The Telekom Baskets Bonn have began off very well into the easyCredit BBL season sporting a 2-0 record as the departure of top point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright hasn’t put a dent into the new team as other top point guard TJ Shorts (175-PG-1997, college: UC Davis) has taken over the way everybody had expected. But unlike last season where the Telekom Baskets Bonn played only once a week, this season they have extra duty also competing in the Basketball Champions League. They caped off the campaign losing a tough nail bitter to Italian team Reggio Emilia 88-84. They wanted to get on the winning road, but it didn’t get any easier as they faced off against current 2-0 Italian Serie A team Pinar Karsiyaka. This season the team has a smorgasbord of great players like ex NBA players Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Angel Delgado as well as CJ Mccullum brother Errick and other talented Americans like Jaylon Brown and Vitto Brown. Pinar Karsiyaka came to Germany wanting to keep their BCL record spotless, but got off on the wrong side of the bed and witnessed TJ Shorts score 7 unanswered points at the gte go and they never recovered as the Telekom Baskets Bonn played with high intensity for 40 minutes winning 83-71. ‘We gave a gutsy effort for 40 minutes against a very high level team. We got off to a nice start thanks to high defensive energy. We had good phases in the game and were able to go from the fifth to sixth gear thanks to our identity for keeping our high intensity for 40 minutes. We did a good job dictating the game something we didn’t do as well in the last BCL game’, stressed Telekom Baskets Bonn head coach Tuomas Iisalo. Pinar Karsiyaka fought, but couldn’t match the intensity of Bonn for 40 minutes and just had no answer for diminutive guard TJ Shorts who could do whatever he wanted. ‘We missed many shots. They worked very hard and we didn’t match it. We have a lot of talent, but need to be more like a team thanjust individuals’, stressed ex NBA player Mindaugas Kuzminskas.
3,310 spectators wanted to see the BCL clash and quickly witnessed the TJ Shorts show as scored 7 unanswered points for the 7-0 advantage. The Turkish side knew what to expect, but probably didn’t expect Shorts to be so quick and so annoying with his agile play. The problem for any defense is, that you can’t let Shorts any time or space, because he will display his excellent mid range game or sink the trey with authority which he did in the first few minutes. Even as Pinar switched to zone, it didn’t hamper Bonn’s play as ex University of Northern Iowa forward Jeremy Morgan sunk a runner and ex New Zealand Breaker Finn Delaney nailed a trey for the 12-4 Bonn lead. Bonn established a fine offensive rhythm quickly while the guests had to work hard for their shots and met a brutal physicality by Bonn that even a beast like Angel Delgado couldn’t come to terms with. After some misses ex NBA player Mindaugas Kuzminskas finally got going showing his vast versatility making a three and lay as Bonn still led 16-9. Bonn showed nice team play while the Turkish team couldn’t move the ball as well and opted for 1-1 play. Bonn also had more fortune getting the majority of the 50/50 balls. Shorts hit a three at the end of the first quarter having 10 points while the Telekom Baskets Bonn led comfortably 19-11. ‘We worked all week long to hit them first and that is what we did. We had more intensity and locked down on defense which carried us through the game’, stated TJ Shorts. The Telekom Baskets Bonn worked harder on the boards and were rewarded with the 15-8 rebound edge and shot 50% from outside. The Turkish sides best stat line were their 2 turnovers.
In the second quarter Pinar Karsiyaka came back into the game courtesy of scorer Errick Mccollum will always be seen for hiss coring abilities as his playmaking is overlooked added 9 points and 5 dimes. The guy who is the brother of NBA star CJ Mccollum is what you call a walking bucket who was a top player in the Euroleague with Efes and once led the Chinese league in scoring with 39,0ppg. He hit two off balance shots early as Bonn led only 21-19. Despite the Turkish team rallying, Bonn played good defense as they were very contested shots. But basketball is a game of runs and Bonn struck back going on a 8-2 run to lead 29-21 as ex Fraport Skyliner Leon Kratzer made a massive dunk, ex Wurzburg guard Tyson Ward made a left handed dunk and ex Trier guard Sebastian Herrera hit a trey. Pinar Karsiyaka continued to play zone and got frustrated on offense electing to keep doing 1-1 play. The Turkish side have incredible individual talent and that is what got them over the hump as they went on a 12-4 run to dead lock the game at 33-33. In the run the Turkish team was led by the Browns as Vitto scored twice and Jaylon once while Mccollum continued to have the reins on the offense. Pinar Karsiyaka were shooting 2/13from downtown, so they upped their aggressiveness and began to attack the rim with a passion and were rewarded. Bonn kept the slight lead as Jermy Morgan made a three and Shorts made an off balance shot for the 40-36 lead. Mccollum and Jaylon Brown scored the last Pinar baskets as the Telekom Baskets Bonn led only 42-40 at the break. ‘We came back but it wasn’t enough. Errick is an important player, but we have to share the ball more. We need more than one player’, warned Pinar Karsiyaka head coach Ufuk Sarica. ‘Errick is so talented. We knew that he would make tough shots. We knew that we had to make it as tough for him. We knew that we could turn the game around if we threw bodies at him’, expressed TJ Shorts. Pinar Karsiyaka improved their rebounding in the second quarter trailing only 18-17 and had only 3 turnovers while the Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting better than their opponent.
In the third quarter The Telekom Baskets Bonn once again had a great start like when they began the game led by Delaney and Shorts who carried the team. The German side continued to keep up their fierce defensive intensity that Pinar Karsiyaka couldn’t come to terms with. Bonn gave up a quick basket, but then halted the Turkish team’s next 5 possessions and they didn’t get their second basket from ex NBA player Angel Delgado until the 4,56 minute mark of the quarter. Delgado was a beast, but Bonn did an incredible job not letting him do what he wanted holding him to only 7 points and 3 boards in 27 minutes. Ex Hamburg Tower Jaylon Brown did get the first score, but Bonn reacted going on a 11-0 run to lead 53-42. Delaney nailed 2 three’s while Shorts made a lay in and free throws and German national player Leon Kratzer made a tip in. The German giant who was lost a bit in the shadow of Shorts who had a great game, more than fulfilled expectations with a fine 15 point 6 rebound game. The Telekom Baskets Bonn continued to move the ball well, and kept the fine lead with added buckets from Shorts who executed the perfect give and go with Delaney and even Tyson Ward got into the action with an enormous alley-op dunk getting the perfect pass from Sebastian Herrera for the 57-44 lead. Pinar Karsiyaka continued not to play team basketball and elected for more individual plays which worked at times as Mccollum and American Vito Brown showed with baskets. With 7 seconds to play TJ Shorts once again showed why he belongs to the top players in the easyCredit BBL going coast to coast for the final lay in as the buzzer sounded giving Bonn the satisfying 62-51 advantage after 30 mites. ‘Finn Delaney is one of the best on the team at both ends of the court. He does the nitty gritty on defense, but he is also a great shooter. He has the most confidence when he is shooting. We rode with him as he gave us a huge boost and sparked our offensive flow’, added TJ Shorts. The Telekom Baskets Bonn continued to shoot better with more than 50% from the field and the 43% from outside totally outmatched the pathetic 13,3% shooting of Pinar Karsiyaka from outside.
The fourth quarter was just a matter of the Telekom Baskets Bonn not letting up and finishing the game strong and not losing their strong intensity. Bonn got quick points from Kratzer and a huge three pointer from Jeremy Morgan for the 67-53 advantage. It was evident to see that Bonn wanted it more than Pinar as they just continued to attack attack attack while the Turkish team was always a step behind and seemed lack luster. Pinar Karsiyaka did find some more energy for their second best few minutes of the game going on a 11-2 run to cut Bonn’s lead down to 72-64. The run was sparked by ex ACB player Jaylon Brown who showed that teammate Mccollum isn’t the only walking bucket making a steal and lay in and then a coast to coast run and basket. Kuzminskas always contributed scoring twice and exhibiting his fine moves inside and ability to use the angles well while ex Wisconsin (NCAA) great Vitto Brown made a three pointer. After Shorts free throws, Delaney and Mccollum traded three’s, but Pinar Karsiyaka couldn’t make any ground as Bonn led 77-67. But that was as far as the Turkish team would come as TJ Shorts had seen enough and slammed the BCL door shut scoring twice with a runner and off balance shot for the 81-67 lead. ‘It helps a lot when you have a player like TJ Shorts. It puts my mind at ease knowing he won’t turnover the ball in big situations. It is a great feeling to have that he can create a shot, but at the same time one has to understand that his teammates are constantly working hard to create space. We are not a one man team. I like our chemistry’, warned head coach Tuomas Iisalo. Kratzer made a massive dunk and Kuzminskas closed out the game sprinkling his stat line a bit with 4 points. ‘We had problems with the pick and roll defense and on the defensive rebound. They deserved to win’, stated Pinar Karsiyaka head coach Ufuk Sarica. ‘We know that we had ups and downs, but overal we try to limit our mistakes as much as possible. We had the same intensity throughout the game and played together as a unit on defense. The ball was popping late and there were many switches. I had it going, but credit my teammates for getting me the ball’, warned TJ Shorts. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were led by TJ Shorts with 28 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists while Leon Kratzer added 15 points and Jeremy Morgan had 13 points and Finn Delaney 12 points while Pinar Karsiyaka was led by Errick Mccollum with 18 points and 10 assists while Mindaugas Kuzminskas added 16 points and Vitto Brown contributed 12 points. The Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 50% form the field and 39% form outside and had 41 rebounds and 13 turnovers while Pinar Karsiyaka shot 42% from the field and 18% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 8 turnovers.