For a short time it looked as if the inevitable would happen and Alba Berlin’s three-pointer rate would fall into the normal range. After nine successful distance throws, attempts by Louis Olinde, Tamir Blatt and Jonas Mattisseck landed on the ring. Bamberg shortened a bit, the audience got a little louder again, but the Franconians’ mental upswing didn’t last long. A few seconds before half-time, Blatt hit a wide three, Alba went into the break with a 25-point lead.
As in the first two games of the quarter-final series in Berlin, a class difference was also evident in Bamberg. The Berliners dominated from the first minute and after the 103:70 (27:18, 34:18, 23:18, 19:16) they are early in the semifinals on Thursday evening. There they meet the giants Ludwigsburg, who also beat Ulm 3-0. Alba starts with two home games on Friday and Sunday next week.
As feared, Alba had to do without some important players. Luke Sikma was suffering from the after-effects of a flu, Johannes Thiemann had a knee injury and Marcus Eriksson was still recovering from a stubborn foot injury. Ben Lammers was back in the squad for the first time after his muscular problems. Oscar da Silva was allowed to play in his favorite position as power forward and quickly showed that he also feels comfortable from beyond the three-pointer line.
On Thursday, after the minute’s silence for the late Ademola Okulaja, this applied to all Berliners. With the exception of centers Ben Lammers and Christ Koumadje, all Alba players scored at least one three-pointer and at times with odds of 12 out of 14 it looked as if the defending champion could not miss at all. Bamberg let himself be infected by the opponent’s tactics and also tried more from a distance, albeit with much less success. The hosts were much more dangerous in the zone, but they rarely took advantage of that.
The many missed shots in Bamberg played Alba into the cards. After rebounds, the Berliners always had room for their fast counterattacks. Maodo Lo in particular was brimming with enthusiasm and Jaleen Smith showed why he was named the league’s most valuable player last season. Within 55 seconds, the American guard sank three three-pointers and thus increased the lead to 20 points for the first time at the beginning of the second quarter.