In the past 25-40 years there have been very little birds chirping anything positive about the New York Knicks who had success in the 70´s with the leadership of Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe winning titles in 1970 and 1973 or the Detroit Pistons with their success with Isiah Thomas and Dennis Rodman winning back to back titles in 1989 and 1990 and not to forget their win in 2004 and one could hardly call these two basketball cities a rivalry, but both cities have two exceptional players balling in Europe with Ricky Paulding and Jordan Theodore. Paulding who was drafted by his home town team Pistons in 2004 coming out of Missouri(NCAA) has had a brilliant career overseas and has been with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg since 2007 and most likely will be built a special statue the day he hangs up his sneakers, while Theodore is a guy who hails from Engelwood, New Jersey, but was quicker in New York city on the I-95 than Spike Lee could depart Madison Square Garden after a Knicks win. While Paulding has won the 2009 Beko BBL title and 2015 Beko BBL cup, the ex Seton Hall star Theodore hasn´t won anything meaningful in hardware playing for losing teams in Turkey and France, but this season with the Fraport Skyliners, he could pull even with Mr Oldenburg, because the New Jersey native who hung around in New York growing up has good chances to win the Europe Cup where Frankfurt is 10-0 so far and the cup, but to do this he needs to win three games. However Paulding was standing in the way in that first win for the ticket to reach Munich in the cup top 4 at the end of February. Theodore was seeking revenge after the first loss in Oldenburg where Frankfurt lost on the last possession 82-80. In that contest, Paulding had 10 points, four boards and five assists while Theodore led his club with 17 points and was so close to escaping with a victory. With the Pistons and Knicks far away from their minds, it was the Beko BBL showdown between Detroit and New York and it was the big apple that prevailed, but Jordan Theodore didn´t have the motor city and Rickey Paulding on his mind, but actually Dyckman playground in the Bronx as he had some added fuel in his tank playing against his childhood friend Scott Machado who was injured in that first meeting of the season. Machado has made the NBA playing 6 NBA games for the Houston Rockets and led the NCAA in 2012 in assists with 9,9 with Iona feeding the ball to ex Fraport Skyliner Sean Armand all night long and had had enough friendly games against Theodore on the court, but never in a professional game. Theodore and Machado had played a lot at the Dyckman playground in the Bronx so playing this so important game for the ticket to the cup top 4 meant a lot to both players. Theodore got the best of his close friend Machado leading the Fraport Sklyiners to a 80-68 win against the 2015 Beko BBL cup winner EWE Baskets Oldenburg. “This wasn´t something personal, but something I looked forward to. He is from Queens and I am from Engelwood, Nerw Jersey which is 5 minutes from New York. When he was a senior he was #1 in the nation in assists and I was something like fifth or sixth. Our match ups were pretty even growing up. But we played street ball so there was a lot of talent around with NBA players around”, stressed Jordan Theodore who scored 12 points and dished out eight assists in the win against Oldenburg. After the win a disappointed Scott Machado who has played in France and Estonia departed from the locker room and quickly was put into a land of reminiscing as he was reminded of his childhood basketball days with Theodore. “As kids we played streetball against each other. We work out with the same trainer and Jordan is like a brother to me. He works so hard and would run through a brick wall. He just loves the game so much. He got the better of me tonight”, warned Scott Machado.
Even if there have been bigger games in the past with contests in the playoffs or the 2015 Eurochallenge Top 4, this cup qualifying game to reach the top 4 and a chance with two victories to be able to hoist their third club title was one of the bigger games in years for the 2000 cup and 2004 league winners Fraport Skyliners. The Fraport Skyliners have been playing magnificent basketball as of late and last lost a bitter game in Bayreuth before Christmas and were still unbeaten in 2016 riding a seven game winning streak and entered the game knowing that they had to play a focused game as always, but also understood that if they can play Skyliner basketball are extremely hard to beat. The first half was very even, but in the second half Frankfurt was able to raise their game a level and take a 10 point lead and the EWE Baskets Oldenburg just were unable to get consistent stops on defense to get back into the game. “This was a hard fought game. We knew that Oldenburg was a tough opponent, but we also had revenge on our minds after losing at the start of the season in Oldenburg. I remember the game well, because I missed some crucial lay ups in crunch time. I wanted to step up and the team also did. We lost the boards in the first half, but in the second half, everyone stepped up. Guys from the bench with Richter and Merz also stepped up. When all step up, that is how we win. I am really happy to have reached the Cup top 4. This is a big accomplishment as we are one of four teams left and it isn´t easy to win the cup. Coach will have us prepared and we will know what we need to do to be successful”, warned Jordan Theodore. The EWE Baskets came into the game as defending cup champions and are playing a very strong Euro cup season just as Frankfurt is in the Europe Cup and wanted to get back to the top 4, but despite giving all they had, they just couldn´t stop that amazing team basketball of the Fraport Skyliners and put some kind of dent into their overwhelming ball movement that was clicking all night long. “We knew that it would be a super physical game as Frankfurt is one of the top defensive teams in the league. I feel that we matched their intensity for a good part of the game for 35 minutes. However there was a stretch in the third quarter for five minutes where Johannes Voigtmann hit two three pointers which was the difference in the game. Frankfurt might be the underdog going into the cup top 4, but they will have a chance to win and will be in the game until the end whoever they play. They are a good scrappy team and will be ready”, stressed ex Wright State guard Vaughn Duggins.
2,850 fans came to watch the cup clash and the Fraport Skyliners were hit hard with a new injury as German guard Konstantin Klein was hurt in practice and will miss 4-6 weeks while his teammate Danilo Barthel is also out for a longer period of time as well. It never really matters who the Fraport Skyliners have as they always give 100% no matter what as with head coach Gordon Herbert have the best at his trade in the Beko BBL. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg got off to the better start jumping out on a 4-0 lead as they got valuable production from Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding hitting a step back jumper and Vaughn Duugins made a lay in. The Fraport Skyliners then after missing their first two shots got their first field goal as 2016 Beko BBL allstar Johannes Voigtmann hammered home a two handed dunk as ex Auburn star Quantez Robertson perfected the pick and roll perfectly finding the big man. Oldenburg continued to have the lead as they were doing a good job executing inside as ex Tuebingen guard Vaughn Duggins found ex medi Bayreuth center Brian Qvale for the powerful one hand stuff as Frankfurt trailed 8-4. Jordan Theodore then got busy on offense nailing a three pointer as he often doesn´t get going until the second half first trying to organize the Frankfurt game, but against Oldenburg he had to have a change of plan. “I didn´t have to do much in the second half as many stepped up, but in the first half, I felt it was my responsibility to pick up the team. We had Barthel and Klein out with injuries and Doornekamp and Little were in foul trouble, so I had to score”, added ex Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore. However Oldenburg still kept up the pressure on offense banging the ball inside as Qvale made an offensive rebound and getting a put back and ex ratiopharm Ulm forward Philipp Schwethelm made free throws for the Oldenburg 13-9 lead. Frankfurt took a chapter out of the Oldenburg game also getting the ball inside and going on a 5-0 run to capture their first lead of the game at 14-13. In the run, Frankfurt was fortified with a Johannes Richter put back and Mike Morrison bank shot and both times, it was Jordan Theodore with the dime. Then both teams traded leads back and forth as it was ex Purdue guard Chris Kramer that once scored a bucket in the NCAA while sitting on the floor scored twice inside as Frankfurt couldn´t match his quickness as Oldenburg led 17-16. However Frankfurt closed out the first quarter with a potent 7-2 run to lead 23-19. In the run, Frankfurt was aided by Robertson free throws and a lay in and Theodore lay in as Frankfurt had no trouble getting easy baskets inside as Oldenburg had no 1-1 resistance. Schwethelm closed out the quarter with a reverse lay up at the buzzer. “If you want to run a zone, you need to be active using it. Frankfurt did a good job getting into the middle. It is all about executing against the zone and Frankfurt did that very well. Also for Jordan Theodore it was personal. He is childhood friends with Scott Machado and really wanted to win this game. Theodore felt he had much to prove. When you are competitive you always want your friend to have a good game, but not as good as yours”, stressed ex TV Langen center Martinis Woody. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 56% from the field and 33% from outside while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 58% from the field and 0% from outside. Oldenburg had the 8-6 rebound edge, but five turnovers while Frankfurt had one turnover. Frankfurt was hit with their fifth team foul at 4.23, but couldn´t really capitalize on it.
In the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners continued to have a nice lead and led by as much as seven points, but in the latter part of the second quarter, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg retaliated and came back cutting the Frankfurt lead to 44-43. The Fraport Skyliners started off the second quarter having that same focus from the first 10 minutes executing soundly on offense as the basketball conductor Jordan Theodore found Mike Morrison for an easy bucket, Johannes Richter hit free throws and then it was the big man from Florida Morrison again with a field goal in the paint. Nemanja Aleksandrov from Serbia got going nailing a trey and making two free throws to cut the Frankfurt lead to 29-24. Oldenburg was hit with their fifth team foul early at 5.55. The Fraport Skyliners then were able to extend their lead to 38-31 as they did a good job getting to the free throw line as Robertson and Little made free throws and both then also scored in the lane as did Theodore. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg continued to have absolutely no remedy how to clog the paint as Frankfurt continued to use their fantastic athleticism getting simple baskets whenever they needed to. However the EWE Baskets Oldenburg continued to fight and stay in the game due in part to the incredible versatile and potent offensive game of Vaughn Duggins who has made an amazing development the last two years in France and returned back to the Beko BBL and belongs to the top 5 players in the league this season. The ex Le Mans guard hit a huge three pointer and pull up jumper to cut the Frankfurt advantage to 38-35. Duggins also displayed great point guard abilities finding Robin Smuelders on the pick and roll for the dunk and later riffling home a bomb from the parking lot cutting the Frankfurt lead to 42-41. Smeulders then gave Oldenburg the lead back with a lay in 43-42, but Mike Morrison sent Frankfurt into the break with the 44-43 lead with a lay in. “Basketball is a team game and you never really want to key in on one player. Paulding wasn´t having his night, but Duggins was. You can´t count anyone out on Oldenburg´s team. Oldenburg was down, but they didn´t want to get blown out and buckled down on defense. You want to win each quarter. In a cup game like this, it is about stopping the other team and scoring”, warned South Carolina native Martinis Woody. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 52% from the field and 13% from the three point line and the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 56% from the field and 50% from the three point line. Both teams had 15 rebounds a piece and Frankfurt had five turnovers and Oldenburg eight turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners were able to make that big run that had been missing in the game and get the big lead and would never look back. Frankfurt jumped out on a demoralizing 17-5 run to extend their lead to 61-48. In the run, Frankfurt demonstrated inside-out basketball to perfection. Frankfurt had been dominating inside with their penetration and started with it again in the third quarter as Theodore took a step back from scoring and played basketball conductor setting up Voigtmann with the perfect lob pass and lay in and Quantez Robertson with a lay in. Voigtmann then made two consecutive three pointers which kind of broke the back of Oldenburg early. Aaron Doornekamp who had remained quiet then got some scoring punch making a one handed lay in and three pointer. “Frankfurt was moving the ball well and Voigtmann was killing it from outside. Even if Theodore was getting to the rim at will and missing some shots, Oldenburg still couldn´t stop Frankfurt. The Frankfurt bench was also producing”, stated Martinis Woody. Scrubb continued to come off the bench and give production as he started his rookie season in Greece with AEK Athens The Canadian has been in Frankfurt only 17 days, but is integrated and playing as if he joined the team last September which is credit to Gordon Herbert that has that magical touch with getting players on the same page quickly. Scrubb hit a three pointer from the corner as Frankfurt gave their best exhibition of ball movement as Doornekamp gave the extra pass for the field goal. Scrubb also showed his quickness inside connecting on a finger tip roll as Frankfurt led 66-52. Oldenburg closed out the third quarter strong with back to back buckets from Qvale hitting a mid distance shot and Duggins finding the very quiet Machado with a back door pass and lay up, but Frankfurt still led 67-56 after 30 minutes. “The Frankfurt offense was sputtering a bit. Duggins was a bit more aggressive at the end. Frankfurt did a good job limiting the Oldenburg fast break”, said Martinis Woody. “We were up only one point at halftime and wanted to set the tone early and Joe and Aaron got going. Coach wanted us to play Skyliner basketball and not change anything”, stressed Jordan Theodore. “Frankfurt played very good team basketball”, stressed ex Bremerhaven forward Philipp Schwethelm. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 52% from the field and 31% from the parking lot, while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 53% from the field and 33% from the parking lot. Oldenburg had the 23-21 rebound edge. Oldenburg had 15 turnovers and Frankfurt five turnovers.
In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners continued to have control of the game leading by as much as 12 points and would never look back. Smeulders got the EWE Baskets Oldenburg on the board first in the fourth quarter making an easy lay in after getting the perfect lob pass from Brian Qvale. However Gordon Herbert had his special Canadian ace in his sleeve as he inserted Canadian Philip Scrubb and he promptly nailed two three pointers giving Frankfurt the 73-60 advantage. With five minutes left in the game, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg made one more run of 7-2 to cut the Frankfurt lead to 75-67 as they got three baskets in the paint from Qvale, Duggins and Paulding. However Oldenburg just were unable to get more consistency on defense and were unable to really effect the elite oiled offensive machine of Frankfurt. With two minutes remaining Theodore scored his last bucket of the game on the fast break and Robertson and Morrison closed out the game with free throws. “Key in the fourth quarter was playing defense. We needed to get stops and did. Our offense feeds off our defense. Scrubb stepped it up hitting big shots in crucial times when my shot wasn´t falling. He took a load of me”, added Jordan Theodore. “They outplayed us. In the first half, they scored much in the paint and in the second half spread out the three point line”, stressed Scott Machado. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Johannes Voigtmann with 14 points. Quantez Robertson and Philp Scrubb added 13 points a piece. Jordan Theodore added 12 points and Mike Morrison 10 points. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were led by Vaughn Duggins with 17 points. Brian Qvale added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Rickey Paulding contributed 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 48% from the field and 35% from outside while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg shot 50% from the field and 23% from outside. Oldenburg won the rebound duel 32-30 and had eight turnovers and Oldenburg coughed up the ball 18 times. If the big turnaround of German Pro A team Hebeisen White Wings Hanau has to do anything with head coach Simon Cote and assistant coach Ryan Pannone visiting many home games and watching the coaching style of Gordon Herbert is unknown, but one thing is for sure, they are both big fans of the work of the Canadian. “The Frankfurt guards did a good job getting to the rim. What really sticks out is how good they move the ball. They give up a good shot for a great shot. They like the extra pass which forces the defense to rotate and you can´t outrun it. Frankfurt play a high level of basketball and have great chemistry. They can compete with anyone. Frankfurt might not be favorite to win, but they will eb dangerous and nobody will want to play them”, expressed Hebesien White Wings assistant coach Ryan Pannone.