On Sunday, the play-offs really started for the Alba Berlin basketball players. Their first quarter-final game (114:89) on Friday against Brose Bamberg was nothing short of offensive fireworks, with the defensive usually dominating the basketball play-offs. And that’s how it happened on Sunday, when the bottom of the table from Bamberg tried to throw the Berlin team out of their minds.
“It stayed physical until the end and thank God we resisted,” said Alba professional Oscar Da Silva (14 points) after the 97:85 (47:34) in the Max-Schmeling-Halle. Maodo Lo was the best thrower for the Berliners with 16 points. Alba coach Israel Gonzalez’s team is now leading 2-0 in the quarter-final series and can advance to the semi-finals with another win in the third game on Thursday in Bamberg.
Alba Berlin had to do without center players Ben Lammers (muscular problems) and Luke Sikma (illness). “We spread their absence across the shoulders,” said Oscar da Silva. Johannes Thiemann in particular stood out with 13 rebounds and 13 points.
Eleven fouls by Bamberg in the first ten minutes of the game showed that coach Oren Amiel’s team went about their work with renewed intensity. The referees whistled for a total of four unsportsmanlike fouls on both sides in the first half. Bamberg’s Akil Mitchell even had to say goodbye to the game after the second unsportsmanlike game.
Alba was briefly impressed by the new toughness and, after ten points in a row from Bamberg’s point guard Chris Dowe (20 points), fell 9:10 behind in the first quarter. Then the Berliners fought back. After the first quarter (18:11), which was characterized by hard defense on both sides, Alba’s greater basketball quality and experience prevailed. “Bamberg tried, but didn’t manage to upset us,” said Louis Olinde.
After that they got a better grip on the game and also showed nerves of steel. For example Jonas Mattisseck, who embarrassedly threw a three-pointer next to it without touching the ring – only to then successfully sink the three-pointer in the next attack.
In the third quarter, after a three-point shot by Tamir Blatt to make it 60:38, it looked as if the game would end as one-sided as game one. But this time Bamberg held out stronger. And was able to get back up to eight points at the beginning of the fourth quarter. A hard-fought final quarter developed, in which Alba was able to maintain his lead. Maodo Los three to 93:81 in the penultimate minute of the game sealed Berlin’s success.
Power forward Oscar da Silva expects a similar game in Bamberg on Thursday. “It’s the play-offs, it will continue to be the case that the teams play physically,” said the Berliner. Alba has now won in all leagues for the twelfth time in a row and it doesn’t look as if this winning streak could end on Thursday in Bamberg.