The up and down roller coaster season of the Fraport Skyliners continues as they just are unable to spruce up a massive run that will help their playoffs chances more. After a three game winning streak where they beat BG Goettingen, Rasta Vechta and Giessen followed two loses in a row against Alba Berlin and last weekend against Braunschweig. The road to the playoffs doesn´t get any easter now on easter weekend as they had to tackle new club Niners Chemnitz and 72 hours later will have a date with surprise team Crailsheim Merlins. The Fraport Skyliners had won the first meeting over the Niners Chemnitz on the road winning 80-73. Back in December, Frankfurt did a good job having four players in double figures led by American explosive scorer Matt Mobley who poured in 29 points in the win. Frankfurt also won the rebound duel, hit 12 three´s and took better care of the ball. In the return date in Frankfurt they would have no such luck as they were smothered by the extra extra pass by the Niners Chemnitz 89-76. The big difference between the Niners Chemnitz and Fraport Skyliners is simply that Chemnitz play consistent ball and the Fraport Skyliners don´t. “Our big problem this season has been that we aren´t consistent at both ends of the court. We will look good winning some games and then lose a couple of games. We often were too fast on our offensive execution instead of slowing it down while on defense we were a step behind on some plays”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson. A big strength of the Niners Chemnitz is their ball movement, but on defense they also understood how to compensate for Matt Mobley´s 27 points. “We came out and brought energy and moved the ball well. We played good defense and we knew that Mobley would get hot so we controlled the rest”, stated ex NBA player George King.
The Fraport Skyliners once again were without point guards Joe Rahon and Konstantin Konga which put the severe playmaking load on the shoulders of rookie Jon Axel Gudmundsson who at times was overwhelmed by the task. But in the early going the Fraport Skyliners didn´t have any execution problems as they stormed out on a 13-5 lead. Ex St Bonaventure great Matt Mobley as usual carried the load unleashing three brutal three pointers. Fraport Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson got the Frankfurt offense going with a steal and lay up and dished out an assist to ex Rasta Vechta center Michael Kessens for the bucket. The Niners Chemnitz began slow, but soon would find themselves going on a 5-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 13-10. Canadian rookie Isaiah Mike got consecutive buckets with a lay in and massive dunk as he flew through the lane. The guests didn´t try their luck from outside, but were dominating the paint area. “That dunk from Miles was pretty cool. When you don´t slide over to help then a dunk like that can happen. We were inconsistent on defense”, stated Quantez Robertson. Frankfurt kept the 20-14 advantage getting buckets inside from Mobley and 2019 NBBL champion Bruno Vrcic, but the Niners Chemnitz had achieved an offensive groove and got key baskets from German Jonas Richter who gave the team a lot of energy. Frankfurt couldn´t hold the lead as the Niners Chemnitz unleashed a furious 10-3 lead in the last minutes to lead 24-23 after 10 minutes. In the run, Chemnitz received unbelievable production from ex Pro B player Terrell Harris who pulled a Mobley scoring all 10 points including two trey´s. The ex Rostock guard had scored 22 points in the first game against Frankfurt and was motivated again too do severe damage. “We were too late on defense and not aggressive enough. They made tough shots which got them going”, said Quantez Robertson.
Despite the Fraport Skyliners cutting the Chemnitz lead down to 6 points in the second quarter, the Niners still controlled the game and would lead by as much as 13 points before the break. Harris came out hot in the second quarter and rapidly carried his club on a 10-3 run to extend the Niners Chemnitz lead to 34-26. Harris scored the first two buckets and then was followed by two three´s from ex Pro B player Virgil Matthews and Isaiah Mike. The Niners Chemnitz fed off Terrell Harris´s energy and their aggressive defense led Frankfurt to sloppy offense. A Quantez Robertson alley-oop dunk off an inbounds pass from Gudmundsson momentarily stopped the run. Robertson isn´t the youngest anymore and gives up dunks at times for the lay up which he displayed in the first quarter on the game´s opening field goal, but on this alley-oop, he jumped again to get the dunk. “Everybody still thinks I can´t jump. I just don´t do it all the time. For an alley-oop dunk, I have to dunk”, stated Quantez Robertson. The Niners Chemnitz continued to execute with ease and went on a 7-0 run to lead 41-28. In the run the guests continued to get easy baskets inside as King made a reverse lay up and Mike scored twice. Frankfurt missed free throws and 2015 Boston Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton who reminds one a bit of Julius Jenkins with his hair and release sunk a trey for the 44-31 lead. Frankfurt didn´t allow the Niners Chemnitz to totally break away as they cut into the lead getting two three´s from Mobley and a lay in by Robertson. But Chemnitz retained the comfortable 51-40 lead at the break getting a trey from King and a three point play by Harris. “We didn´t get enough stops and let them get out on the break”, expressed Quantez Robertson.
In the third quarter the difficulty of being consistent remained with the Fraport Skyliners. They did cut down the Niners lead to six points, but couldn´t buckle down on defense and saw their deficit get back to double digits as they trailed 68-59 after three quarters. The Fraport Skyliners began the second half going on a 7-3 run to trail only 54-48. They were more calm in their offensive sets and were able to execute better. They got lay in´s from Gudmundsson and Kessens and a three pointer from Rasheed Moore who´s overall versatile game hasn´t been on display as much as in the past as he looks to be a spot up shooter. Just as quickly as Frankfurt could escape out on a run, so could the guests as they went on a 7-0 run thwarting Frankfurt´s comeback attempt. In the run the guests profited from their beautiful ball movement finding guys cutting inside as Mike and Harris scored while Thornton dropped another trey for the Niners 61-48 advantage. The NIners Chemnitz continued to supply the pressure as they got clutch three´s from King and Mike while Frankfurt got some baskets inside from Moore and Vrcic, but the Niners Chemnitz still led comfortably 68-54. “We came out strong in the first four minutes. We got stops and easy baskets. We didn´t allow them to have confidence”, stressed ex Los Angeles Laker Jonathan Williams. “We gave up too many open shots and let them get out on transition too much”, added Quantez Robertson.
The Niners Chemnitz continued to play their game in the fourth quarter and extend their lead to 20 points. The Fraport Skyliners were able to go on a run late, but it was all too late as they couldn´t get over the hump with their typical catch up basketball. The Niners Chemnitz stormed out on the court and unleashed a 8-2 run to lead 76-56. They continued to display fine outside shooting as King and Thornton hit. Thornton also was aggressive with his drive making a pretty finger tip roll in high off the glass. Frankfurt continued to have no offense except for Matt Mobley who ran around the court as if he owned it scoring all 8 points to cut the Niners lead down to 78-64. The game had run after run and now it was time for the Niners as they went on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 85-64. German Jonas Richter got going again scoring twice while Thornton didn´t loose his touch nailing another trey. Sometimes their offense looked so easy as if they were taking a Sunday stroll on the beach. They didn´t execute the extra pass to perfection but the extra extra pass. “We are a team of unselfish players. Coach always preaches to look for the better shot”, added ex NBA player Jonathan Williams. At times their ball movement reminded one of the Fraport Skyliners excellent sharing of the ball in the 2015-2016 season where they captured the Fiba Europe Cup. “When guys get beat off the dribble, they can make the right pass. For fans it´s nice to look at, but not for us. It took a lot out of us”, stated Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners closed out the game strong with a 12-4 run making the final result of 89-76 not look as bad. In the run, Frankfurt got good production from Gudmundsson who dropped two three´s, ex rasta Vechta center Kamari Murphy made an alley-oop dunk and Robertson and Moore iced free throws. “We kept pushing and kept the lead. We knew that our lead could evaporate any time so we kept scoring and getting stops”, added Jonathan Williams. “We were always a step behind and didn´t communicate well on defense”, said Quántez Robertson. The Niners Chemnitz were led by Terrell Harris with 21 points. Isaiah Mike added 18 points and Marcus Thornton 14 points while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Matt Mobley with 27 points. Jon Axel Gudmundsson contributed 13 points and Rasheed Moore 10 points. The Niners Chemnitz shot 57% from the field and 50% from outside and had 32 rebounds and 13 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 46% from the field and 38% form outside and had 26 rebounds and 13 turnovers.