What do the Dragons Rhondorf have to do to get a complete team effort when it counts most now in the basketball life changing 2019 playdowns? They could use a huge 25 point game from one of the German role players to get them to life or even a tirade from a Zygimantas Riauka to get his teammates going which is something that would be interesting to watch. Something has to start to shake now for the Dragons Rhondorf or next season could be a totally new experience. How about making a new starting line up something they delved into recently bringing the double double beast Riauka from the bench or heck how about sneaking a TJ Dileo onto the court sporting some kind of a carnival mask as his added leadership skills could do wonders for a team that is falling fast. Next season the Dragons Rhondorf will be driving towards Frankfurt on the A-66 and have the city skyline always getting bigger and bigger as they roll closer and closer, but the adrenaline and tension of the up coming game might just not be as nerve wracking as this season, but shortly before the so called destination of the BCM gym, the team van might take a turn onto the A-5 highway and instead of heading to battle Pro B club Fraport Skyliners Juniors and their refreshing talents of Len Schoormann, Maxi Begue and aaron Kayser could be chugging towards the small towns Kronberg or Langen as instead of battling for standings points in the German Pro B, could be battling for a new identity a step down in the Regionaliga. Last weekend, the Dragons Rhondorf played their first of six playdown games and gave up valuable ground in the playdown standings losing a bitter affair in Cologne 77-68.
The season of the Dragons Rhondorf was on the line going into the playdowns and with every new loss, their Pro B future continues to get a bit more clouded like an Oklahoma citizen trying to find their way in a wind storm and more complicated as the only thing that counts now are wins and not excuses. One could have thought that going into the game against the RheinStars, they had more than learned from their annoying and embarrassing loss at home shortly before Christmas 89-85, a game they should of won, but when it came down most to getting a win they couldn´t produce. Bitter also was that they had won their only meeting in Cologne early in the season 77-67 and they must of gone into the game with some kind of self confidence. Back on November 10th, 2018 they played an all-around sound game and the way they should play in these so critical playdowns. They had balanced scoring something that has been a huge sore point this season as four guys scored in double figures, had a huge grip on the rebounding winning that with ease and hitting seven three´s and playing good defense. In their second go around in Cologne there was nothing of that. The only bright spot in Cologne yesterday were their two stars Zygimantas Riauka and Kwan Waller who did serious damage, but that was it. Ok so a James Harden is able to single-handendly win a game, but then again who risks and has the balls to take 35-40 shots a game. Not too many. Even the fine oiled ship of the Golden State Warriors can´t only rely on a Steph Curry for the heroics and need other heads to step up. Even NBA super stars like a Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will have off nights in the scoring department, but then players like Kevon Looney or a Jonas Jerebko have the talent and wit to come forward with the needed input. Those kind of role players that can consistently score this season have been missing for Rhondorf.
In the so crucial Playdown game one for the Dragons Rhondorf, they played a sound first half in Cologne having the 39-35 lead at the half or was it so sound? When you have two Pro B superstars with a Riauka and Waller, they can definitely dominate a half, but a whole game? In the Pro B you simply need more than two guys that can score. The turning point of the game came in the third quarter as the RheinStars Cologne took off on a 24-10 run and would never look back. At the end of the day one won´t remember the stellar play of the Riauka and Waller who combined for an overwhelming 59 points on 47% shooting from the field. What more do these two guys have to do to get their team the win? Riauka was in massive beast mode giving those Shaq like stats from his hey day with 27 points and 23 boards, 2 assists and 3 steals and 6 offensive rebounds while Waller stroked home 32 points and had that Harden like shot selection with 34 “let me fire away ok, if no one else will” and also added 3 assists and 4 steals. But that was it. Back in the first meting in Cologne in November, there was so much more balance in the attack as Riauka and Waller combined only for 23 points while their steady teammates combined for 54 points. Just getting half of that contribution from the team per game now in the playdowns would be like a miracle. In the loss in Cologne on Saturday, the team got a pathetic measly 9 points from the rest of the team. With team production like that, any team except for maybe the Golden State Warriors will always have problems winning the game. The Dragons Rhondorf didn´t leave Cologne totally without bright signs, but then again all the negative stats that they produced must have been enough for head coach Thomas Adelt to decline from having anything yummy on Sunday as he must of lost his appetite. Rhondorf had lost just about every stat to the RheinStars. Cologne shot better from the field and from outside as Rhondorf countered at 38% and 14% while they were also crippled under the boards losing the effort fight 57-45. The only positive stats was taking care of the ball as they only suffered 5 turnovers and were aggressive on defense with 12 steals and forcing the opponent to 16.
But the big difference and biggest handicap for the Dragons Rhondorf has simply been the needed production from their German role players that have lacked the consistency that the Boston Celtics haven´t been able to handle this season. Cologne best player is American Tucker Haymond who has had Rhondorf´s number all season long averaging 25 points per game in all three games, but at least they get sound production from many players. The club got 10 points from German Benedikt Van Laack and 9 points from Jan Zimmermann. Jan who? He is a 28 year old Regionalliga journey man with teams like Baskets Ludenscheid or SG Sechtem 1971 who has found a second life with the RheinStars in the Pro B giving needed support from the bench. It also didn´t hep Rhondorf´s fortune that ex player Thomas Michel added 13 points. That is the big difference. Rhondorf need more production from the guys that can do it like Julian Jasinki, Yannick Knneesch and Alex Moeller, but for some reason can´t now when it counts most. A big disappointment has been 36 year old Regionalliga star Anish Sharda who never averaged less than 18,9ppg in the Regionalliga in the last four years. He proved on many occasions in the Pro B in Mainz, Langen and Hanau that he can be that double figures scorer, but with Rhondorf is averaging 6,5ppg, 2,5rpg and 2,5apg which is simply too little when a club is treading water to stay in the Pro B. The guy can play, but hasn´t broken out the way everyone had wanted. Double bitter also was that the Dragons Rhondorf could have made valuable ground on their biggest Playdown opponent Wurzburg, because they lost against BBC Coburg. Instead of continuing to have that head to head battle with Wurzburg, they now are staring into the rear view mirror of the RheinStars that have given up the cellar position and have one win more than Rhondorf. There are 5 games left and the Dragons Rhondorf desperately need a win next weekend at home against ex top coach Eric Detlev and Wurzburg. Rhondorf had a 1-1 record this season, but the good news is that they won the last meeting at home 73-61 a few weeks ago giving one of their best performances of the season. The Dragons Rhondorf need a win this weekend period. They are treading water now and with a loss and a Cologne win most likely will sink into the Regionalliga.