Twelve points, 32 points, 25 points – the three previous games between Alba Berlin and Bamberg this season do not exactly give reason to believe in an upset in the first round of the play-offs. As in the main round, the defending champions also dominated the first quarter-final against Franconia on Friday at will. In the end it was 114:89 in an extremely entertaining exchange of blows. Nevertheless, the Berliners warn against underestimating the opponent before the second duel on Sunday (6 p.m., Max-Schmeling-Halle, live on Magentasport and Sport1).
“They’re 1-0 down and we’re first in the main round, so there’s no pressure on them. It’s a dangerous situation,” said captain Luke Sikma. His deputy Jonas Mattisseck also assumes that Bamberg will show a reaction. “The good thing about the playoffs, from their point of view, is that every game is new,” says Mattisseck. “We’re not going into the next game at 25.”
It was a very atypical play-off game that both teams played at the start. Normally, in the decisive phase of the season, the action gets tougher, the defenses more attentive, the pace a bit slower. The opposite was the case on Friday. Bamberg got involved in an open exchange of blows, both teams acted with absurd speed – and you can’t normally win a game like that against Alba. This was also evident in the first quarterfinals.
After a balanced start, Alba excelled with creativity, accuracy and speed. Never before in their more than 30-year club history have the Berliners scored more points in a play-off game. “The fact that there were so many points from both sides today was not due to poor defense, but because it was so high for both sides until the end,” said Alba coach Israel Gonzalez, who commented on his team’s performance in their twelfth win in episode was satisfied.
It looked very different with his Bamberg colleague. “We scored almost 90 points ourselves and against one of the best defense teams in Europe. But we didn’t have the right mental attitude. We weren’t on the same level as Alba,” said Bamberg’s coach Oren Amiel. In the second duel he will certainly encourage his team to focus more on the defensive and probably take a little less risk.
The Berliners don’t have much reason for changes and want to use the self-confidence of the last few weeks to earn a quick match point. With a home win on Sunday, Alba would have the chance to get the decisive third win in the “Best-of-Five” series in Bamberg on Thursday. Captain Sikma still has some ideas for improvement: “We have to get a little better defensively.”