Over the years, the stroll from the Fraport Skyliners dressing room to the VIP dining room began with the big German three of Johannes Voigtmann, Danilo Barthel and Konstantin Klein taking the march together to just the two big men and especially in this season, the three have totally broken apart and often departed the door individually as their status has become one where they don´t need to walk together. However a little less than 72 hours ago after the seemingly solid 86-70 victory over Phoenix Hagen, the three German national players didn´t come out of the dressing room trying to hide or sneak unnoticed down the 80 meter runway to the mesh hall, but walked with a mean authority with that facial expression of don´t mess with me just get out of my way. They could have doubled for movie characters the Incredible Hulk, Barry Egan aka Adam Sandler from Punch Drunk Love or Walter Sobchak from the Big Lebowski. Of course the three big Germans aren´t truly like these characters in real life, but had a reason for giving that angry appeal as they were simply overly disgusted with themselves and their play after the 86-70 win over Phoenix Hagen. At the end of 40 minutes the three Germans had only played a combined 20 minutes and 23 seconds and scrapped up a measly 3 points. Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert isn´t one to get mad either, but apparently the start of Voigtmann and Barthel that led to a 12-5 Phoenix Hagen lead was under his standard. The two would come back later for a short instance and then sat out the whole second half. Klein was unable to bring that needed energy and his shot continued not to fall also. For a guy like German Max Merz who is playing his fourth professional season, he finally got some minutes with 10.56 and scored seven points and that will probably be the only game in his professional career where he will be able to boast that he scored more than the German big three and Quantez Robertson as they all combined for five points. Sometimes having a rude experience like this can be the best medicine for a player to question his own game and the four players had a few days to digest this bitter game and look forward to the next battle against 2004 Fiba Cup winner Mitteldeutscher BC who are in a fight to stay in the league. The German big three and Robertson got a new chance against the Mitteldeutscher BC and proved that their play against Phoenix Hagen couldn´t be duplicated as the four starters combined for 47 points outshining their weak five points as the Fraport Skyliners wiped out 2004 Fiba Europe Cup winner Mitteldeutscher BC 89-51. Especially German national player Danilo Barthel was on a mission as he more than made up for his less than satisfactory performance against Phoenix Hagen steering 21 points, nine rebounds and two assists. He was lethal especially in the first quarter getting Frankfurt going getting a big lead and never looking back. “I didn´t have my best game against Phoenix Hagen and today I just wanted to show everyone that I was present”, stressed Heidelberg native Danilo Barthel. Teammate Quantez Robertson was thrilled that Barthel and him were able to perform back to standard. “Barthel was on a mission. He came out aggressive from the start on offense and defense. He got to the rim early and free throw line which opened it up for his outside shooting in the second half. I came out getting guy s involved, played defense and hit a few shots”, explained Quantez Robertson who finished with seven points, three rebounds and five assists and had to take some of the load for Jordan Theodore who was out nursing a hurt shoulder.
The Fraport Skyliners entered the game in fifth place with a 20-8 record and won their fifth game in a row. In the last weeks, the Fraport Skyliners have had massive blow outs at home against the Telekom Baskets Bonn, BG Goettingen and Phoenix Hagen and the trend didn´t end with the Mitteldeutscher BC as the club really have built an annoying fortress at home with the opponent having very little chance of trying to conquer it. In the last four games the Fraport Skyliners have been able to maintain Fraport Skyliners basketball where their ball movement is just invincible as they have averaged 88 points and their defense is just rock hard solid as they have allowed an average of only 58 points per game. Even with the basketball conductor Jordan Theodore idle and watching on the sidelines, the team performance and success didn´t surprise him at all. “I knew that we would come out and dominate the game from start to finish after the way we had played against Phoenix Hagen. We were able to get our rhythm back and this is how we have played all season long. Our defense was key and we moved the ball great. We were able to lock them up in the first half and continued it in the second half. We are at our best when we play great defense and get easy buckets”, stressed Englewood, New Jersey native Jordan Theodore. The Mitteldeutscher BC came into the game in 15th place with a record of seven wins and 20 loses and were involved in a dog fight to stay in the league. After a tough 102-81 loss in Hagen, the club was searching for some kind of miracle in Frankfurt, but instead had no chance as Frankfurt got a quick lead and from then on wore them down. Ex Marquette (NCAA) center Chris Otule was the only real offensive bright spot for the Mitteldeutscher BC as they had no remedy how to crack the league´s top defensive team. “We didn´t start well and that got us behind. We have to be able to play better for 40 minutes. Frankfurt plays all around good defense. They play good help side and bump. Frankfurt know how to play defense from 1-5. You really have to be at you’re a game if you want to win”, warned MBC center Chris Otule.
The play of the German big three of Johannes Voigtmann, Danilo Barthel and Konstantin Klein and Quantez Robertson in the Phoenix Hagen game had been forgotten as all four stood in the Frankfurt starting lineup with 4,450 fans cheering on. They didn´t waste any time jumping on Phoenix Hagen quickly as they jumped out on a jolting 10-0 lead. The game started off blazing for Frankfurt as they had the quick lead after five seconds as Voigtmann won the jump ball tipping the ball to Aaron Doornekamp who was all alone as MBC was napping making the big dunk. Voigtmann then nailed a 20 footer and Barthel scored six points in a row with a running hook shot, alley-oop dunk served up by Robertson and free throws. The Mitteldeutscher didn´t get their first field goal until their seventh possession when American Tashawn Thomas who played his senior year at Oklahoma (NCAA) made a fade away jumper. Frankfurt had found their rhythm quickly and the Germans twin towers Voigtmann and Barthel were as focused as ever while MBC couldn´t execute on offense as every shot was contested and in the paint were stopped by a Skyliner brick wall. MBC looked like they were a lost wolf in the Weissenfels woods with no howl to save them. Frankfurt continued to pour on the heat going on a 11-5 run to extend their lead to 21-7. In the run, Frankfurt got more fire power from Barthel who made free throws, a tip in off a John Little air ball and fingertip roll. Little also iced a three pointer and Florida native Mike Morrison made a lay off the perfect lob pass from Barthel. In the last minute, Thomas made a lay in and ex Drexel (NCAA) guard Franz Massenat a floater while Morrison electrified the crowd with a crushing alley-oop dunk that was heaved up by Robertson. “Frankfurt was the more organized team and was playing harder. They are a team that doesn´t make too many mistakes. Nobody tries to score on own as all create for each other. On defense Frankfurt played all great off the ball. For the opponent it was like one against five”, stressed Phillip Scrubb brother Thomas Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 56% from the field and 33% from outside while the Mitteldeutscher BC was shooting 33% from the field and 0% from outside. Frankfurt had the overwhelming 11-3 rebound edge and both teams had three turnovers a piece.
In the second quarter, it was pretty much of the same as the Fraport Skyliners played their game extending their lead even more while the Mitteldeutscher BC was playing catch up basketball. A great aspect to the success of the Fraport Skyliners is that no matter who head coach Gordon Herbert inserts cold form the bench, that player will be able to contribute in a meaningful way. Even if MBC got some offense quicker than in the first quarter with a Otule running one hand dunk and Louis Darby jumper who played the last seven years with CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu (Romania-Liga Nationala), Frankfurt got instant production from 22 year old Lithuanian Tomas Dimsa. He hasn´t had many games with Frankfurt in the last three months, but had shown his ability early in the season with 12 points against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg and 16 points against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen came in and served up instant energy. Dimsa was very aggressive on the offensive glass sneaking inside and making a tip in and then making a forceful tip in dunk off a Robertson miss as Frankfurt led 27-15. Otule was the only offensive threat at that point for MBC as he produced two back to back dunks off feeds from Massenat and German Dominuque Johnson to cut the Frankfurt lead to 31-19. Frankfurt continued to have the momentum and closed out the second quarter with a giant 16-5 run to extend their lead to 47-24 at halftime. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners were led by big man Johannes Voigtmann who scored back to back baskets inside and the bench also contributed as Dimsa continued to be very active in the lane as he made a dunk and lay in and German center Johannes Richter also showed his presence as he found his spots down low and finished nicely twice. “Frankfurt showed that every guy could help as the bench stepped up. Dimsa gave good energy and played very hard. My brother Phill didn´t have to force anything and take any tough shots”, added Thomas Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 52% from the field and 11% from the three point line while the Mitteldeutscher BC was shooting 40% from the field and 0% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 20-7 rebound edge and four turnovers while MBC had 10 turnovers.
In the third quarter the Mitteldeutscher BC quietly won the quarter 17-16, but couldn´t make any ground because they were down by over 20 points. The Mitteldeutscher BC got a spirited start in the third quarter escaping out on a 5-0 run as basketball globetrotter Marcus Hatten nailed a trey and Otule made another dunk to cut the Frankfurt advantage to 47-29. The Fraport Skyliners played sloppy and seemed like they weren´t yet on the court. Quantez Robertson then gave his team some instant production as he scored all of his game seven points with a three pointer and two pull up jumpers while MBC guard Frantz Massenat nailed two three pointers, but Frankfurt still had the seemingly out of reach 60-36 lead. Dimsa continued to be an offensive menace as he displayed his shooting ability nailing a three pointer and just being that spark plug from the bench all night long. “Dimsa is a really good player. He played very well early in the season. It is nice to see that we can throw him in the game and he contributes. This is nothing new for him as he has been around the block. He is super athletic and tries to dunk every time he goes to the rim”, added Jordan Theodore. MBC closed out the third quarter with a Otule lay in and a Stephan Haukohl free throw. “Coach told us to make some technical adjustment at half time. We wanted to start with energy as we knew anything could happen. We started off slow, but then made plays and found our rhythm”, added Phillip Scrubb. “Coach told us not to worry about the score. We played better in the third quarter, but their lead was simply too big”, added Chris Otule. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 21% from the parking lot while the Mitteldeutscher BC was shooting 38% from the field and 21% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 28-17 rebound advantage and nine turnovers while MBC had 14 turnovers.
With the game already decided after three quarters, MBC head coach Predrag Krunic gave extended playing time to his young Germans Robert Zinn, Jonathan Maier and Adarn Touray while the Fraport Skyliners closed out the game strong with 26 points in the last 10 minutes as every player scored. In the first five minutes of an already decided game in the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners twin towers Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel led their club on a 15-4 run combining for 14 points as Frankfurt extended their lead to 78-45. Barthel scored nine of the 14 points as he made four free throws, a three pointer and a massive dunk as Scrubb found him streaking to the rim and fed him the perfect bounce pass. Voigtmann hit a trey and also made a hard dunk as Dimsa found him all alone down low. Frankfurt then closed out the game with a 11-6 run as they proved that their bench was simply more valuable in this game. Dimsa continued to be a force connecting on another three pointer and then twisted by Robert Zinn on the fast break and made the excruciating one hand dunk. Scrubb also executed on a fingertip role. Mr Canada Scrubbis known for his explosive outside shooting, but in the last months has developed a sturdy penetration to the bucket where he prefers the fingertip roll. After the big win, Jordan Theodore was all smiles when he was confronted with the notion that Scrubb may have taken something from his game. “I don’t know if he has, but my game is easy to rub off of. Aaron Doornekamp also has taken my changing from my right to my left hand on the lay up to his game. It is an honor for me, if some of my teammates can steal something from my game. I think Scrubb doesn´t have a preference, but just takes what the defense gives him. He reads the defense very well”, stressed Jordan Theodore. Theodore guessed right about how Scrubb decides what he will do on the court. “It always depends what the defense gives me. It is probably easier to just stand there and take the three. It is always nice to get a lay up”, added Phillip Scrubb. Ex Luwdigsburg big man Jonathan Maier did a good job in garbage time netting six points and grabbing three rebounds as he showed Frankfurt his aggressiveness in the last quarter. “It was nice that everyone scored in the game. That just shows that everyone is able to contribute on this team when needed”, stressed Phillip Scrubb. “It was important for some of our young guys to get some experience against Frankfurt. Maier played very well. We go against each day in practice. It was good to see him get some buckets”, added Chris Otule. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Danilo Barthel with 21 points and nine rebounds. Tomas Dimsa added 16 points and Johannes Voigtmann 13 points and seven rebounds. The Mitteldeutscher BC was led by Chris Otule with 16 points and Tashawn Thomas added 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 54% from the field and 33% from outside while the Mitteldeutscher BC shot 38% from the field and 18% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 34-24 and had 10 turnovers while MBC coughed up the ball 20 times. With the Fiba Europe Cup final 4 less than two weeks away, the Fraport Skyliners now have two big regular season ending tests against Oldenburg and Alba Berlin this coming weekend. Jordan Theodore will be back against Oldenburg and warns that it won´t be a cake walk. “It will be a tough game. They have a big winning streak and we remember they beat us in their place. I am looking forward to playing against my brother Scott Machado. The team that does the dirty work and has the will will win this game”, said Jordan Theodore.