Sometimes things can change drastically 180 degrees from one season to another. One year ago the Telekom Baskets Bonn had missed the playoffs again and were sulking in their own pity. Bring in a new coach and little known point guard and fast forward one year and all of a sudden the basketball world is incredibly jolly in Bonn. After a sweep against the always ambitious and pesky Hamburg Towers, the Telekom Baskets Bonn now met the always annoying FC Bayern Munich. They may have lost the first regular season game by 19 points, but they stormed back in the return game and offered a mind boggling 35 point shell shocking that had most Bon fans wondering did that just happen? If that wasn’t the perfect omen for game one against FC Bayern Munich. The Bavarian club was also coming off a sweep of the Niners Chemnitz, but on this untypically cooler late May evening, it would be no one sided affair but a real slugfest for 25 minutes as fans saw real gritty playoff basketball. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were able to cling along for a half, but in the second half lost their consistency little by little and then gave up a mammoth run in the fourth quarter as FC Bayern Munich marched to the 80-68 win. In some gyms, certain players would be booed after a performance like that, but not in Bonn, where the die hard fans celebrated their hero’s as if they had just won. Ex Missouri Southern State University guard Skyler Bowlin who is playing his 11th professional season put up the big goose egg, but was very professional explaining between autographs why Bonn couldn’t win game one. ‘They are a Euroleague team for a reason. They make everything difficult for you. They push you into mismatches and then punish you. They have many options to score and beat you 1-1. They also punished us down low and found options to score or make the right pass’, said ex Jena guard Skyler Bowlin.
The first five minutes of the first quarter was a real battle in the trenches as missed shots and extreme aggressive defense made the game look like a high scoring ice hockey game. FC Bayern Munich got out of the gates storming taking the quick 6-1 advantage. It didn’t help the Bonn cause that head coach Tuomas Iisalo was also hit with a technical foul. Munich pushed the ball inside and also had to work for everything as Bonn defended with high class. Ex Tuebingen center Augustine Rubit and ex Alba Berlin center Leon Radosevic scored. Munich did a great job making offensive life extreme difficult for BBL MVP Parker Jackson-Cartwright and walking bucket Javontae Hawkins who had less touches and little room to operate. But Iisalo then made the right switch inserting ex Wurzburg guard Tyson Ward and ex Fraport Skyliner center Leo Kratzer who turned the game around going on a 8-2 run to grab their first lead 9-8. In the run, Bonn got easy baskets as the pick and roll worked and Tyson Ward and Kratzer harmonized nicely. The big German scored twice in the zone and Ward scored on transition. Both teams had found their rhythm and there would be three more lead changes until the end. FC Bayern Munich got some key baskets from ex Ohio State big Deshaun Thomas and German national player Andreas Obst for the 12-9 lead. Bonn regained the lead back 13-12 as Lithuanian shooter Saulius Kulvietis scored from outside. Soon parker Jackson-Cartwright made his first basket with a floater, but FC Bayern Munich led 18-16 after 10 minutes as Andreas Obst connected as when open will drain the three as easily as Steph Curry blindfolded. FC Bayern Munich had a pitiful 8 turnovers and Bonn only 1, but they couldn’t capitalize on it. The guests had great shot selection and were shooting 70% from the field and 50% from outside and had the 11-6 rebound edge. ‘They hit us first and we hit us second. That is how the game goes at times’, stressed Skyler Bowlin.
The second quarter continued to be a tight rope battle as no team could get away and there were 5 lead changes. Parker Jackson-Cartwright began the second quarter with a lay in as his quickness was challenged by the keen rotating of the Munich defense. But ex Iowa State (NCAA) guard Nick Weiler-Babb answered with a clutch trey for the 21-20 Munich lead. Munich at times were making it so tough for themselves seemingly trying to find the more difficult solution trying to make those tough Rondo passes through the zone instead of making it easier which led to turnovers and the game remaining close. Both teams then traded baskets and leads as ex Fraport Skyliner Michael Kessens showed his brute scoring inside as did Radosevic as the guests led 23-22. Munich then got another clutch basket from Weiler-Babb as Munich led 25-22. Jackson-Cartwright and Hawkins were under control and seemingly on a leash controlled by the guests as they could muster little scoring power. But luckily for Bonn came the emergence of American Tyson Ward who has had a difficult season having a smaller role from the bench. But he made the most of it coming into the game and scoring three buckets in a row giving Bonn the lead back 29-27. Ward is one of those players that can find a variety of ways of scoring and did unleashing his mid range game including a pretty turn around shot in the post. Bonn’s offense was working better and they were getting easier shots and executing at a better rate, while FC Bayern Munich continued to cough up the ball too often. The Telekom Baskets Bonn would not relinquish the lead in the first half again as Kulvietis nailed another three pointer and Hawkins scored his first basket of the game right before the break as FC Bayern Munich moped back to the dressing room trailing 35-33. ‘We did a good job searching for the mis matches and Ward was huge for us. He made some really tough shots in the post’, stated Skyler Bowlin. Munich’s shot percentages went down while Bonn’s continued to be inferior despite having the lead. The guests continued to have the overwhelming rebound edge 22-13 and had an incredibly massive turnover number at 14 while Bonn did a great job taking care of the ball with 3 turnovers but weren’t rewarded with the bigger lead.
In the third quarter the tide of the game slowly began to shift in the direction of FC Bayern Munich as their offense continued to roll while the Telekom Baskets Bonn couldn’t execute the way that they wanted to. But for the first 5-6 minutes, the Telekom Baskets Bonn still were offering a tight affair. There would be 5 more lead changes as Bonn continued to stay with the guests. Hawkins got Bonn going right away draining a three pointer for the 38-33 lead. But basketball wouldn’t be basketball without runs and that is exactly what FC Bayern Munich did exploding for 7 unanswered points leading 40-38. FC Bayern Munich did a great job in this phase being patient and moving the ball around great which resulted in good shots and execution. Weiler-Babb dropped a pull up jumper, Thomas a jumper and top Serbian forward Vladimir Lucic (204-SF-1989, agency: BeoBasket) a three pointer. The Telekom Baskets Bonn had lost rhythm and tried to be too fancy while just searching for the best shot. Bonn would grab the lead one more time as ex Bamberg three and D player Karsten Tadda nailed a trey and ex Crailsheim forward Jeremy Morgan made a pretty spin move on the base line scoring for the 43-42 Bonn advantage. FC Bayern Munich’s offense was rolling and made their move and went on a 10-2 run to lead 53-45 and would never trail again in the game. FC Bayern Munich used good spacing and shared the ball and got key baskets from Lucic with a jumper and one handed dunk while Weiler-Babb hit an open three pointer. FC Bayern Munich used the mismatches and just crushed Bonn inside. FC Bayern Munich kept the pressure on in the last minutes getting vintage contribution from versatile Serbian guard Ognjen Jaramaz and a bucket from 36 year old ex NBA player Othello Hunter who was with the Hawks organization and still shows good athleticism at his age with a nice spin move and basket. Hawkins closed out the third quarter with a long trey at the buzzer, but Bonn still trailed 59-51. FC Bayern Munich was shooting over 50% from the field and Bonn over 40% while both teams were around 30% from down town. The guests still had the overwhelming 31-16 rebound edge and did a better job taking care of the ball with only 3 turnovers. ‘Jaramaz is a strong guard that can do it all. He hit big shots, posted up and showed why he plays at a high level’, expressed Skyler Bowlin.
In the fourth quarter The Telekom Baskets Bonn began with a last come back attempt with a run, but then suddenly their offense was shut down as FC Bayern Munich overpowered them with a massive run to decide the game. The Telekom Baskets Bonn started with a key 7-0 run to get the Telekom Dome cooking trailing only 59-58. It was Bonn’s two best scorers Jackson-Cartwright and Hawkins who supplied the offensive punch somewhat shocking FC Bayern Munich, but not for long. Bonn had stepped up their defensive intensity that put the Bavarian team to the test as they rushed things and took bad shots. But the Bonn run didn’t totally rattle Munich’s composure or killer instinct as they stayed patient and searched for the best offensive solutions and were rewarded with a lethal 14-0 run to lead 73-58 which paralyzed the Telekom Baskets Bonn. In the Munich run, they were able to display their brutal inside out game which just tore apart Bonn. Munich got a crucial line drive three from Jaramaz which looked like he had seen Anton Gavel take one before, but the Euroleague team really smothered Bonn with their inside game the most. They got a alley-oop dunk and lay in from Lucic who showed his quickness in the post while Babb made a lay in and the two big centers Thomas and Hunter flourished with hard one handed dunks. The Euroleague experience and killer instinct of FC Bayern Munich outlasted Bonn in this phase. They took the three game away from Bonn and also controlled key offensive rebounds. The Telekom Baskets Bonn found better to their offense in the last few minutes closing out the game with a 11-7 run, but it was too little to late as the guests had done the needed damage. Bonn got some baskets from Kessens with a two handed dunk and Tadda and Hawkins nailed three pointers. ‘They turned it up a notch. We couldn’t find any answers. The run hurt us and they picked up their defense. We couldn’t make shots. That is how it goes sometimes’, stressed Skyler Bowlin. FC Bayern Munich also did a great job on Jackson-Cartwright and Hawkins holding them to 9/32 shooting. ‘Our game plan was to be physical. But that isn’t easy against them. They have great length and size and we couldn’t match it. Weiler-Babb is so big and a great defender’, stated Parker Jackson-Cartwright. FC Bayern Munich shot 54% from the field and 29% from outside while the Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 38% from the field and 31% from outside. Key was the FC Bayern Munich 42-24 rebound edge. The 21 turnovers that FC Bayern Munich had really hurt Bonn more than anything as they couldn’t take advantage of it. ‘We always try to win the possession game. That is a huge number. We have to do a better job. We didn’t play to our pace and need to play faster’, warned Skyler Bowlin. FC Bayern Munich were led by Vladimir Lucic with 19 points while Ognjen Jaramaz added 18 points while the Telekom Baskets Bonn were led by Parker Jackson-Cartwright with 14 points while Javontae Hawkins had 13 points. The Telekom Baskets Bonn will have to win game 2 if they want any chance of having a chance in this series. ‘We won’t beat FC Bayern Munich in the half court. I’m confident we will go to Munich with the series 1-1’, warned Parker Jackson-Cartwright.
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