The OPEL SKYLINERS controlled most of the game, except the third quarter, where they lost a little momentum. GHP Bamberg came back within three points, but it was not enough. "Frankfurt was more aggressive today and they controlled us. We came back with a lot of moral, but it was not enough as we didn´t have enough energy and personnel to withstand the pressure", said Bamberg coach Dirk Bauerman. It was clear to see, that GHP Bamberg could not find its rythm. "They are a great team when they can play the way they want to, but when they can´t play the way they like, then they are vulnerable. We took them out of their game today", expressed forward Ibrahim Diarra.
Even though GHP Bamberg took a 5 to 0 lead early in the first, Frankfurt answered quickly by going on a 10 to 0 run. From that point on, the OPEL SKYLINERS controlled the quarter and led after one quarter 30 to 16. "We played super team defense and controlled the players that hurt us in game one, like Mallet and Archibong. Our offensive was strong and we kept them under 60 points and that only works when the defense is hot", explained center Bernd Kruel. Captain Pascal Roller scored 10 points in the first quarter, including two three-pointers and Chris Williams also contributed 10 points. "Chris Williams was really focused today and he showed why he is the best forward in Germany", said guard Tyrone Ellis. Frankfurt had shot an astronomical 71% from the field and GHP Bamberg only 35% after one quarter. The OPEL SKYLINERS outscored GHP Bamberg 16 to 13in the second quarter and had a 46 to 29 lead at halftime.
The OPEL SKYLINERS came out of halftime unfocused and GHP Bamberg went on a 12 to 0 run. It took Frankfurt more than four minutes to score its first point (free throw by Malick Badiane) in the third quarter. "We have had the tendency to come out of halftime unfocused. We really need to work on this and keep the strong intensity throughout the game", said forward Alex King. GHP Bamberg came back, cutting the lead to three points 47 to 44, but then the OPEL SKYLINERS went on a 9 to 0 run, courtesy of three-pointers by captain Pascal Roller and Jukka Matinen. After three quarters, Frankfurt had a comfortable lead again 56 to 44. The fourth quarter was won by Frankfurt 17 to 10. GHP Bamberg didn´t shoot well and couldn´t come back in the fourth. GHP Bamberg shot only 35% and also registered 18 turnovers, two very negative statistics that usually don´t win games for teams.
The OPEL SKYLINERS were lead by captain Pascal Roller, who scored 19 points (four three-pointers) and had six rebounds. Chris Williams had 16 points and seven rebounds. Guard Spyro Pantelidis scored 13 points from the bench, including two three-pointers. The OPEL SKYLINERS did a good job under the basket, grabbing 35 rebounds and containing the GHP Bamberg big guys. Malick Badiane had five points (all freethrows) and four rebounds and Bernd Kruel had five points and three rebounds. "We contained Ensminger well as a team. If we continue to play such good team defense, then we will win the title", commented Bernd Kruel.
GHP Bamberg was led by German National player Steffen Hamann with 18 points and two steals. The only other player to reach double figures was American Chris Ensminger, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds. "We were a bit tentative on offense and we have to start to generate our offense with defense. We had some good looks, but our shots did not fall. This happens in basketball. We have the homecourt advantage and we have to play well every minute to win", said center Chris Ensminger. The two shooting stars of game one, Demond Mallet (four points) and Koko Archibong (five points), had poor games, but it was a result of the tough Frankfurt defense. "Playoffs are a time of adjustments. They did not do the same things as in game one. They played hard and wanted to win more than us", said Bamberg guard Demond Mallet. If the OPEL SKYLINERS can keep players like Mallet and Archibong in check, then they will have a really good chance of winning their second BBL title.
The final series is now tied at 1 to 1 and it would be an early Christmas present if they could win game three in the Forum in Bamberg. "We have the momentum. We have proven that we can play better than in game one. They have realized that they are not a better team than we are now", warned Jukka Matinen. Captain Pascal Roller said that Frankfurt needs to bring the strong play of game two to Bamberg. "We need to continue our good play in Bamberg. If we can keep them under 60 points and play defense like in game two, then we will have a good chance to win." The OPEL SKYLINERS have one big advantage against GHP Bamberg. Frankfurt has won a title and has pride that they don´t want to lose to GHP Bamberg. "We are very confident. They have to step up their game. We are the defending champions and we want to win badly. We are focused and ready", said Tyrone Ellis.The OPEL SKYLINERS are a step closer to winning their second BBL title, but that can only become reality if they are able to withstand the freakiness of Freak city and win a game in the Forum in Bamberg. Game three is Sunday at 15.30h in Bamberg.
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber reporting for the OPEL SKYLINERS