In its final Euroleague game of the season, Brose Bamberg lost 86:106 at Real Madrid after trailing narrowly by 50:53 at half-time. Just 46 hours later, the reigning German champions managed to chalk up an important 83:76 victory on the road at Bremerhaven Polar Bears and so cut the gap to fourth spot in the German Basketball League to one loss.
Brose Bamberg finished its Euroleague season with 11 wins and 19 defeats – the second-best performance in Europe’s top club competition in Bamberg’s history. The encounter at Real Madrid on the 30th matchday was evenly poised at half-time, but ended in a clear 86:106 victory for the home side, also due to the fact that Head Coach Luca Banchi rested his key players, since the outcome had no bearing on either team’s position in the table. Both teams did not play to their full force, especially in defense, with the result that Banchi’s team was even 28:27 in front after the first period after trailing 0:7 at the start. Aleksej Nikolic and Daniel Hackett even stretched the gap to 35:29, but then the home side started shooting more accurately and overtook Bamberg seconds before the break (50:53). In the second half, the visitors were not able to maintain the performance they had displayed in offense in the first two periods and so lost clearly, despite 17 points by Daniel Hackett and 16 by Dejan Musli.
One of the reasons for that was that Banchi conserved the strength of his team, which – as in the past games – was without the quartet of Hickman, Harris, Heckmann and Taylor, for the upcoming German league encounter at Bremerhaven Polar Bears. Nevertheless, Bamberg needed twenty minutes to get into the game at all, trailing by 5:15 at the outset, but then closing the deficit to 18:19. However, Bremerhaven pulled away again to 28:37 midway through the second quarter, abetted by a number of turnovers. The champions trailed by just 39:46 at half-time thanks to a strong shooting percentage from the foul line: 16 out of 16 attempts! Bamberg defended better after the break and had a playmaker on court who seized control of the game: Nikos Zisis. The Greek player made all of his 15 points – including three buckets from downtown – in the third period. The visitors tied the scores at 55:55 after 27 minutes, but the Polar Bears struck back again to move 62:63 ahead going into the final period. And it was dominated by Dorell Wright. His third bucket from beyond the arc in the game gave Bamberg the lead for the first time (67:66), yet Bremerhaven continued to put up a fight and tied the scores at 76:76 with 43 seconds remaining. However, Wright – the top scorer with 30 points – decided the game in Bamberg’s favor. With just four seconds left to finish the attack, the NBA veteran out-dribbled his Bremerhaven marker to drain his fifth three and put his side 79:76 in front. The American defused Bremerhaven’s last two attacks, first by snapping up a defensive rebound and then with a strong steal – in both cases accompanied by a foul by Bremerhaven, resulting in four points from the foul line to seal victory.
Bamberg now face an Upper Franconian derby against Medi Bayreuth on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. A win by more than ten points would mean it has the better aggregate and would overtake Bayreuth in the table.