Beko BBL Game of the Week – Brose Baskets 100 ALBA BERLIN 90
Stechert Arena, Bamberg April 22 – A game that was considered a finals preview, turned out to be a statement for the two-time defending champions Brose Baskets.
PJ Tucker scored 24 points, Tibor Pleiss and Brian Roberts added 19 and 18 points respectively, as Bamberg defeated ALBA BERLIN 100-90 in the Beko BBL Game of the Week.
“I’m satisfied as a whole with how the game went,” said Baskets coach Chris Fleming to Sport Eagle after the game. “It was important coming off the loss last week, that we got into a rhythm offensively and back into playoff form.”
And right from the start, Tucker led the team, hitting his first shot, a three-pointer, and then a field goal. Berlin got right back and tied the game but they were careless at key moments, turning over the ball, which led to easy buckets on the other side.
Casey Jacobsen hit a trey to break the final tie, making it 18-15 and Julius Jenkins’ free throws and three-pointer made it 25-15. That was enough of a cushion for the champs.
“Against this type of team, you can’t turn the ball over,” admitted ALBA coach Gordon Herbert. “You can’t give them easy baskets, they are good enough as it is.”
During stretches, Berlin were allowing the Baskets to run up and down the court, building on the lead, however last year’s second place finisher always managed to keep it close and exciting.
Tucker was the go-to-guy, hitting shots, getting the steals or rebounds to start a fastbreak. At halftime, the Baskets held a 12 point lead. The former Texas Longhorn hit treys at the restart to build a 60-42 lead.
Down 18 points, ALBA power forward Derrick Allen scored six points and teammate Kyle Weaver hit a three-pointer to bring it back to 62-53. The run would continue when Heiko Schaffartzik hit all three of his free-throws and it looked like Berlin would take control, only down 68-64. But a bucket and a free-throw by Marcus Slaughter, who followed up with another field goal, extended the lead.
In the fourth, Tucker was the in the middle again. First an alleyoop to Slaughter brought the house down and the lead up to 13 points. Allen made another small run and a DeShaun Wood trey got it to 81-76.
Tucker answered that with a dunk, Wood jacked another one from long distance, but Tucker was there again with a bucket that removed any doubt that the Baskets were going to take this one.
“This game was a huge statement for us going into the playoffs,” added Tucker. “Last weekend was tough, no excuses, but we made some adjustments and come out tonight that we are still the top team in the league.”
“The one positive is that we never gave up and we dug in,” said Herbert. “We played the best team in Germany, they are a measuring stick for us and the other teams in the league.”
Berlin’s loss drops them to third in the standings and allows ratiopharm ulm to sneak back up to second and hold home court advantage if they are to meet in the semi-finals. ALBA host the New Yorker Phantoms from Braunschweig Saturday night, who will be fighting for a spot in the playoffs, so their last game won’t be a cake walk.
Brose will aim for another undefeated season at home when they host BBC Bayreuth on the final day of the regular season.
Both Fleming and Herbert admitted their teams played a level that would indicate they will meet again for the championship, but both were quick to say that there is a lot of basketball to be played to even start thinking about it. But if today was a preview, then fans should expect a blockbuster come June.