Brose Baskets are a match for Europe’s top teams: after two clear defeats on the road against Khimki and CSKA in Moscow, the team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri made amends in the Euroleague by defeating the 2010 champions FC Barcelona by 74:70 in the Brose Arena. The game, in which both sides exhibited outstanding tactics and defending, was evenly poised until into the fourth period, but then the German champs opened up a twelve-point gap and managed to hold on to a narrow lead.
Right from the tip-off, both sides – who were equal on points in the table – served notice that they would not give each other a millimeter of space in view of the fact that the loser would drop into the bottom half of the group of eight teams. “Barca” went ahead, but Elias Harris (9 points) countered strongly and got his team back into the game with five successive points (5:5). Although Bamberg went ahead through Nicolo Melli (11:10), the team from Catalonia moved 17:13 in front by the end of the period, one reason being that Trinchieri players only scored off just one-third of the shots they had set up so wonderfully. Janis Strelnieks’ bucket from beyond the arc, Bamberg’s first three after five misses, was the wake-up call for Brose Baskets. Trailing by 18:24, the home side produced a run of 10 without reply with lay-ups by Nikos Zisis (7 points, 4 assists) and a three by Brad Wanamaker to snatch a 28:24 lead. The German champions were able to hold on to the lead by the break thanks to the next buckets from outside by Darius Miller and Nicolo Melli (35:32).
Both teams impressed with incredibly good defending; the home side made hardly any mistakes at the back and did not concede any easy points to Barca’s stars. Whereas Barcelona’s shooting percentage declined as the game went on thanks to Bamberg’s defense, the home side scored all the more when it found the gaps: top scorer Janis Strelnieks (16 points) and Daniel Theis (11) drained two threes in a row, after which Darius Miller (15) followed suit to make it 50:41. The visitors now perceptibly intensified their defending and, by constantly closing down the Bamberg player with the ball, were able to close the deficit to 53:50 by the end of the quarter. And precisely when Barcelona sensed it was back in with a chance that Nicolo Melli blocked the easy lay-up from Alex Abrines. The Bamberg 6,800 responded with standing ovations, especially when seconds later Melli produced his next block in defense to thwart the 2.17-meter giant Ante Tomic. At the other end, Darius Miller and Janis Strelnieks stretched the lead to 68:53 with three minutes to go, but Barcelona did not give up and, thanks to an uncustomary full-court press, cut the gap to 70:60 with 70 seconds to play and to 74:70 at the end – Bamberg had pulled off a sensational victory.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “A great win! We’ve defeated a Final Four team, FC Barcelona. That’s why I told my players they had given the city a great victory today. We played at an incredibly high pace, with crazy intensity, and didn’t let our mistakes drive us mad. And we held Barcelona to 70 points – that was an exemplary performance in defense by the whole team. We were physically shattered after the two games in Russia. The win today doesn’t mean a lot in the big picture, but it shows we’re breathing again.”
Brose Baskets face their next encounter in the Beko German Basketball League on Sunday, February 7, 2016, when Walter Tigers Tübingen comes to the Brose Arena (tip-off: 5 p.m.). They won the game on the road earlier in the season by 98:88.
For more information visit www.brosebaskets.de, www.euroleague.net and www.beko-bbl.de.