It has been ages since Alba Berlin captain Alex King strapped on a Frankfurt Skyliners jersey as he was a mainstay with the team from 2002-2008 achieving some big moments like winning the 2004 Beko BBL title or reaching the final in 2005 losing a tough fifth game in Bamberg or reaching the semi-finals in his last season in 2008 losing in a bitter five game series against his future team Telekom Baskets Bonn where Skyliner legend Pascal Roller was denied on the last play. The Munich native also had some bad moments like the seasons 2005-2007 where the team fell into a losing rut that had never ever been seen before in the organization under coaches Ivan Sunara and Charles Barton or having to play for Turkish head coach Murat Didin twice and getting to know his dog house on more than one occasion as it wasn´t a cake walk playing for him. In the years after, King contributed to the ongoing curse in Bonn that held on to 10 years where Frankfurt couldn´t win and also help supply wins against his ex team with the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and in the last three years also left the court as the winner on more than one occasion with top club Alba Berlin. Now as it is habit each season, King returns back to the Fraport arena, but under very special circumstances as both teams are experiencing runs that for the one team has brought history to their organization while for the other just sheer surprise. Like years ago when the Fraport Skyliners were trying to end the Bonn curse, now King is trying to end this amazing winning streak of his ex team that currently stands at 13 games while Alba Berlin has a surprising 5 game losing streak that the players know need to be broken, because with every new loss the patience of Sasa Obradovic grows and grows and that so usual white tint that he displays on the side line may turn more ruddy with every new emotional explosion. The Fraport Skyliners came back home after an ugly win in Porto in Europe Cup action where they wobbled to victory after sustaining a mini hibernation in the second half, but one has to give the 2000 cup winner credit, when it counts, they instantly become a team no one wants to deal with as they suddenly execute without problems on offense and defense. It was interesting to see if Gordon Herbert could turn off this hibernation in this game and if both Frankfurt and Golden State would still be undefeated Sunday evening? On Sunday night only one team carried on with their winning streak as Golden State remained intact at 21 after a close 112-109 win over Toronto where Steph Curry poured home an electrifying 44 points while the Fraport Skyliners 13 game winning streak was halted at 13 games as they couldn´t get by Alba Berlin losing 95-82 as the game saw just about everything from untypical high scoring from the leagues top two defensive teams and an array of technical fouls and players fouled out as the scoreboard had an untypical red glare. It was a tight close game until halftime, but in the second half the Fraport Skyliners totally lost their rhythm and had an uncharacteristic unstable offense and an influx of turnovers that coast them the game even if they fought until the end cutting down the opponents lead. “We couldn´t score at all at the start of the fourth quarter. We fought until the end as our spirt never dies. However we have to be able to pull together better down the stretch. We did a good job cutting down the lead to six points, but then they increased back to ten points and more. Their guards Taylor and Cherry hit tough shots and made plays. We just didn´t played defense the way we are accustomed to”, stressed New York native Jordan Theodore. Alba Berlin came into the game with a five game losing streak and were testing the patience of head coach Sasa Obradovic, but their consistent offense in the second half and more aggressive defense helped them get the win. “ It felt good to get this win after 5 straight loses. Bouncing back here will help our self confidence. The first half saw much high scoring against the two best defensive teams which was untypical. They fought hard in the last three minutes and made it tough for us, but we stuck together and got the win”, added ex Wisconsin(NCAA) Badger Jordan Taylor.
4,920 people came out on a very mild December Sunday afternoon to witness top basketball, but before the game commenced Fraport Skyliners center Johannes Richter who turned 22 years old was rewarded with a cake and as a good polite person shook each hand of the Fraport Skyliners dance team while Jordan Theodore was hanging around near the German waiting for the jump ball and probably would have given each girl a hug to show that classic American friendliness. The game finally did start and most were expecting a hard fought defensive battle, but instead the total opposite occurred as both teams started to fire and get hot and just hit, hit and hit shots as if the ocean had really been placed on the court. Ex Enisey Krasnoyarsk center Elmeden Kikanovic got the first points of the game with his bread and butter a 20 footer something he must of remembered from last season as he nailed quite a few in the Fraport area in Eurochallenge play. German national player Johannes Voigtmann then connected on a running hook shot that brought back memories to Ilian Evtimov who had incorporated that into his game in 2008 with Frankfurt. Ex Buffalo(NCAA) center Mitchell Watt then made a lay in as Will Cherry heaved him the touch-down pass on transition and Voigtmann hit a beautiful turn-around jumper to tie the game at 4-4 as Frankfurt tried to get the German involved early. Then came 8 lead changes as both teams were going head to head and back and forth as each team wanted to be a tic better on each possession than the other. Ex Auburn guard Quantez Robertson hit a jumper and two handed dunk, Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp a jumper while Alba Berlin countered with ex Telekom Baskets Bonn forward Alex King nailing a three pointer that he vastly improved in the last 3-4 years, ex Serb energy player Dragan Milosavljevic of BC Partizan NiS Beograd scored inside and ex Cleveland Cavalier Will Cherry dropped a three to tie the score at 12-12. Taylor then hit a pull up jumper for the fifth lead change and 14-12 Alba Berlin advantage. Both teams just kept seeing a big ocean as Doornekamp and Cherry traded three point buckets as Alba Berlin led 17-15. Alba Berlin then kept the lead until the end of the first quarter, but both teams kept hitting on all cylinders as Taylor connected again from the parking lot as Frankfurt trailed 20-15. After Konstantin Klein dropped a three pointer it was Croatian Kresimir Loncar who played at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing scoring inside twice connecting once on the screen and role while Florida native Mike Morrison made free throws, but Alba Berlin still led 25-22. Milosavlevic then nailed a three pointer for the 28-22 Alba Berlin lead. Frankfurt closed out the first quarter strong with an important 5-0 run as Doornekamp scored in acrobatic fashion inside and Klein fired home a trey over Akeem Vargas as Frankfurt trailed only 28-27 after 10 minutes. “We saw an unexpected high scoring game and Frankfurt couldn´t stop Alba Berlin getting to the basket. Doornekamp and Klein hit big three pointers”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Tim Oldenburg. Alba Berlin was shooting 65% from the field and 71% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 67% from the field and 50% from outside. Alba Berlin had the slight 6-5 rebound edge, but three turnovers while Frankfurt had two turnovers.
The scoring fest continued in the second quarter and game remained tight and Frankfurt got the lead back and kept it until the break. The Fraport Skyliners came out on a quick 6-1run to lead 33-29. On the run, the club got production from Doornekamp from the baseline with a jumper, Klein hit a catch and pop shot and Voigtman made free throws. Frankfurt was hit with their fifth team foul at the 7,49 minute mark and after Voigtmann nailed a beautiful high rainbow shot which is now as reliable as Steph Curry 40 plus point games, Alba Berlin tied the game at 35-35 with some more Loncar scoring in bunches as he made two mid distance jumpers. The game then got a bit out of hand as Watt and Obradovic were hit with technical fouls, but at this stage of the game both teams were struggling at the free throw line. Frankfurt kept the lead at 40-36 after a Danilo Barthel high rainbow, but it was Loncar once again who kept Alba Berlin at close striking range with a reverse lay up as Taylor found him and free throw had Frankfurt leading only 40-39. After Klein and Taylor traded three pointers, Frankfurt was able to take the 49-46 lead into half time as Morrison scored back door and Theodore nailed a pull up jumper. “The scoring took a back seat in the second as both teams increased their defense. It was a very hard game and very physical and the ref´s were letting much pass through. There was simply much happening in the game”, added Tim Oldenburg. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 55% from the field and 38% from the three point line while Alba Berlin was shooting 58% from the field and 60% from the three point line. Alba Berlin had the 15-10 rebound edge, but eight turnovers while Frankfurt had only three turnovers.
In the third quarter, There were three runs and the third one was the turning point as suddenly out of nothing the Fraport Skyliners lost their rhythm and played their worst offense of the season as they were unable to score a field goal for over 12 minutes carrying over into the fourth quarter. Alba Berlin had the first run of 7-1 taking the 53-51 lead as Cherry and Taylor hit back to back shots with only seconds remaining on the shot clock and Loncar made a three pointer over Voigtmann. It took Frankfurt until their fifth possession to get their first field goal of the game as it went on a 8-0 run to regain the lead at 59-53. The run was produced by the German twin towers of Barthel who made a lay in and free throw and Voigtmann who connected on a fierce three pointer over Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann and two free throws. Then came the turning point of the game as Alba Berlin ended the third quarter with a game deciding 10-1 run to regain the lead at 63-60. In the run, Alba Berlin was led by the American guard duo of Taylor and Cherry. Taylor made a lay in and three pointer and then on the next possession had a wide open three, but elected to let Cherry get some of the pie and swung him the ball as he nailed a three. The American guard duo was harmonizing very well and did something in the game for the first time this season that had long been overdo. “We really wanted to finally get that one game where we would both go off and we got that today. It went our way and we were clicking together instead of only one. We know each other well on the court”, stressed California native Will Cherry. “We have an unselfish team and you saw that as a good shot was passed up for a great shot. We are on the same page and have a special trust. As Americans we have that in common”, added Alba Berlin guard Jordan Taylor. German Akeem Vargas closed out the run and third quarter with a jumper. “We came together on defense in the third quarter and got stops while executing on offense. We forced them to tough shots, rotated well, helped each other and this was one of our best games of the season”, added Bloomington, Minnesota native Jordan Taylor. “Turnovers killed us in the third and we couldn´t control the ball”, added Fraport Skyliners guard Jordan Theodre. Alba Berlin was shooting 56% from the field and 53% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and 32% from the parking lot. Alba Berlin had the 24-17 rebound advantage, but 13 turnovers while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.
The field goal curse continued for the Fraport Skyliners in the fourth quarter as they went another 7 minutes with out scoring a field goal and by that time Alba Berlin had built their lead to 80-62 and was seemingly out of reach. Alba Berlin continued to run their offense and score at a consistent rate while the Fraport Skyliners were coughing up the ball possession after possession and at times one wondered if they had forgotten how to play the game correctly. Alba Berlin broke out on a 17-2 run before Frankfurt finally scored a field goal. In the run, Alba Berlin was sparked by many players as Vargas started the run with a jumper, then a Wolfarth-Bottermann lay in was aided by a Voigtmann turnover, then Taylor scored inside, Cherry hit a trey, Kikanovic scored in traffic twice and Taylor dropped a three pointer. Frankfurt was playing ugly basketball as almost every possession was a turnover and if not Alba Berlin forced Frankfurt to very tough shots. Theodore finally stopped the field goal curse making a lay in to cut the Alba Berlin lead to 80-64. With three minutes remaining, Frankfurt made one last run as despite having given everything in an extremely physical game they gave their usual big energy finale in the fourth quarter. A big problem for Frankfurt was that they were unable to get consistent stops as Alba Berlin did a good job visiting the free throw line, but even when Cherry and Taylor missed, Frankfurt was unable to fully capitalize. Frankfurt then went on a 5-0 run as Robertson hit a three pointer and Morrison lay in as Frankfurt trailed 84-76 with 1.30 to play. Robertson gave Frankfurt one last gasp nailing a trey cutting the Alba Berlin lead to 88-82, but a John Little unsportsmanlike foul let to a Wolfarth-Bottermann free throws and Milosavljevic sealed the win for the visitors with a free throw and three pointer. “We didn´t score buckets. Alba Berlin played good team defense and all were active. Our offense was stagnant and we weren´t moving the ball the way we should. We didn´t have that continuity where we are all hitting shots. Our offense wasn´t flowing, but sticking”, added Jordan Theodore. “We did a good job at the end rebounding and rotating. We have to do a better job handling the pressure down the stretch. The key was our defense in the second half”, stressed Jordan Taylor. Alba Berlin were led by Jordan Taylor with 22 points and seven assists. Will Cherry added 19 points and five assists. Kresimir LOncar contributed 15 points while Elmedin Kikanovic added 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 15 points. Konstantin Klein added 14 points. Aaron Doornekamp and Johannes Voigtmann chipped in with 13 points a piece and Jordan Theodre had 10 points. Alba Berlin shot 58% from the field and 50% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 43% from the field and 33% from outside. Alba Berlin won the rebound duel 34-28, but had 18 turnovers while Frankfurt had 12 turnovers.