Brose Bamberg is again hurtling towards the championship title. After the 96:60 show of force in the first encounter four days ago, the defending champs also won game two on the road at EWE Baskets Oldenburg by 88:76. The team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri now needs just one victory to clinch the ninth championship in the club’s history.
Oldenburg exploited its home court advantage to put up tough resistance against Bamberg to begin with in the first period. The visitors quickly led 13:6, but the home side – in front of 6,000 fans – struck back to close the deficit to just one point (17:16). Yet in the space of a minute, the reigning champions pulled away to make it 24:16 at the end of the period thanks to a slam-dunk from Theis, a bucket from downtown by Miller and free throws by Staiger. Indeed, it was Bamberg’s excellent 3-point field goal percentage that tamed Oldenburg: Eight of the first 11 shots from outside hit their mark (72%!). The outstanding playmaker Fabien Causeur (21 points) drained two threes right at the start of the second quarter to make it 30:17. And even when Oldenburg’s players and their nimble hands forced Bamberg into making a numerous mistakes in offense and cut the gap to 32:26, the visitors again needed just three quick ball movements around the entire opposing defense for Janis Strelnieks (14 points) and Nicolo Melli to bury threes and make it 40:26. Captain Elias Harris burrowed his way through under the basket to add three lay-ups (48:32).
The home side fought tenaciously and aggressively at the start of the third period, but Bamberg refused to be shaken. With their quick passing, Trinchieri’s players kept on finding a free man at the arc and so Nicolo Melli and Daniel Theis had completely open shots on several occasions – which the German international capitalized on to put his side more than 20 points in front for the first time (64:42). With a clear lead in its back, however, Bamberg slackened its intensity in defense again and Oldenburg’s “stalwart” Rickey Paulding drained two threes to the cheers of the home fans to cut the deficit to 70:53 before the end of the period. When the home side even made it 73:62 after 33 minutes, Coach Andrea Trinchieri called a timeout and gave his players a loud talk to restore more order and discipline. Old hand Nikos Zisis then put his stamp on the encounter: The Greek player first scored a three, then played fine passes, which Darius Miller (12 points) and Janis Strelnieks exploited to drain the next buckets from beyond the arc and as good as seal the game. The strong Nicolo Melli (18 points) then drained his fifth three out of five attempts to make it 86:69, after which the title-holders played out the game in relaxed fashion.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “A magnificent game with a magnificent atmosphere! We prepared well for this game, we played cleverly and were consistent in defense for 35 minutes. We then slackened a bit, but that’s all too human when you’re ahead by more than 20 points. You can never control a game completely. We made our open shots because we moved the ball well. I expect Oldenburg to give everything in game 3. That’ll be a tough encounter for us.”
The third game in the final of the German championship will be held in the Brose Arena in Bamberg on Sunday, June 11, 2017, and tips off at 5:15 p.m. If Bamberg wins, it will defend its title and capture its ninth championship since 2005.