On the Brink
EWE Baskets Oldenburg will try to avoid sweep in BEKO BBL Finals
Oldenburg – For a series that is about to end so quickly, it is hard to find two teams that are so close. If only for a few plays, for a few minutes, we may be looking at a tied series going into Game 3 today. Unfortunately for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg, the plays have gone against them and they are staring into a summer thinking of what might have been.
The three-time defending champs Brose Baskets of Bamberg are looking to finish off the BEKO Basketball Bundesliga Finals today at home and chances are at they will. Their opponents are hoping to extend it to at least one more game. And they feel they know how.
Looking at two key stats – rebounds and shooting percentage, one would think the series should be tied, maybe even 2-0 for the challengers. In both games, Oldenburg has won the rebounding battle (37-34, 12-8 offensive rebounds in Game 1; 49-38 in Game 2) and despite the poor numbers, both teams have shot even (Bamberg edging out 40-39% and 34-33% each game). Oh, and another stat – Oldenburg are not intimidated, holding leads in both games.
“Our defense was outstanding in both games, we won the rebound matchup,” said Oldenburg head coach Sebastian Machowski. “If we can keep Bamberg again to a low offensive output we will be yet in another position to beat them.”
That they have done – put themselves in that moment to beat them, but why haven’t they won?
“We have had our chances,” lamented Julius Jenkins, who came into the Finals as the postseason’s leading scorer. “They haven’t done anything special. I’ve had my chances and a lot of good looks at the basket but shots didn’t fall. (And) it’s all defense. All we needed to do is stop them but as a team we didn’t get that done!”
To get it done, a team has to protect the homecourt. Oldenburg is a team that played tremendously at home during the season, they continued it at the beginning of Game 2 going up by 14 points at halftime. But then their offense stopped scoring, Bamberg used a 16-4 third quarter to get back in the game and then clutch shooting dropped EWE. Brose had done it before, holding Bayern Basketball to only six points in the fourth quarter of Game 3 in the semifinals.
“We lost our rhythm offensively,” analyzed Machowski after watching the game film. “We worked very well in defense and allowed again few points. But too many unforced errors, missed free throws and not knocking down open shots cost us a great chance to tie the series.”
Oldenburg won’t tie the series with a win today, they can definitely extend the series and take their chances again at home. Can they overcome the raucous Stechert Arena crowd, self-proclaimed “Freak City”?
Former Bamberg player Jenkins doesn’t make a guarantee, but an insight. “To win game 3 we have to control the rebounds and limit them to one shot and no second chances. On offense we just have to be aggressive and attack and take our shots when they are there!”
If not, the series is over and Bamberg completes the four-peat. Tip-off of Game 4 is at 16:05 CET.
BEKO BBL Finals – Best of Five, Brose Baskets lead 2-0
Game 1 at Bamberg, Brose Baskets 65 EWE Baskets 63
Game 2 at Oldenburg, Brose Baskets 63, EWE Baskets 61
Game 3 Today, June 16th 16:05 CET at Bamberg
Game 4* Wednesday, June 19th 18:35 CET at Oldenburg
Game 5* Sunday, June 23rd 15:35 CET at Bamberg
* if necessary
Road to the Finals
Quarterfinals def Phoenix Hagen 3-1
Semifinals def Bayern Basketball 3-2
EWE Baskets Oldenburg
Quarterfinals def Telekom Baskets Bonn 3-2
Seminfinals def ratiopharm ulm 3-2
Salman Mitha, Sport Eagle – Bamberg 3-2
Jens Huiber, Sportradio360.de – Bamberg 3-0
Lena Meyer, tZ Munich – Bamberg 3-1
Markus Krawinkel, Sky Deutschland – Bamberg 3-0
Patrick Reichelt, Münchener Merkur – Bamberg 3-1
Julian Galinski, Abendzeitung München – Bamberg 3-1
Jalapeno Munich, BEKO BBL Courtsider – Bamberg 3-1
Simone Sperduto, Sport Eagle – Bamberg 3-1
David Hein, heinnews.com – Bamberg 3-1
Florian Schmidt-Sommerfeld, m94.5 – Bamberg 3-1