For the third consecutive time the BBL finals saw a game 5 – and for the third consecutive time the hosts could take advantage of the home-court advantage. After trailing for most of the second half Bamberg played their best basketball when it all came down to the last few minutes.
Congratulations to the Brose Baskets Bamberg and coach Fleming who formed a group of great individual talent to a team that set standards in playing with enthusiasm, discipline and unselfishness.
Alba Berlin finished the season in second place. But after a season full of ups and downs, the departure of former head-coach Luka Pavicevic and the integration of two new playmakers in February Alba can be proud of winning decisive games 5 (in the quarterfinals against Oldenburg, in the semis against Frankfurt) and giving Bamberg a really tough game 5 in the finals.
Did Bamberg’s team want to celebrate the championship on their home court?
Or what exactly happened to the most dominant team of the Beko BBL in game 4 of the finals?
With a win coach Fleming’s team could have won the BBL championship. But with their backs to the wall Alba Berlin handed Bamberg their biggest loss of the season (87-67) and showed that you just cannot count out the team from the capitol city.
After a nice start Bamberg was in front with 12-21. But it took only a few minutes for Alba to go on a 16-2 run and take the lead. The momentum had changed with Alba’s nice zone defense and Bamberg’s inability to find a way to score on a regular basis. On the other side of the court Berlin found good ways to create mismatches against Bamberg’s zone as they moved the ball very well. Often wing players like Casey Jacobsen ended up defending in the paint and Alba took advantage with their big men.
A prime example for Berlin’s strength today was the Bamberg’s last possession in the first half. Brian Roberts tried to go hard to the basket but Alba responded with a nice defensive rotation that made Julius Jenkins block the lay-up. Then with some seconds left Alba passed the ball nicely to Bryce Taylor, who faked a shot and then made a buzzer three pointer right on time. At the half Alba led by 7 (44-37).
At the beginning of the second half Tadija Dragicevic replaced Derrick Allen and had some nice scenes offensively. Alba constantly led by 4-8 points at this stage of the gameand even if Bamberg managed to have some successful situations offensively, the team simply forgot to box out defensively.
It really felt like Alba Berlin could easily grab offensive rebounds whenever they missed a shot. German national player Yassin Idbihi did a great job getting 4 of the team’s 11 offensive boards. It is often said that good rebounding is a question of dedication.
Before the game started the most interesting question probably was how Bamberg could compensate the loss of starting point guard John Goldsberry. In game one the 29-year old american had a very unfortunate collision with Berlin’s Bryce Taylor and suffered a pulled ligament in his right ankle. Goldsberry may not have the flashiest numbers (4.3 points, 4.0 assists in 23 minutes per game), but he is probably the most important player in coach Fleming’s system.
After the first five minutes of game 2 no one really seemed to be missing Goldsberry as Bamberg started off brilliantly and took a commanding 2:18 lead. In front of 12.000 spectators in Berlin’s O2 World it looked like a really bad blow-out was in the making. Alba Berlin showed more than just once this post season that now and then the team falls apart and takes something like a 4-5 minute time-out while they are not getting anything done defensively and offensively. One may call it fortunate that this time they started the game with a bad run, because there was a lot of time left to get back into the game. And Alba is probably the only team in the Beko BBL to be able to overcome such a huge deficit against Bamberg.
Late in the first quarter Alba mainly tried to get close to the basket and get some easy points. This resulted in fouls and free throws for Katzurin’s team. But still Bamberg finished the first quarter with a huge 14:28 lead.
For almost three quarters game 1 of this year’s Beko BBL final was very competitive and close. Both teams showed that they are the best in the country this season and deserve to be in the finals.
But late in the third quarter Bamberg was able to step up defensively and turn a 52:53 into a 74:60.
It was their 25th consecutive home game victory in the BBL this season.
Bamberg was led by Kyle Hines (15 p/6 r/ 4 bl.), Casey Jacobsen (15) and Brian Roberts (14).
Derrick Allen was Alba’s best scorer with 13 points, but his +/- stats looked poor with -17! Bryce Taylor had a double-double scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.Offensively Berlin certainly missed some production by Julius Jenkins and Immanuel McElroy. Combined they made just 3 points (compared to the usual 24 point average)and shot 1/6 from the field.
While McElroy looks tired and is probably injury plagued, Jenkins just needs to step up his game.
Even though Bamberg won game one the game ended rather unfortunately for the franconian team. In the last few seconds of the game John Goldsberry went to the ground and looked injured. It is still not clear if he is healthy enough to play the next games.
Revenge and long term absence that Alba Berlin is currently suffering can be a very dangerous and uncomfortable experience for any opponent in the beko BBL as Oldenburg and The Deutsche Bank Skyliners recently had to witness in the last weeks, but now they will take this increased stress of the past into the Brose Baskets Bamberg series in the 2011 beko BBl final. Alba Berlin hasn´t been in the beko BBl final since 2008, which might not seem like a long time to a neutral bystander, but for CEO Marco Baldi, it probably seems like an eternity and as horrible as Harry Potter fans seeing the end of the story becoming a reality, George Bush haters not getting the total satisfaction of the ex President getting hit by an errand foul ball at a Texas Rangers-Chicago White Sox game or ex Skyliner coach Murat Didin having to witness and come to terms with being seen by some as a Danny Devito doppelganger. On top of not tasting champagne in three years, the team not only lost the season series to Bamberg, but were drilled on the side of their heads in Bamberg being humiliated 103-52 and the only thing missing was the team departing the arena with bags over their heads. With FC Bayern Munich entering the beko BBL stage next season and ready to rumble with the top teams and Brose Baskets Bamberg being the top team at the moment, Alba Berlin doesn´t want to slide further away from the top and will be as motivated to seek revenge as Dirk Nowitzki had for the game one loss to the Miami Heat taking crunch time in game two into his own hands and scoring the last seven Mavericks points to win game two 95-93, Big Loser contestants in the American TV show impressing new drill sergeant ex tennis goddess Anna Kurnikowa or Paris Hilton trying to upend her party girl image each day with worthy causes. The Brose Baskets Bamberg host Alba Berlin in game one Sunday as both teams enter the finals with long five game series, but Alba Berlin possibly having more momentum coming in having won all three games in Frankfurt and remembering the big 103-52 loss. “Alba Berlin showed that they played with a lot of confidence on the road. They might of had a long series against Frankfurt, but I don´t think they are tired, because they have a long bench. They aren´t tired yet and will have momentum going in. That 51 point loss will still be in their heads. I believe that Alba Berlin will come out with a lot of energy”, stressed Artland Dragon guard Bryan Bailey. The Brose Baskets Bamberg only lost two games all season and had a huge advantage over most of the other 17 BEKO BBL teams in that they have kept a core of their team. This season Bamberg has kept many teams off guard with not just one style of play. “We can play a multitude of different styles. We have players on our roster that can do everything. The style we play depends on our opponent and style of game they play. We will always be able to tailor our game to match the opponent”, added Bamberg forward Kyle Hines.
Sometimes parallels can be small and unconventional, but it can still make one think the Arsenio Hall famous thought hmmmmmmmmmmm as back in 2004 the last time Frankfurt won the beko BBL title then known as The Opel Skyliners, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski were about to start their flight as successful German national soccer players, Lady Gaga was still screeching songs under the shower and actress Katie Holmes still had her cute school girl crush for future husband Hollywood tycoon Tom Cruise. Current Skyliners Jimmy Mckinney was making a name for himself at Missouri with guys like Travon Bryant, Rickey Paulding and Linas Kleiza, Roger Powell was still working on his game at Illinois with future NBA players Deron Williams and Luther Head and Dashaun Wood was a road runner in the making at Wright State. Back then in 2004, Frankfurt had a 27 year old Pascal Roller and raw talent coach Gordon Herbert who won the final against Bamberg in a game five series where each team won their away games until game five where Frankfurt was able to win at home. Now seven years later, Roller and Herbert were both wiser and more experienced and had the same chance to win another game five at home after the first four games had all been won on the road by the away team. Frankfurt also had a positive omen in which they had beat Alba Berlin twice in a playoff series since 2005 and wanted to make the triple against the Spree team in 2011 and despite a fresh Pascal Roller, Alba Berlin ruined his fathers day ending the season of The Deutsche Bank Skyliners 87-68 moving on to the final where they will meet three time beko BBl champion Brose Baskets Bamberg. The past success in 2004 didn´t seem to rub off on Roller and Herbert as Frankfurt was unable to win in their living room losing the fourth game in a row this season in the Ballsporthalle. “I think Roller and Herbert might have looked in their eyes with a small smile thinking about what they did in 2004. Remembering that success might have given them strength to do it again tonight”, stressed ex North Carolina Tar Heel Ademola Okulaja before the game. “I don´t think that Roller or Herbert will have remembered this. I don´t think they would have thought a second about it. It is different circumstances and you can´t compare it”, stressed Skyliner sport director Kamil Novak before the game. Alba Berlin won their fourth game in a row in Frankfurt and just outplayed Frankfurt in so many areas as the sadness was present on the faces of the Skyliners after the game. “This loss hurts very much. You work a whole season to get to the final and then it ends like this. A big problem was the rebounding. We got way to little second shots and we didn´t get on transition enough”, stressed Skyliner forward Jimmy Mckinney. “We did a good job finding the open man on offense. Our big guys also did a good job on the boards and also finding the open man. Idbihi and Taylor gave a lot of energy under the boards”, stressed Alba Berlin manager Mithat Demirel. The game five loss by The Deutsche Bank Skyliners also was the curtain call by captain Pascal Roller who had stated that he would step down from the court at the end of the season at the age of 34.
Pascal Roller is a 34 year old 180cm combo guard that is playing his 11th season in Frankfurt. He started his career with TV Langen and then played with Freiburg in the second German Bundesliga from 1996-1999. He has played in Frankfurt ever since except for the 2006-2007 season when he took a sabbatical in Italy with Angelico Biella playing 39 games averaging 5.7ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.4apg, 2FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 85.0%. His best statistical season was the 2004-2005 season where he played 44 games averaging14.9ppg, 3.2rpg, Ast-5(4.0apg), 1.0spg, 2.7bpg, 2FGP: 49.5%, 3FGP-3(43.3%). He has played 19 Euroleague games, 28 ULEB Cup games, and 12 Eurochallenge games. His biggest success with Frankfurt was winning the BBL Cup in 2000 and the BBL championship in 2004. He is a seven time BBL Allstar. He also played with the German National team for 9 years. His biggest accomplishments was playing at the 2008 Olympics at Beijing, winning a bronze medal at the World Championships at Indianapolis in 2002 and winning a silver medal at The European Championships in Belgrad in 2005. In 2009-2010, he played 46 games averaging 8.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 44.3%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT-1(90.8%). currently he is averaging 4,5ppg and 1,3apg. He spoke to German Hoops before game 5 against Alba Berlin
Congrats on the 83-74 win against Alba Berlin in game four. Are these do or die games easy now for you then earlier in your career?
Yes it gets easier, because I have more experience in these games in the last years. Now I know how to react in certain phases of the game and am able to make better decision in certain phases of a game.
Do or die games in professional sports now a days seem to be as common as the gossip that has been surfacing about the Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger in the last weeks concerning his leisurely activities with mistresses, NBA teams playing matador defense letting guys like Dwayne Wade or Derrick Rose get simple buckets and hope to get points back at the free throw line to finish games or Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen keeping his name fresh in the tabloids even if he is just trying to sell his Beverly Hills mansion for a cool 7,2 million. In the last days, fans saw two do or die games in the NBA playoffs as both Dallas and Miami got past Oklahoma and Chicago who had to win to elude summer vacation, in the NHL, Boston and Tampa Bay squaring off in a seventh game where Boston kept their dream alive of their first Stanley Cup win since 1970 or ex Skyliner Ilian Evtimov who got an early summer vacation as his team Chalon lost a do or die game against Asvel. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners faced the same predicament having their backs to the wall down 2-1 against 8 time beko BBL champion Alba Berlin, but had had fond memories of the O2 World arena winning a thrilling comeback win in the fourth quarter out scoring Alba Belrin 24-5 just 8 days ago in game two. Frankfurt might of had their backs to the wall, but finally played Skyliner basketball winning game 4 and forcing a game 5 this Thursday in Frankfurt dominating Alba Berlin for the most part of the game winning 83-74. Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert had been in enough do or die games in his career and knew exactly how he could prepare his players best. “We worked hard on the mental aspect of it. We wanted to be very focused coming into the game. We did a good job coming out with a lot of energy into the game”, stressed Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert. “We had a different kind of week for this game. We focused more on the mental part than on the physical part. We did a lot of mental exercises something that I have never done before, but it was worth it and the game showed that many guys got something out of it”, said Skyliner forward Kimmo Muurinen. “It was not easy for Frankfurt to come into a game like this, but Frankfurt was prepared for the moment and there is a reason why they were the second best team in the league. Many guys stepped up like Roger Powell, Pascal Roller was strong off the bench and Tez does what he always does”, added Alba Berlin forward Bryce Taylor.