It isn’t that often that very good friends battle year after year against each other in the Beko BBL, but from 2007-2014 each season Detroit native Rickey Paulding and St Louis native Jimmy Mckinney battled each other at least twice a year for off season bragging rights. Especially in Frankfurt, both guys always had big duels with both guys shining on the court, but this meeting between the two excellent athletes has been absent the last two seasons as Mckinney played for the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. This season Paulding was all alone in the Beko BBL without his friend Mckinney as the St Louis native was home waiting for the phone to ring and catching more college football games as well as from his alma mater Vashon high school where he won titles as a kid something he was unable to do the last years as he was in Germany the last 8 years playing. Recently it was made public that Mckinney had signed with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen to help out in the scoring department as American Jonathan Wallace was recovering from an injury. Paulding help lead the EWE Baskets Oldenburg to a 98-89 win at home against Tuebingen before the arrival of Mckinney where he steered 13 points. Paulding will have to wait until March 14 where he will meet his old friend again for the ninth straight season in a game in the Beko BBL. Until then Paulding has much time to rekindle the old memories from their battles on the court and might even had a blur memory of their combat on the court. Since their last battle in Frankfurt in 2011 where Oldenburg won 72-53 only two Skyliners were on the floor then are still with Frankfurt now with Quantez Robertson and Danilo Barthel, but even two Mckinneys most likely wouldn´t have helped Oldenburg on this afternoon in Frankfurt as the 2004 Beko BBL champion Frankfurt Skyliners defeated Paulding and co 93-74 giving Oldenburg their fourth loss in their last five games and after the loss the St louis native was sentimental about the game and his friend Mckinney returning back to Germany. “It is always good to have Jimmy around especially in Germany in the Beko BBL. I am happy that he has caught on with Tuebingen. We had some strong battles here but that was some years ago. I didn’t have that too much on my mid. I was concentrated more on this game. I hope to talk to Jimmy sometime before March when we play against each other. Frankfurt played harder than us, were more aggressive, ran on us, made shots when they had to and were just the more aggressive team”, stressed 2009 Beko BBL champion Rickey Paulding. “I am also happy that Jimmy is back in Germany. I was a bit surprised that it took him so long to get a new team. I am always motivated to play and will be extra motivated when we play Tuebingen because Jimmy is one of my closest friend”, expressed Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners keep rolling winning their sixth win in a row and it was a tale of two halves where the first was even, but in the second Frankfurt made adjustments on defense and Oldenburg had problems hurting Frankfurt inside like they did in the first 20 minutes. “The first half was close and both teams were scoring. In the second half we improved our pick and role defense. Coach had got on me and Johannes Voigtmann to get up higher on pick and role to get more dribbles and let our guards get over and we were able to clog the middle and force them to tough shots. This led to more turnovers and easy transition buckets for us”, added Fraport Skyliner center Mike Morrison.
One could of done special promotion for the Quantez Robertson-Rickey Paulding duel of the day and still the arena would have been packed, but the real duel of the day rested at the point guard position between Fraport Skyliner Justin Cobbs and Casper Ware. Both have NBA experience even if rookie Cobbs only played pre season for the Charlotte Bobcats while third year man Ware played nine games for the Philadelphia 76ers last season and almost caught on with the Brooklyn Nets this season. Cobbs won the battle easily as he finished with 17 points and eight assists while Ware had a very cold day scoring five points and dished out only one assist while shooting a horrendous 2/12. Ware is a small spectacular player that loves the pick and role and will hurt you with his outside shot. He should have had more points, but was unable to hit open shots. After the game the Los Angeles native who played two seasons in Italy was unhappy with his performance and can seek revenge in Oldenburg or next summer on the playground in Sin city where both regularly play in pick up games against each other. “We know each other well. He played very well today, got into the paint and made open shots. I couldn´t make open shots”, stressed ex Long Beach State guard Casper Ware. He didn’t say it, but one could feel that for Cobbs it was just another day at the office and an afternoon where he just had a better game than his friend Casper Ware. “We never played against each other in the NCAA, but we played in high school and each summer. We both just go out and have fun. Casper is having a good season in Germany, but it was just one of those days where he couldn’t hit shots”, added Justin Cobbs. Martinis Woody who plays for TV Langen and is a regular at games in the Fraport arena stressed that the point guard play and success rate of each player really showed after 40 minutes and had an effect on the outcome of the game. “Cobbs was offensively and defensively on both ends of the court. This was really a good match up, but Ware missed many open shots. When you have a Cobbs that scored, set his team up, got rebounds and defended and then had a Ware who couldn’t hit shots, it will be a long night for that team”, added Martins Woody.
4,270 fans wanted to see this pre Christmas matchup and ex Skyliner Jukka Matinen who won the 2004 Beko BBL title was in attendance cheering on his ex team. It was evident very early that this game would be less of a defensive battle as both teams started to get into a flow early. Oldenburg got into groove quicker going on a 5-0 run as Serbian Nemanja Aleksandrov scored inside as American Adam Chubb who won the 2008 German cup with Artland made the perfect lob pass and Ware showed his lethal outside shooting. After Barthel free throws, it was Paulding that scored on a quick gallop to the hoop as the 31 year old looked like he could moonlight as a Kyre Irving double for the next Uncle Drew episode. “Paulding has a slight resemblance to Uncle Drew, but he is a great shooter and you always have to know where he is”, expressed Martins Woody. Oldenburg led 7-2, but that didn’t hold back Frankfurt from getting into flow as they went on a 7-2 run to tie the game at 9-9. Cobbs scored inside, Robertson nailed free throws and Voightman made a left handed lay in. Basketball remains a game of runs as this first quarter demonstrated as Oldenburg struck back with a hammering 7-0 to lead 16-9. Oldenburg continued to power the ball inside which led to a Philipp Neumann dunk and Aleksandrov lay in while Paulding kept the Oldenburg inside out game alive with a three pointer. Now it was the turn of Frankfurt to lay on a run as they tied the game at 19-19 with a 9-3 jolt. In this run, Robertson started it with a slick spin move where he could of even had Santa Claus nailed to his back and his adrenaline wouldn´t have slowed him down, Armand showed his aggressiveness inside twice while Mikko Koivisto hit a three pointer. Oldenburg ended the first quarter with the momentum as Ware nailed his last bucket of the game and Jenkins scored. Frankfurt got scoring production from Morrison and Koivisto but trailed 29-25 after 10 minutes. “Oldenburg hurt Frankfurt with their good inside out play. Jenkins and Paulding hit big shots from outside while inside Frankfurt wasn’t being physical as Oldenburg walked all over them inside”, added Martins Woody. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 33% from outside while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 53% from the field and 33% from outside. Frankfurt had the 9-8 rebound edge and only one turnover while Oldenburg had no turnovers.
The scoring was reduced a bit in the second quarter, but the game remained tight and the fans saw five lead changes. The Fraport Skyliners came out firing on all cylinders going on a 8-2 run to take their first lead of the game 33-31. Koivisto started the run dropping a bomb from outside which was followed by a Aaron Doornekamp three pointer to tie the game. Frankfurt then caught Oldenburg napping getting easy transition points as Brooklyn New York native Sean Armand found Doornekamp for the easy lay in. However Frankfurt didn’t keep the lead long as Florida native Julius Jenkins responded with a three point as Oldenburg regained the lead 34-33. Frankfurt countered with a 6-0 run to regain the lead 39-34 as Cobbs showed why he is the general taking control with a three pointer and Armand scored on a lay up. The runs continued to be dominant in the second quarter as in the first as Oldenburg served up a 7-2 run to tie the score at 41-41. Paulding hit a in your face three pointer over Doornekamp. Cobbs then was fed perfectly while cutting inside from Tez. Chris Kramer who had a quiet night hit a jumper and Paulding made free throws to tie the game. Oldenburg role player German Maurice Stuckey showed his strong shooting touch nailing two three pointers, but Frankfurt went into half tied 47-47 as Voigtmann and Morrison connected on free throws. “Frankfurt improved on defense and allowed Oldenburg less times to get inside clogging the middle. Frankfurt did a better job getting fast break points”, added Martins Woody. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 52% from the field and 50% from the three point line while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 44% from the field and 46% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 20-14 rebound advantage, but seven turnovers while Oldenburg had only two turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners started to slowly take control keeping the lead and overall heightening their defense from the first two quarters and keeping that consistency and unpredictability on offense intact. Cobbs started the third quarter with a quick penetration and lay in with his right hand after changing hands. Paulding tied the score at 49-49 with a jumper. Doornekamp then led Frankfurt on a 5-0 run as he scored on transition as Oldenburg was in a half winter sleep and then was a product of great ball movement where he nailed the three pointer as Frankfurt led 54-49. Frankfurt continued to extend their lead while getting big plays on defense like a monster Morrison block on Jenkins. It wasn´t always Cobb who displayed those general qualities, but also Armand who showed his leadership qualities finding Morrison on an ally- op tip in and then nailing a three pointer as Frankfurt led 65-56. Oldenburg didn’t give up getting big production from Stuckey who hit his third three pointer cutting the Frankfurt lead to 65-59. However Frankfurt always had an answer on offense when Oldenburg seemed to be threatening. Frankfurt ended the third quarter with two spectacular plays leading 71-61. On the first play, Quantez Robertson showed his great passing skills finding Morrison alone inside and feeding him with a bullet pass for the two handed dunk. On the last play, Cobbs scored hard over Oliver Kahn look alike Philipp Neumann and then was hit by his elbow and then the American had some words for the German. “I saw that Chris Kramer was on the high side and I saw the lane and just tried to finish strong. I thought that his elbow was intentional. I didn´t expect it, but it must have been frustration from him”, stressed Justin Cobbs. “Our defense was better. We didn’t let them attack on pick and roll and our help was better”, added Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 55% from the field and 55% from the parking lot while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 40% from the field and 40% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 28-21 rebound lead, but 10 turnovers while Oldenburg had only eight turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners continued to play their game as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were not able to get under 10 points as the home team showed their opponents that the living room was off limits and that they didn’t want any company around the fire place. Frankfurt started the fourth quarter in fine fashion with a 9-3 run to lead 80-64. In the run, Barthel scored and Johannes Voigtmann connected on a three pointer and lay in. Oldenburg then made their last run as Adam Chubb made consecutive buckets inside, but Frankfurt then ultimately slammed the door goodbye on Oldenburg with a crushing 8-0 run to lead 88-68. In the run, Voigtmann and Koivisto connected for free throws, Morrison scored inside and Koivisto made a steal and made a semi floater touch down pass to Super Tez who made the hard two hand dunk. After Paulding made free throws, Gordon Herbert inserted young Germans Johannes Richer and Stefan Ilzhoefer with 54 seconds to play and Frankfurt went on a 5-0 run as Cobbs hit a three pointer and Super Tez made a flight field trip to the rim with a massive two handed dunk getting his ninth and tenth points and being the seventh player in double figures on this afternoon. “I didn’t know how many points I had. I just saw the wide open lane and I got a good screen and scored. Having seven guys in double figures score shows that we have many ways to score”, stated Quantez Robertson. Oldenburg ended the game with a 4-0 run as Neumann hit free throws and Philipp Zwiener scored inside for the 93-74 loss. “Frankfurt put more pressure on the ball in the second half. Their pick and roll defense was a lot better. Frankfurt played very well together and got easy baskets. When you have seven guys in double digits then it is hard to beat you”, stressed Martins Woody. “We were outplayed. They hit shots, played good defense and ran on us”, commented ex Alba Berlin guard Julius Jenkins.
The Fraport Skyliners were led by Justin Cobbs with 17 points. Johannes Voigtmann and Sean Armand added 16 points a piece while Aaron Doornekamp, Mikko Koivisto, Mike Morrison and Quantez Robertson added 10 points a piece. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were led by Rickey Paulding with 17 points. Nemanja Aleksandrov and Adam Chubb added 10 points a piece. After 40 minutes the Fraport Skyliners shot 51% from the field and 47% from outside while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg shot 39% from the field and 38% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 42-25 and points in the paint 44-25. Frankfurt had 14 turnovers while Oldenburg had only 12 turnovers. It may still be early, but the Fraport Skyliners are getting complete again and are starting to gel with new point guard Justin Cobbs. “The biggest strength today for Frankfurt was team basketball and sharing the ball. They were still pretty good when they had injuries and Tez was playing point guard as they lost some close games. With Cobbs on board Tez can go back to playing at both ends of the court. Tez is a defense specialist and that is what Frankfurt needs. I think if they can all stay healthy this team will make a run and get the sixth spot at the end of the season”, warned Martins Woody.