The reigning champs seem to have got into their stride in the playoffs. After the 92:93 home defeat in game one four days ago, Brose Bamberg chalked up a clear 87:71 victory at Telekom Baskets Bonn in the second quarter-final encounter. The team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri has now tied the series at 1:1.
Nikos Zisis was not on court in the opening game due to injury, but the experienced playmaker was back in the starting five, meaning Trinchieri left Jerel McNeal out of the squad. The Greek veteran played the main part in helping Bamberg seize a lightning 7:0 lead thanks to four points of his own and two great passes. Indeed, the defending champions’ points guards put on a great display in the first period: The trio of Zisis (9 points), Fabien Causeur (14) and Janis Strelnieks (7) accounted for 18 of their side’s 25 points in the opening ten minutes. Trailing by 18:11, Bonn cut the deficit to 18:17, but then Bamberg sparked a run that as good as sealed the encounter. It led 25:19 after the first quarter and its run of 8:1 straddling the periods gave it a double-digit lead for the first time (30:20). Andrea Trinchieri brought on sharpshooter Lucca Staiger for the first time in the quarter-final series – and the three-point specialist promptly drained all four of his four buckets from beyond the arc up to the break. Bamberg’s other players likewise finally rediscovered their old strength in shooting from downtown: Nine out of sixteen attempts from outside hit the mark, a percentage of 56. The reward was a clear 55:35 lead at half-time.
Unlike in game one, the title-holders were also impressive in defense. Bonn found Bamberg’s tight covering tough to crack and the home side’s outstanding 3-point field goal percentage of 53 from game one dropped to 35 this time. It was certain that Bamberg would tie the series at 1:1 at the latest when Bonn’s playmaker Josh Mayo, who up to then had been on court the whole time in both encounters, had to retire with a strained thigh muscle. Bamberg stretched its lead to 72:49 by the end of the third period, also thanks to top scorer Daniel Theis (15 points). In the final quarter, Trinchieri took off many of his regular players and so Bonn was able to put a better complexion on the final score.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “It was a deserved win. We defended excellently for 38 minutes. And we also moved the ball well. Although we were without a number of players at an early stage because they were at risk of fouling out, the team coped with that well and showed we can play better than we did last Saturday. Now it’s a best-of-three series.”
The third quarter-final game against Telekom Baskets Bonn is in the Brose Arena on Sunday (tip-off: 3 p.m.).