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Beko German Basketball League playoffs: Brose Baskets win 91:79 and now have match ball

Bamberg, 06-14.2015

Brose Baskets need just one more victory to crown an outstanding season. With a 91:79 win over title-holders FC Bayern Munich, the team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri took a deserved 2:1 lead in the playoff series in the final of the German championship. Bamberg can lift the seventh league title in the club’s history in the Audi Dome in Munich on Wednesday.

Brose Baskets got off to a dream start: a slam-dunk by Elias Harris, as well as two buckets from beyond the arc by Brad Wanamaker and Karsten Tadda gave the home side an 8:0 lead after two minutes – and the sold-out Brose Arena went wild. However, the defending champions from Munich quickly switched to zone defense, with the result that the home side failed to finish a number of attacks and Bayern reduced the deficit and even went 14:15 in front. Despite the visitors leading 26:22 at one stage and a brilliant display by Bayern’s center John Bryant (18 points in the first half), Trinchieri’s team was not discouraged. The strong second half and win in Munich had boosted its confidence again, especially when it came to shooting from outside: Top scorer Janis Strelnieks (16 points), Ryan Thompson and Brad Wanamaker kept their side in the game despite its fairly weak defending and better rebounding by Bayern (18:12). After the lead had changed hands nine times, both teams went in at half-time with the scores tied at 44:44.

It was again Bamberg that got off to the better start after the break: First of all, Dawan Robinson made a lay-up himself, then set up Daniel Theis beautifully (48:44). The visitors struck back with a three and points 19 and 20 from the strong center John Bryant to make it 48:49. Yet those were not only to be the last points the Bayern giant would score, but also the last time the reigning champions were to take the lead. Bamberg’s defense was now incredibly efficient – with alternating man-to-man covering, the home side above all took Bryant out of the game and so made important stops at the back and used that as a springboard to launch many fast attacks. Darius Miller also began to find his range: after four misses, the American scored two buckets from outside in the space of a minute to make it 56:49, captain Brad Wanamaker (14 points) added a lay-up, Trevor Mbakwe buried his free throws and Elias Harris completed Bamberg’s run of 14 without reply (62:49). The 6,800 Bamberg fans feted their team – “Freak City” moved into top form, both on court and in the stands. In particular, center Trevor Mbakwe turned on the heat and, in the duel with Bayern’s John Bryant, produced one of his best performances for Brose Baskets, especially in the second half: apart from 13 points and 9 rebounds, Mbakwe supplied three assists, stole the ball from Munich four times and blocked four shots. With his offensive rebound and tip-in in the last second of the third period, he also ensured that Bamberg went into the final quarter with a double-digit lead. The reigning champs summoned up all their resolve to avert the impending defeat and managed to cut the gap to 70:62. To the cheers of their fans, Brose Baskets again produced a flurry of threes: Brad Wanamaker, Ryan Thompson (15 points) and Darius Miller drained three buckets from beyond the arc in the space of 70 seconds to make it 79:64 with seven minutes remaining. The home side held on to this lead brilliantly and, at the latest three minutes before the end, the game was decided with the lay-up by Trevor Mbakwe (88:70). All Bayern could do was put a better complexion on the final scoreline of 91:79.

Andrea Trinchieri commented: “We came out well after the break and went into the third period with a lot of intensity. We also played well in defense and robbed Munich of the chance of snapping up offensive rebounds. That took the pressure off us, especially because we allowed John Bryant to party in our zone in the first half. It’s like in chess: we’re one move on, but just one move. We have to improve two things. We mustn’t concede technical fouls and in general need to improve our foul management. Both of them aren’t good for our game.”

Brose Baskets can capture the German championship against title-holders FC Bayern Munch in game four on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, with just one more win. The game tips off in the Audi Dome in Munich at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast live in TV on sport1 and in a live stream at telekombasketball.de.

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