The Deutsche Bank Skyliners continue to play prosperous Basketball winning their 12th game out of their last 15 games with a 61 to 57 result in Eurochallenge play against BC Kalev Cramo in front of 1,380 fans. The team continues to play as if they are on a rollercoaster ride enjoying the ride over and over and not letting the opponent on for any fun. The victory was not as spectacular like the Oldenburg game, but sometimes just scoring more points than the opponent is vital.'The most important thing gained today was getting a win. We arent satisfied with our play, but we are taking steps in the right direction', stressed a relieved American guard Jimmy McKinney (192-G-83, agency: Strategic Sports, college: Missouri). BC Kalev Cramo showed their fighting qualities, but couldnt combine that with the right touch from the free throw line. 'Personally I am extremely frustrated. We were battleling back in the end, but then to lose because we missed free throws just hurts. I blew it by not making free throws. I let my teammates down', said ex Leverkusner big man Nate Fox (206-F-77, agency: Pro One Sports, college: Maine). The game also marked the meeting with ex teammates Derrick Allen (203-F-80, agency: Pro One Sports, college: Mississippi) and Nate Fox, who played together in Leverkusen. 'It is always good to see Nate again. Nothing has changed. He still plays as well as he did at Leverkusen', explained American Derrick Allen. Ex Harlem Globetrotter John Linehan (175-G-78, college: Providence) of BC Kalev Cramo, who also currently is the NCAA alltime steal getter with 385 at Providence University returned back to Germany.' I like playing in Germany. Some years ago with Nancy, we beat Bamberg and Ksell Wesson by thirty points. This was a good Atmosphere in Frankfurt with great fan support'.The win puts The Deutsche Bank Skyliners in second place behind BC Kiev.'This was a good team effort. We played strong Basketball for 30 minutes', added Derrick Allen.
After The Deutsche Bank Skyliners had showcased almost perfect Basketball in the first quarter against Oldenburg, they shifted many gears back against BC Kalev as they came out with little fire power looking less like the consummate engine some days ago, but moreover like a frail machine looking for some buzz. BC Kalev went on a quick 8-0 lead as Frankfurt quickly recognized that John Linehan had been missing in the first game in Tallin. Linehan started with an assist to Kristjan Kangur (202-F-82), then made a steal leading to a Gregor Arbet (194-F/G-83) hoop and then made a three pointer. Frankfurt was already shooting as if the north pole had found a new home in the Ballsporthalle and with little intensity. After almost four scoreless minutes for Frankfurt, they finally got on the board as Pascal Roller (180-G-76) made a swift pass to American Anthony King (206-F/C, agency: Interperformances, college: Miami, FL), who finished with a two handed slam dunk. The Frankfurt defense was still trying to wake up as BC Kalev was getting easy buckets in the paint. After Kangur scored, Frankfurt found more daylight on offense and sped out on a 7-0 run to trail only 10-9. Pascal Roller hit a three pointer, Derrick Allen two free throws, and Anthony King made a heads up steal and fed American Jimmy fastbreak Mckinney for a layup
Howver BC Kalev finished the first quarter with a 6-2 run as American Josh Pace (198-G-83, agency: Dynasty Sports, college: Syracuse) came into the game and quickly showed why he led the CBA in scoring last season as he raced into traffic and finished with his left hand. Rait Keerles (201-F-80) scored on a layup as Nate Fox whistled a quick pass inside. American John Linehan finished with a layup with his left hand. BC Kalev led 16-11 after one quarter. The two biggest weak points of Frankfurt was their weak shooting of 16% from two point range and 33% from three point land. They also were inching back on defense instead of sprinting back as they were surprised time in and time out with quick outlet passes which led to baskets or fouls for BC Kalev. BC Kalev was also dominating the boards, which would soon change.
In the second quarter, the momentum of the game shifted into the hands of The Deutsche Bank Skyliners, as they seemed to become a step quicker in every action on the court. Coach Murat Didin inserted the experienced Titus Ivory (193-G-79, college: Penn St.), who had been in a shooting slump the last games, but had done a good job in other aspects of the game. He started by faking a shot and feeding American Lorenzo Gordon (201-F-83, agency: Hart Sports Mngm, college: Oklahoma City) inside for a hoop, then blocked Nate Fox, then hit a three pointer and continued to rebound. Frankfurt had gone on a 7-0 run, which had been ignited by Titus Ivory, who looked happy after the game even after a difficult practice on Monday.'I felt really good today. I had had a real bad day in practice as I had shot really poorly and my team had been a casualty. We have a very strong team, so practice is always tough. I came early before the Kalev game and told myself that it was just a game, to have fun and relax', stated American Titus Ivory. Frankfurt took its first lead 18-16 after a perfect timed alleyop pass from Jimmy McKinney to American Keith Simmons (196-G-85, college: Holy Cross). American Jimmy McKinney also was a spark plug in this phase of the game.' We started to control the game at this point after they jumped on us in the first quarter. We gained the intensity that we needed in the second quarter', explained Jimmy McKinney.
Frankfurt kept their high intensity and would finish the quarter on a 15-6 run. Frankfurt now decided to go inside to Lorenzo Gordon, who scored five baskets. He didnt have a simple matchup against the 11 kilo heavier Kevin Lyde (206-C-80, agency: Pro One Sports, college: Temple), but was able to get the job done. 'It was fun playing against Kevin. I was lucky against him and happy I only had to play once against him', said a modest Lorenzo Gordon. Gordon made a few tip ins as well as displaying his mini hook shot. 'Lorenzo was huge inside. Our game plan was to make their big men work', stated Titus Ivory. German Konrad Wysocki (202-F-82, agency: Pro One Sports, college: Princeton) also gave the gallery something to talk about with a sweet two handed dunk from the wing past Lyde. Frankfurt led 33 to 23. The stats seemed a bit curious at halftime as both teams shot an identical 22% from three point land, but BC Kalev was shooting more consistent from the field even though they were down by ten points. The big difference were the boards which Frankfurt was controlling 24 to 14. Nate Fox was too little a factor under the boards. 'We lost intensity in the second quarter. We were thinking too much instead of playing. We simply couldnt get back into the flow of the game', described American John Linehan.
Both teams fought to establish the tempo in the third quarter as both teams got their offense going. The big Frankfurt lead helped and it seemed like Frankfurt overall had more options as BC Kalev had a thinner bench. American 175cm guard John Linehan, who reminded one of the tiny ex NBA player Tyrone Bogues (159-G-65, college: Wake Forest) kept his club in the game, making a runner in the lane and a three pointer. Frankfurt led 37 to 28 and still seemed in control of the game, even if BC Kalev was not letting up, but getting stronger. After Kangur and Lyde scored, Frankfurt led only 39 to 32. Jimmy McKinney stepped up with his multi purpose game driving into the zone for two points and then sinking a three pointer. Frankfurt led again comfortably 44 to 34. BC Kalev was trying to comeback, but simply could not put together a string of consecutive defensive stops. A late quarter Pascal Roller three pointer helped as Frankfurt lost a little concentration on defense as BC Kalev went on a 8-3 run to close out the third quarter. After missing some three pointers, Nate Fox finally hit one and American Josh Pace hit a layup. Frankfurt still had the 47-42 lead, but BC Kalev were on the backs of Frankfurt just waiting for Frankfurt to stumble. Both teams were still shooting poorly from three point land, but Frankfurt was still controlling the boards 33-20.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners returned strong in the fourth quarter as Lorenzo Gordon drove by Nate Fox, who looked anything like a fox, but more like a snail. American Kevin Lyde responded in the zone with two easy points as the Frankfurt defense seemed like it was taking a coffee break. American Titus Ivory came in and quickly put on his own shooting clinic scoring with a three pointer and a mid distance jumper. Frankfurt led 54 to 44 and once again had the ten point cushion. However the Frankfurt defense were simply unable to leave BC Kalev scoreless for some minutes. They threatened again as Kevin Lyde made a tip in and Josh Pace scored on a spectacular move in the zone. After a Lorenzo Gordon hoop on a quick pass from Ilian Evtimov (201-F-83, agency: Interperformances, college: N.Carolina St.), BC Kalev made their final run and could of possibly won the game if they could of just had more luck at the free throw line. This was just a tough day for us from the line. We shot 9/22 from the free throw line and could of won had we shot better, stated American Kevin Lyde. American Josh Pace, who won the NCAA title in 2003 together with NBA star Carmelo Anthony (203-F-84, college: Syracuse)(Carmelo would beat me 7/10 times on one on one, said a humble Josh Pace) with Syracuse seemed unseeable at times on the court, but when it mattered most stepped up with huge hoops including a fade away jumper. That was followed by a Kangur hoop. Frankfurt still led 57 to 53, but BC Kalev were the hungrier team and were lurking to take the lead, but instead of taking the lead, continued to trail, because Nate Fox was unable to make free throws. Even though he was a 71% free throw shooter coming into the game, his 4/11 shooting from the line hurt his team greatly. Captain Pascal Roller sunk four free throws to give Frankfurt their second win in the Eurochallenge group. 'Our defense was good in the second half. We did a pretty good job containing Nate Fox and John Linehan and stopping their three point attempts', added Derrick Allen. 'Their defense was ok, but not spectacular. They disrupted our offense and we missed open shots and free throws', commented John Linehan.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were led by American Lorenzo Gordon with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Pascal Roller chipped in with 10 points. He is still looking for his shot, but even if it isnt there, he still receives a lot of respect from his opponents. 'Pascal is a real good player. He didnt hit well tonight, but he is always a threat on the court and you cant lose sight of him. He is always under control', said John Linehan. BC Kalev were led by Kevin Lyde with 13 points and seven rebounds. Americans Josh Pace and John Linehan chipped in with ten points a piece.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners played a good game, but cant block out the fact that they most likely would of lost, if BC Kalev had shot better from the Free Throw line. Frankfurt shot a miserable 18% from three point land and can be happy that BC Kalev was a bit worse at 16%. Both teams shot near 40% from two point range, which also is poor. Frankfurt continue to make big strides under the basket as they dominated the rebounding 43 to 32.' We played great defense at times. Our strong rebounding was a plus and we limited them often to one shot which was important', said American Jimmy McKinney.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners almost finished with a perfect December record in the Ballsporthalle leaving 2008 with a 4-1 record in the last month of the year and sending all Skyliner faithful home with huge grins. Not only is Frankfurt strong in the BBL, but they are starting to erase their image as a team that cant win in international games. After going years without winning and going 23 games with out a win, they have built a successful 5-2 record in international games the past months. Frankfurt now has two away games remaining in the Eurochallenge against BC Kiev and Triumph Moscow. Not only are teams taking notice in the BBL, but also outside Germany. 'Frankfurt is well coached and made many personal adjustments from last season like bringing in a clutch player like Titus Ivory. They are a good team with strong chemistry. They will defiantly make noise this season', warned American Nate Fox. Frankfurt close out the 2008 year with the famous Hessen Derby against Giessen this weekend where a lot of noise will be made by the fans. 'I am looking forward to the game in Giessen and seeing Simon Cote again. It is never easy to play in Giessen as there is always a lot of energy with the fans', warned Jimmy McKinney. The Giessen 46ers host The Deutsche Bank Skyliners on Saturday December 20th at 20:00.