For Skyliners Jimmy Mckinney seeing Gordon Herbert prancing up and down the sideline with his hands on his chin in the thinking pose, Derrick Allen giving young girls the idea of taking ballet classes in the future as he is making Jermareo Davidson dizzy with his smooth and delicious ballerina moves or Dashaun Wood sneaking into the lane undetected like Lebron James does with a disguise in a Mcdonalds in South Beach, Florida with his quick steps as he worked with them the last years was nothing new, but for Beko BBL rookie Devin Gibson, it was his first time experiencing the ex Skyliner three musketeers, but not a new thing playing in a big arena like the O-2 World arena as he had played in many large places in his NCAA career at the University of Texas at San Antonio. “This arena had more of a college feeling with the circular structure and depth perception. It was a great atmosphere playing here”, stressed Skyliner guard Devin Gibson. Mckinney and Quantez Robertson were seeking revenge after the loss earlier in the season to Alba Berlin in the Fraport and had won the last two games in Berlin, but the Fraport Skyliners came away on the empty end losing a hard fought but bitter 70-66 battle in OT. One could of held a raffle as to which guys wanted to win more the ex Skyliners Wood, Herbert or Allen or the current Skyliners Mckinney, Tez or Marius Nolte. “I think that me and Jimmy wanted to win more, but the ex Skyliners really came out to play. It was nice seeing Wood play and he was able to get to the rim and find his teammates”, stressed Quantez Robertson. 2011 MVP Dashaun Wood had a huge smile on his face after the win and was impressed by the play of his ex teammates. “It was like practice again seeing Tez and Jimmy. They fought so hard and at a high level. They played with so much confidence. The team as a whole is better on offense and defense, sharing the ball, and taking good shots. Since the first time that we saw them, they are like night and day”, warned Dashaun Wood.
The Fraport Skyliners were seeking their fourth win in a row and were coming off a huge win against the Brose Baskets Bamberg last weekend. After allowing Alba Berlin go on a run in the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners stormed back in the second half never giving up and taking the game in over time. However in the extra period, the Fraport Skyliners made little mistakes that cost them the game in the end ending their two game winning streak in Berlin. “This was a bitter loss for us. After a bad first half where we were taking bad shots and Alba Berlin hitting three pointers, we battled back in the second half and showed how much character this team really has. We didn´t do a good job giving up offensive rebounds. They just wanted to win more at the end”, stressed ex Phoenix Hagen forward Jacob Burtschi. Since the loss in Bayreuth in January, 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin were able to win their eighth game in a row and win the season series. Alba Berlin was coming off an enthralling 83-82 win at home against the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven where they closed out the game on a 11-2 run and showed just as much composure and nerves against Frankfurt winning a tight game. “Our defense really won us the game in the overtime. In the fourth quarter, we were up by 2-3 points, but even in the overtime, a four point lead wasn´t much, but it was good enough to put Frankfurt in a bad situation. The three offensive rebounds kind of lost them the game”, said ex Skyliner Dashaun Wood.
The Fraport Skyliners wanted to continue their strong defensive performances from the last games, but getting back into the bad habit of getting fouls was not on the basketball menue of Skyliner coach Muli Katzurin. Starting point guard Michael Thompson got two quick fouls as did German national player Tim Ohlbrecht. Alba Berlin jumped on the Fraport Skyliners quickly with a Dashaun Wood runner and jumper from ex NBA player Kyle Weaver. However as had been the case so often in the last weeks, it was St Louis native Jimmy Mckinney who hit a pull up jumper and catch and pop three pointer to Frankfurt the 5-4 lead. Alba Berlin continued to have sound offense as ex Telekom Baskets Bonn American Bryace Taylor nailed a three pointer off the fast break as Alba Berlin retook the lead 6-5. Mckinney showed once again that he can do a lot more than just score as he faked a kick out pass in the penetration, but saw Ohlbrecht in the corner of his eyes and fed him a lob pass for the quick two points as Frankfurt regained the lead again 7-6. Wood tied the score at 9-9 with a typical lay in. Alba Berlin regained the lead 11-9 after a sweet pick and roll between Taylor and Yassin Idbihi who scored. The Fraport Sklyiners closed out the first quarter with a 7-3 run to have the slim 16-14 lead. Jacob Burtschi nailed a three pointer, Mckinney continued his hot shooting with a pull up jumper and Davidson finished with a sweeping left handed lay in. All in all, six lead changes had been present in the first 10 minutes. “We played great defense which created a little bit of offense”, stressed Skyliner guard Devin Gibson. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 43% from the field and 40% from outside while Alba Berlin was shooting 38% from the field and 0% from outside. Alba Berlin had the slim 9-7 rebound edge, but five turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners had four turnovers.
Basketball is a game of runs and sooner or later a team would take that journey into offensive heaven and Alba Berlin was to be in line first as they made a 15-18 deficit into a 29-18 lead going on a 11-0 run. Alba Berlin was able to hurt Frankfurt with a healthy inside out game with pick and roll and hot shooting as German national player Hekio Schaffartzik got the ball rolling with a three point bomb from the Ostbahnhof; Idbihi scored on the pick roll after getting served by Schaffartzik, Marko Simonovic hit a three pointer and Schaffartzik connected from down town Alexander platz again. Frankfurt were defending ok, forcing some turnovers with their quick hands, but at the same time were unable to capitalize on offense not making shots. Frankfurt got some needy buckets from German national player Johannes Herber who used the mismatch against Kyle Weaver on the baseline scoring with a lay in and Marius Nolte was left totally open scoring in easy layup, but Alba Berlin kept the big lead scoring in transition via Weaver and Schaffartzik dropping a three point bomb to lead 37-22. The Fraport Skyliners were able to suffer any further damage in the last minute as Devin Gibson connected on a pull up jumper and Jimmy Mckinney got the Skyliner bench to jump as quickly from their seats as Blake Griffin does the fans after a crushing dunk as the American hit a buzzer beater three pointer as Frankfurt exited into half time trailing 37-27. “We let them get out on a run. We were playing ok halfcourt defense, but looked bad letting them get fast break points off our mistakes”, expressed ex Alba Berlin German Johannes Herber. Alba Berlin was shooting 52% from the field and 44% from the three point line while The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 38% from the field and 33% from the three point line. Alba Berlin had the huge 18-11 rebound edge, but eight turnovers while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.
Skyliner head coach Muli Katzurin must of found the fitting words in the half time as The Fraport Skyliners rebounded well staging a comeback as they were able to cut the Alba Berlin lead to three points. One thing that really has separated the Fraport Skyliners from many Beko BBL teams this season has been the supporting cast of players. After a big first half by Mckinney, he took a back seat to guards Robertson, Gibson and Davidson that took over the bulk of the scoring and defense work. The fans got some NBA show time right of the bat as Quantez Robertson swooped into the zone and finishing with a monstrous left handed dunk and Bryce Taylor followed that up with a two handed dunk from the baseline. Despite the comeback, Alba Berlin was still able to put enough resistance getting another rbucket from ex Washington State star Kyle Weaver as they led 43-30. However Frankfurt then went on a naughty 10-0 run to decrease the sound decibels to cut the Alba Berlin lead to 43-40. Devin Gibson showed his cool and energetic side taking control with a three pointer and then anticipating a lob pass making a steal which set up two free throws for Davidson as Frankfurt trailed only 43-36. “Gibson is a very good defender. He played like a player that has been around for a while. He came in in the third quarter and controlled the game with his leadership and defense. Getting him was a big addition for Frankfurt”, warned Detroit native Dashaun Wood. Quantez Robertson them made one of the plays of the game as he got in front of Weaver tipped the loose ball over center court and then outran Wood for the layup. Davidson followed with ajumper as Alba Berlin led only 43-40. Wood then hit a clutch three pointer as Alba Berlin had a little more breathing room leading 46-40. Frankfurt then went on a mini 4-0 run to cut the Alba Berlin lead to 46-44 as Davidson made a tip in dunk and Robertson a lay in. Schaffartzik then nailed three free throws as Frankfurt trailed 49-44. Frankfurt closed out the third quarter with a 4-2 run as Davidson and Gibson hit mid range jumpers. Alba Berlin had the slim 51-48 lead after three quarters. “Gibson and Davidson pushed us and made the game faster. Our pick and role defense was good and we controlled Wood well”, stressed Johannes Herber. Alba Berlin was shooting 47% from the field and 38% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and 36% from the parking lot. Alba Berlin still had the big 25-17 rebound edge, but 11 turnovers while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.
The fourth quarter remained tight as no team was able to pull away with more than a five point lead. At the start of the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners relied on another supporting cast member Jacob Burtschi to display some stability on offense as he showed his inside out qualities scoring on a drive with his left hand and then knotting the game at 53-53 with a three point bomb. However Alba Berlin escaped on a 5-0 from Kyle Weaver who capitalized on a second chance try and then nailed a three pointer as Alba Berlin led 58-53. Davidson then hit a fancy fade away jumper and blocked Wood on the next play, but Alba Belrin still led 60-57 with two minutes to play. Frankfurt then had some luck as Simonovic missed two free throws. Frankfurt then feeling the urge with time running down and the need to produce went on a mini 4-0 run to regain the lead again 61-60 something they hadn´t had since the first quarter as Mckinney and Davidson hit jumpers. Schaffartzik then made one free throw to tie the score at 61-61. Davidson then was clutch again hitting from the free throw line as the Fraport Skyliners were finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel leading 63-61 with less than a minute to play. The second to last play in regulation time was about as crazy a sit gets as Schaffartzik made a steal, but was stripped by Gibson who then tipped the ball to Mckinney who lost the ball again to the German who then fed Wood who prompt scored on a lay up tying the score at 63-63. Frankfurt had one last play with 18 seconds to play to win the game. Everyone in the O2 arena knew that Mckinney would get the last shot as he went into the zone, but missed the shot taking the game into overtime. He showed his disgust throwing a towel to the ground at the bench shortly after. “It is always my dream to take the last shot, but I failed. The release felt great and I 100% thought that it would go in. It went off to the left, but I still thought it had chance to go in. You win some and you loose some”, stressed St Louis native Jimmy Mckinney. “Jimmy is a clutch shooter, but he just missed it”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. With all the Linsanity that has been going on in the last weeks, Mckinney and Wood were having their own private Woodsanity vs Jimmsanity duel in which round one went to the ex Skyliner. “I could of told you before the game that this would happen and I knew that Jimmy would take the last shot. Jimmy is so different form last year. He has turned into the number one scoring guy, taking all the important shots and just comes to compete”, added Dashaun Wood. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and 31% from outside while Alba Belrin was shooting 48% from the field and 43% from outside. Alba Berlin still had the 31-24 rebound edge, but 17 turnovers while Frankfurt had 12 turnovers.
In the overtime period, The Fraport Skyliners would never regain the lead again as they were outscored 7-3, but they also had some tough misfortune at the end. With the score tied at 64-64, Weaver hit two free throws and Wood made a lay in as Alba Berlin led 68-64. Davidson then hit a difficult off balance in the zone to cut the lead to 68-66. Taylor then missed a jumper and with 1.30 to play in the overtime period, the Fraport Skyliners had a chance to tie or take the lead, but Davidson was charged with a turnover after physical contact where no foul was called and Frankfurt was unable to get off a shot. “That was a tough call, but we lost the game in other areas. We gave up three offensive rebounds at the end and you need to get the loose balls to win. We showed fight and that we can win, but you need to be bale to do the little things to win which we didn´t do”, commented Johannes Herber. Alba Berlin then had possession kept the offensive alive with offensive rebounds and Wood tipped a ball out. Frankfurt then lost 13 valuable seconds not being able to foul Schaffartzik who sunk two free throws to seal the 70-66 win. “I am proud how the team played. We found our rhythm in the second quarter and Frankfurt did a great job coming back in the third quarter. I am happy that we were able to pull out this win”, added Alba Berlin head coach Gordon Herbert.
Alba Berlin was led by Heiko Schaffartzik with 18 points. Dashaun Wood added 14 points, four ebounds and four assists. Kyle Weaver produced 11 points, eight rebounds and three assists while Yassin Idbihi chipped in with 11 points and six rebound. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jermareo Davidson with 23 points. Jimmy Mckinney added 12 points, three rebounds and three assists and Jacob Burtschi contributed 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners had difficulty controlling the boards losing the battle on the boards36-28, but gave another solid defensive performance allowing Alba Berlin to only 70 points in 45 minutes. The struggle and fight for the playoffs continues, but the team continues to have the self confidence needed for success. “We can play with anyone in this league. We beat Bamberg and should of won tonight. We will keep fighting and get to the playoffs”, stressed Devin Gibson.