Sometimes things happen on the basketball court that one wouldn´t necessarily have thought they could have happened. Who would have thought that the Boston Celtics wouldn´t be able to give the Milwaukee Bucks a better run for the money in the playoffs with a Kyrie and Gordon Hayward? Kyrie was there some of time while Hayward was down some Mormon trail in Utah instead of going down the Celtics trail. Ok so the huge rise of EWE Baskets Rashid Mahalbasic has been a refreshing trend in the last two seasons, but who really would have expected him to achieve four triple doubles in one season? Not many, because it has been something as rare in the BBL as it is expecting Rickey Paulding to retire anytime soon. With Cinderella team Rasta Vechta, their feat of beating Freak City and putting them shamelessly into summer vacation was simply incredible, but also at the same time surprising concerning the circumstances. Had everybody been on board going into the Bamberg series, then Rasta Vechta would have been the clear favorite, but instead they arrived in the show down without glue guy Seth Hinrichs, vastly improving big man Clint Chapman and the durable and versatile Tyrone Nash. Instead of being on the next Delta airlines flight to Milwaukee to get back home to Waukesha to tell nonending stories about his incredible season, TJ Bray is still in Germany with one basketball slipper on and ready to try for the next upset against the mighty FC Bayern Munich. Rasta Vechta never lost their style against Bamberg, but played their game until the buzzer and showed amazing fighting qualities for 40 minutes game in and game out that in a way was unhuman. No disrespect to Will Cummings, because he is a great player and was MVP worthy, but the two real MVP´s are TJ Bray and Austin Hollins. Without these two incredible players, Rasta Vechta would just have been an average team and not in the playoffs. A Pedro Calles would still have been able to perform his brilliant basketball knowledge without them and reached many, but the success just wouldn´t have been there. The incredible role model effort of Bray and Hollins sparked their team to extra ordinary abilities. The season of Rasta Vechta has to be classified as one of the BBL´s most incredible team feats in the last 20-30 seasons. There has never ever been anything like it and probably won´t happen again unless Calles coaches a another organization like a Vechta. In 2002-2005 you had the big development of the Artland Dragons and Chris Fleming with the eccentric, but valuable Michael Jordan and the incredible 2006-2007 season of Ludwigsburg, but nothing has matched what Rasta Vechta does. But can they do it again this time against the best team FC Bayern Munich? Most likely not, but if Bray arrives in game one wearing a super man cape, then anything is possible and I´m sure even Marko Pesic will show a smile. Rasta Vechta will moreover need Steph Curry and a superman cape for any miracles to happen.
FC Bayern Munich come into this very interesting semi final series having swept the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig 3-0. Some may have been expecting serious Munich routes over Braunschweig, but the underdogs played them hard in the three game series losing on average by 10 points per game. In game one, FC Bayern Munich won 70-59 and only one player reached double figures in scoring with ex NBA player Derrick Williams with 12 points. But 11 of the 12 players scored. Braunschweig had three guys in double figures with a potent game from Shaquille Hines with 20 points and 15 points from Deandre Lansdowne. FC Bayern Munich won the rebound duel 37-29. Neither team shot that great, but Munich just made more key plays down the stretch and allowed the Braunschweig bench to only 10 points. In game two, FC Bayern Munich prevailed 84-74. This time Munich had five guys in double figures and were led by Derrick Williams with 17 points. Braunschweig got a huge game from German Christian Sengfelder with 28 points, but once again their bench stunk giving only 4 points. FC Bayern Munich won the rebound battle again 35-31. Braunschweig did a great job coughing up the ball only 5 times, but couldn´t take advantage of their six extra opportunities. In game three FC Bayern Munich closed out the series at home in unspectacular fashion winning 87-77. FC Bayern Munich had five guys in double figures led by German national player Danilo Barthel with 16 points. Braunschweig had three guys in double figures with Christian Sengfelder with 18 points and Shaquille Hines added 17 points. The bench contributed only 11 points. Both teams were firing away combining for 29 three´s while FC Bayern Munich easily controlled the boards again 36-29. The key for the FC Bayern Munich series win was the boards and just doing the needed to win. It seemed like FC Bayern Munich was conserving their energy for the rest of the playoffs.
Rasta Vechta and Brose Bamberg had the much more exciting series as each game was like a game seven type atmosphere. Rasta Vechta had their biggest achievement in their history beating Brose Bamberg 3-1 and proving that sometimes the seemingly impossible is possible. Rasta Vechta won game one in the Rasta Dome 96-85 and demonstrated early that they had their A game despite having severe injury woes. Rasta Vechta hit a massive 18 three´s led by Austin Hollin´s 8 trey´s and 31 points. Bamberg wasn´t too shabby themselves with 13 three´s. Rasta Vechta knuckled down and were brilliant on the glass outrebounding Bamberg 35-24 with 13 offensive boards. Rasta Vechta had three Germans in the starting lineup that combined for 43 points. The Rasta Vechta bench only had 25 minutes from two players combined. Brose Bamberg had 21 points from ex NBA player Elias Harris and 18 from ex Boston College guard Tyrese Rice. Bamberg played an inexcusable defense. Fans saw the best game in game two as Bamberg survived at home winning 102-98 in OT. Brose Bmaberg got big games form Augustine Rubit with 31 points while Tyrese Rice added 26 points. Rasta Vechta got a huge game from TJ Bray with 29 points and 12 dimes while Josh Young had his best game in the BBL with 28 points off the bench in 27 minutes. Brose Bamberg did a better job controlling the boards 39-27. Rasta Vechta defended with heart and forced Bamberg to 19 turnovers which they couldn´t take advantage of. This is a game that Rasta Vechta could have won. In game three Rasta Vechta returned home and took the 2-1 series lead disposing of Brose Bamberg 87-78. Once again Brose Bamberg was unable to take advantage of the slim seven man rotation as Austin Hollins poured in 21 points and TJ Bray added 13 points and 13 assists. Brose Bamberg spread the scoring around well with four guys in double figures led by Elias Harris with 16 points. Bamberg had the slim 30-29 rebound edge, but all in all Rasta Vechta was the better crunch-time team. In game four Rasta Vechta closed out the series with a 90-86 victor. This was a game that Bamberg led for a long time, but could never shake the Cinderella team allowing them back into the game. Bray and Hollins had their typical strong games combining for 37 points, but it was the German big man duo of Kessens and Herkenhoff who were brilliant combining for 33 points. Rasta Vechta got the best of Brose Bamberg on the boards 34-31 and secured 12 offensive rebounds. Austin Hollins was the hero at the end with the series winning steal. Rasta Vechta´s annoying press defense gave Brose Bamberg fits all series long as they couldn´t make the proper adjustments. This Vechta series win was a great example of what heart and will can do to the confidence of a team that is undermanned. Brose Bamberg was never able to take advantage of Vechta injuries and make the right adjustments. In game 4, it didn´t seem lie Bamberg really wanted to win as much as Rasta Vechta.
This series is about as Davey and Goliath as it will ever get. The Big mighty FC Bayern Munich with 20 plus million budget against the tiny Rasta Vechta which has a small budget that probably would pay for four FC Bayern Munich players at the most. FC Bayern Munich won the first game 79-66 at home. Danilo Barthel led all scorers with 23 points and FC Bayern Munich dominated the boards 33-22. Interesting to note Rasta Vechta´s bench outscored Munich´s 17-15. In the return game, Rasta Vechta easily won 93-75 at home. Rasta Vechta played an impressive offensive game hitting for 14 three´s winning the rebounding battle and forcing the guests to 20 turnovers. But Chapman, Hinrichs and Nash combined for 34 points that will be missing this time. Even with Hinrichs and Chapman back, the FC Bayern Munich depth will be too much This is a series where only FC Bayern Munich can lose almost no matter what they do If they win a tight series, the bashing will be about how they were unable to really destroy a depleted team. Rasta Vechta can go into the series with no pressure as they have nothing to lose. FC Bayern Munich will only be really seen as the winner if they can more or less easily dispose of Rasta Vechta. Of course Rasta Vechta have been doing amazing things all season long and beat FC Bayern Munich once, but can they do it again with a short rotation. They may manage one win, but can they seriously beat FC Bayern Munich in a five game series where they don´t have home court advantage? FC Bayern Munich have to wear down Rasta Vechta from the start and dominate inside. Rasta Vechta will continue to play their game of pressuring the guards early and hoping for steals and as many easy points as possible. Bray and Hollins should continue to play their amazing games, but how much longer can the team energy of Rasta Vechta survive? FC Bayern Munich have to take advantage of this and will if they want to win this series without problems.