An important win on the road in the Euroleague and an annoying, but not devastating away defeat in the German Basketball League are the upshot from Brose Baskets’ recent “two-game weekend.” Bamberg finished its eleven-day spell of five competitive games – termed the “NBA week” by the team – with a vital 90:73 victory against Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari on Friday evening and a narrow 86:88 loss at Fraport Skyliners on Sunday afternoon.
Sassari was under huge pressure after losing four straight games in the Euroleague and so put up stiff resistance against Brose Baskets, especially in the opening minutes. Although Bamberg was the better side with its fast passing in offense, whereas the Italian club’s moves tended to be geared toward solo actions, 13 losses of possession by the team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri meant it trailed 14:21 at the end of the first period. In the second quarter, Brose Baskets’ passing improved and they took a narrow 36:34 lead in at half-time thanks to strong scenes by Janis Strelnieks and Daniel Theis. In particular the former Berlin player David Logan came out of the dressing room like a whirlwind and drained several wild buckets from beyond the arc to help put Sassari 49:42 ahead after 25 minutes. Bamberg’s Italian player Nicolo Melli then put his stamp on the game: the 24-year-old followed up an important three to make it 45:49 by adding two lay-ups to enable his side to tie the scores at 52:52. In the closing 40 seconds of the third period, Trinchieri’s team managed to produce a 8:0 run to move 60:53 ahead. With its aggressive defending, Bamberg uncompromisingly kept the Sardinian club away from its basket in the final quarter and pulled further and further away thanks to many buckets from outside. Top scorer Nicolo Melli added three more threes in his haul of 26 points to help give his side a commanding 90:73 win and put it in a great position after the first round of group games to advance to the Top 16.
However, the strong, but energy-sapping win in the Euroleague on Sardinia took its toll on Brose Baskets in the German league on Sunday afternoon: Despite an incredible gala performance by playmaker Brad Wanamaker (36 points), the German champions lost on the road to Fraport Skyliners by 88:86. Although Frankfurt is also in the EuroChallenge, it had five days to prepare for the tussle against Bamberg and mercilessly exploited the short time its opponents had to recover from their travels. It was noticeable that Brose Baskets, in its fifth game in the space of eleven days, lacked zest and concentration and so they soon fell 8:18 behind. They conceded turnovers and traveling violations and were sometimes a step too late in defense. Although the German champs closed the gap and then even went 36:34 ahead thanks to Janis Strelnieks, who a little later twisted his ankle and did not come back on court, two technical fouls were then awarded against Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri, who expressed his annoyance at the petty decisions by the referees, especially against his side in defense. The resultant free throws enabled Frankfurt to open up a 48:40 gap at the break, which it extended to 80:65 by midway through the fourth period. Playmaker Brad Wanamaker then took the game by the scruff of its neck, often stormed to the basket on his own and made the lay-ups or added free throws after being fouled, drained four out of his five buckets from beyond the arc and, with his 16 points in the space of four-and-a-half minutes, helped his side cut the deficit to just 83:86. However, Lucca Staiger missed the chance to equalize with twelve seconds left on the clock and Frankfurt replied by adding two free throws. Wanamaker’s final three to make it 86:88 with one second to go only put a better complexion on the final score.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “We produced a very stable performance in Sassari and struck back well after Logan came out of the dressing room all fired up. That was a great success for us in the Euroleague, where winning on the road is never easy. However, Frankfurt was better than us. My players had a bad day and little energy and concentration. But I know we’ll respond to our mistakes. I hope the referees also do the same. We’re all part of the same business and bear responsibility. My players are accountable to me and I’m accountable to the club. But who do the referees answer to?”
Brose Baskets now face Unicaja Malaga, the Group D leaders in the Euroleague, Europe’s top club competition, on Friday, November 20, 2015 (tip-off: 8 p.m.). The Spanish side, which narrowly beat Bamberg at home by 76:71, are the only unbeaten team in the whole of the Euroleague after a surprisingly clear 86:78 victory on the road against CSKA Moscow.