours”, stated Erik Murphy. Erik Murphy continued to feast on the poor Fiat Turin defense nailing two three´s back to back as the Italian side obviously had not scouted properly and watched the Bonn game as they also got burned by the pick and pop and after Fiat Turin was able to cut the Frankfurt deficit to 12 points, Canadian Brady Heslip sunk a huge three at the end to seal the win. At the end of the day the Fraport Skyliners finished shooting 54% from the two point area and 42,7% from the three point line while Fiat Turin shot 59% from the two point line and 36% from the three point line. Frankfurt did a great job being able to compensate the injury to Wolfarth-Bottermann again staying consistent on the boards winning that battle 34-23 while coughing up the ball only 13 times. The Fiat Turin American players of Taylor, Rudd, Carr and Wilson combined for 61 points, but a team will need their bench and didn´t get the necessary contribution in vital moments the way Frankfurt did. There also has been a rumor that ex NBA player Tyshawn Taylor´s days are numbered in Turin, but his 18 point effort didn´t seem like he wanted to go anywhere. “I don´t know anything about that rumor. I have known him since I was very young. He is a good player and had a good game for them. He is a quick crafty guard that works hard. He is a jersey kid simply tough”, warned Erik Murphy. The Fraport Skyliners go into the weekend with a two game winning streak and next battle the struggling medi Bayreuth team who have great talent this season, but the chemistry hasn´t panned out and point guard David Stockton hasn´t been ab le to adjust to the BBL style that has effected their offense. Bayreuth have struggled, but they are a talented Team. “Our defense continues to be key for success and it continues to get better. Turning our good defense into offense will make our offense a lot easier getting transition baskets and not letting their defense get set”, warned Erik Murphy