Brose Bamberg had nothing to fight for, whereas Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul could have squandered its last chance to qualify for the playoffs. The team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri put up a great and tough battle against a squad worth millions, but was not rewarded in the end and lost its penultimate home game in the Euroleague by 97:99 as a result of eight points by their former teammate Brad Wanamaker in overtime.
Even before the tip-off, Istanbul’s playmaker Brad Wanamaker was greeted with loud applause on his “return” to the Brose Arena. When, shortly afterwards, he drained his second bucket from beyond the arc to put his side 11:10 ahead, the crowd in the stands was noticeably quieter. After that, Bamberg’s Maodo Lo came into his own in the playmaker position: The 23-year-old scored four out of four lay-ups as well as a three to chalk up 11 out of his total haul of 13 points to help Bamberg move 22:14 in front at the end of the first period. The secret highlight of the game came from Daniel Theis at the start of the second period when the Bamberg giant blocked three attempted lay-ups by Istanbul’s young center Ante Zizic. And everything went like clockwork for Bamberg in offense, with great passes by Nikos Zisis, whose 11 assists mean he has now moved into fifth in the all-time Euroleague rankings with 805 assists. Zisis first set up Veremeenko, then the Greek player found the free-standing Lucca Staiger, Jerel McNeal and Fabien Causeur, who buried their buckets from downtown to enable Bamberg to extend its lead to 33:19. However, Wanamaker and the former Ulm player Will Clyburn reduced the deficit to 40:29 by half-time.
After the break, Istanbul was far more aggressive in defense, also because the referees were more lenient toward the visitors in defense than to Bamberg. Trinchieri’s team conceded a number of turnovers, which Istanbul capitalized on to slash the lead to 58:55 going into the final quarter. After Istanbul went in front for the second time in the encounter (58:60), the game turned into a real nail-biter. Nicolo Melli (8 points) and top scorer Fabien Causeur (15) recaptured the lead, but it was Brad Wanamaker of all players who made it clear that he wanted to preserve his side’s chance of advancing to the playoffs. That meant the visitors had to win this key game. Daniel Theis (11 points) put Bamberg 84:79 ahead with 65 seconds to go, but two passes from Wanamaker enabled Istanbul to tie the scores at 84:84 and force the game into overtime. The lead changed hands six times in overtime, then Wanamaker made it 96:99 for the visitors with his 30th point and the final attempted three by Darius Miller only hit the hoop.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “Congratulations to Istanbul. I can’t reproach my players. We fought and had big plays. But to be honest, it’s slowly becoming a little boring commenting on this type of game. Anyone who knows a bit about basketball has a very clear picture before their eyes. There are things we simply cannot contend against and can’t overcome. But I’m proud of my team. Everyone fought. Eleven players played and everyone gave their all. I can’t ask for any more. We had a real chance to win against a team that needed a win at all costs to stay in the race. I’m really proud. We have to swallow it. We’ll return home with a boost to our confidence. The result is the least of my problems. That’s a problem for others ...“