The comeback attempts by The Deutsche Bank Skyliners this season have been as often and usual as Paris Hilton changing her shoes, Tiger Woods coming up with a new apology for his wife each day, sadly Lindsay Lohan running around drunk as if it was a home work assignment and Mark Mcgrath being mistaken for Ethan Hawke, so with four minutes remaining in the BEKO BBL cup final and the club back 74-63, there was no surprise that they would stage a comeback, but were denied in the last seconds their third club title as The Brose Baskets Bamberg prevailed 76-75. Playing back to back and only having 18 hours to recuperate from the thrilling 61-59 win in the semi final against The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven might of played a toll on the total effort of the team as fatigue was something that couldn´t be erased.
“We had no energy today. We gave all our focus yesterday. Our problem is that we have problems starting tough and aggressive against top teams. If we don´t do this, it is always difficult to win. There was a perfect atmosphere and I am just very unhappy for the fans. We wanted to give the fans the cup. We will have to win it for them next season”, stressed Skyliner assistant coach Engin Gencoglu.
Frankfurt has lost the last three games by a total combined score of five points and it was no surprise that the players were disappointed and reserved after the loss. Even captain Pascal Roller who is not only the best interview partner for the Skyliners, but it sometimes seems like he could start his own school of speech because of his fluid and solid rhetoric was very terse with his answer.
“There isn´t too much one can say after a game like this except that we didn´t reach our goal of winning the cup”, stressed Pascal Roller.
For The Brose Baskets Bamberg, it was their first title again since the 2007 BEKO BBL title and for coach Chris Fleming it was his second cup win after the Artland Dragons victory in 2008.
“Each title is different. With Artland, we had been having a consistent season, but with Bamberg this season, we had a tough start and had high expectations and were struggling. But in the last 25 games, we have a 20-5 record, so we have showed that we are a good team and results can be achieved with hard work”, warned Chris Fleming.
The first semi final in the 2010 BEKO BBL Top 4 pits the Brose Baskets Bamberg against BG Goettingen as both clubs have faced each other 10 times in the last 18 months making the distance of 286 autobahn kilometers seem like their own German subway series similar to the New York Yankees-New York Mets series and making the frequency of their meetings going down the same path as NBA legend Allen Iverson did with his love for say ing practice in a press conference a few years ago. The Brose Baskets and BG Goettingen will square off in the first BEKO BBL Top 4 semi final on April 10th at 16.25 while The Deutsche Bank Skyliners face off against The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven in the second semi final at 19:15.
The Brose Baskets Bamberg lead the head to head series since the 2007-2008 season winning eight games and losing only four games. Last season, after BG Goettingen was one of the top teams in the BBL and big surprises, their 40 minutes of basketball hell lost their strength in the playoffs running out of gas losing the quarterfinal playoff series 3-1. This season, the teams have split the season series winning their respective games at home.
The last time that the Deutsche Bank Skyliners won the German cup was in 2000 when they were called The Opel Skyliners, the era of Bill Clinton as President was ending, Dan Duquette was still running the Boston Red Sox and they were still being cursed by the bambino, the Twin Towers in New York was still standing gracefully on lower battery park in New York and the Spanish music craze of Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias was in full swing, and now the Frankfurt club tries again at winning the prestigious title on home court after losing to Alba Berlin last year in the semi final in Hamburg.
It may not be June and playoff time yet in the Ballsporthalle, but with the warmer temperatures with the start of Spring and a full arena, an early playoff feeling should be present on Saturday April 10th as The Deutsche Bank Skyliners face off against The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven at 19:15. The first semi final will be played at 16:25 between two time BEKO BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg and BG Goettingen the team each opponent hates because of their aggressive never die attitude.
The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven have had a curious season and had a 7-7 record on December 19th and had been up and down and then went on a seven game winning streak as ex NBA player Rodney Buford had returned to the States and since then have been up and down with a 4-4 record, but seem to have found their rhythm again currently having a four game winning streak. They are the second highest scoring team in the BEKO BBL behind BG Goettingen.
On German Hoops we mainly reported in an objective way about what is going on in the German basketball scene. But usually blogs represent individual opinions and this time I have something to write about that is highly subjective and you might not agree with. It’s all about the BBL Top4 and why I am simply not interested in it since the competition has been reformed. I’m not trying to convince anybody. Guys like Goettingen’s Jason Boone really look forward to this competition as e.g. he never made it to the NCAA Final Four. But just let me explain why I refuse to watch this new Top4 tournament.
Last summer four important large-scale changes happened to German basketball. In my opinion there were two very positive changes in managerial questions and two negative ones concerning the sport itself.
Let’s start with the positive changes:
The 6-year deal with Beko as the league’s main sponsor was a great move. With the help of Murat Didin the BBL finally has a strong partner that pays a nice amount of money to the league and helps to professionalize basketball in Germany.
The other positive thing becomes more obvious for fans every week. German sports network DSF (now called Sport1) signed a 3-year deal with the league and broadcasts the game of the week on free TV (For further information check out the League Facts!). It is very important for the league to be on screen for everybody and not just for the hardcore fans on pay-TV.
So from an administrative perspective the league really made two big steps into the right direction. Unfortunately two questionable decisions in sports terms did not help.
The new ranking system was very confusing at times (check out Strange rankings and early hot-shots). Honoring the losing team with 1 and the winning team with 2 points does not work when games have to be postponed and teams have played a different number of games. This season there were some really odd moments. E.g. Bonn clinched the number 1 spot despite having lost a game or Giessen being in the play-off race without winning a single game! So sometimes the rankings looked as informative as if it was grouped in an alphabetical order.
Luckily the BBL decided to return to the old table-system for the upcoming season. That means the losing team will get 0:2 points and the winning one 2:0.
And then there is the new BBL Cup… Even though it is played in my hometown Frankfurt next week-end (10th and 11th of April) I decided not to attend the Top4. I am not even sure if I will watch it on television, because I don’t quite understand what this is all about and why it is still called a ‘Cup’.