What a strong way to finish 2016! Brose Bamberg has become the hottest team in the Euroleague over the last four weeks thanks to a 90:75 win on the road against the reigning Eurocup champions Galatasaray Istanbul. Four victories in five games mean that Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri’s players have narrowed to gap to a playoff berth to just one win.
In the final game of the calendar year, Trinchieri was again without Elias Harris through knee injury, but also did not include new signing Jerel McNeal in the squad. In the opening spell, his team had problems coping with Tibor Pleiß under the basket: The former Bamberg player notched up seven points in the first few minutes, but also soon had two fouls to his name. However, Bamberg was superior to Istanbul in offense in particular. Fabien Causeur again displayed his strong form of the past weeks and chalked up 12 of his total of 15 points by the break. And following his incredible bucket from beyond the arc against Bayreuth four days earlier, the Latvian player Janis Strelnieks shot a truly “galactic” buzzer-beating three from his own half: The ball hit the board and dropped through the hoop to make the score 24:19 for Bamberg and bring an evenly matched first period to a close. Although Istanbul reduced the deficit to 36:34, Bamberg seized control of the game in the space of two-and-half minutes thanks to Maodo Lo, Darius Miller and Fabien Causeur to go in at half-time leading by 47:38.
Galatasaray struck back after the break through Tibor Pleiß, who added six straight points to close the gap to 47:44. Yet Trinchieri’s players did not let that intimidate them – on the contrary. Bamberg tightened up its defense, forcing Galatasaray to take poor shots and concede possession. And up front, the visitors displayed their prowess from downtown: Darius Miller, Nicolo Melli (10 points), Fabien Causeur and Nikos Zisis (11 points) produced a torrent of threes – a 13:0 run meant the lead increased to 62:45 after 27 minutes and even to 74:52 at the end of the fantastic period (27:14). Nikos Zisis drained the next bucket from outside at the start of the final period to make it 77:52 – the game was long over. Galatasaray’s fans then mercilessly booed their team in the sparsely populated Abdi Ipeki Arena. Since Bamberg slackened its pace significantly in the final period, the Turkish team was able to put a better complexion on the final score. Top scorer Janis Strelnieks (18 points) with his fifth out of seven threes and Daniel Theis (14 points, 14 rebounds) with a slam-dunk brought the scoring to an end for Bamberg.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “We played very cleverly and let the ball run well. You need to drain your threes to win on the road and we created a lot of open shots. We were stable, apart from in the last three minutes, but I can’t reproach my players for that. We deserved to win and I’m very happy. We never gave up hope when we lost six games by one or two points. We kept on working hard and now things are changing a little. I only wish we had another game tomorrow! Because we’re now where we want to be.”
Trinchieri’s team now faces FC Barcelona in the Brose Arena on January 5 (tip-off: 8 p.m.). The club from Catalonia is just one win ahead of it, so a win would mean that Brose Bamberg is right among the contenders for a playoff place in the Euroleague.