On Saturday, the semi-finals of the German NBBL and JBBL League have been played in Ludwigsburg. While the NBBL games had some good moments, the level of the JBBL games was a bit poor compared to last year in Bamberg. Here we go for the review of the games.
JBBL: IBBA Berlin – Team ALBA Urspring 54-58
The team from the South was considered as a favorite in this game because of the presence of the very massive and explosive Gavin Schilling. And it was the big guy who dominated the first quarter as Robyn Missa did not find a way to stop him in the paint and the Berlin shooters could not hit from outside. During the second quarter, the defending champion found its way better into the game and it were Nico Jacobi with some powerful drives that cut the lead and Tarek Vierhuve that gave the capitals their first lead of the game. The game stayed close throughout the third quarter and Missa did his job in the rebounding (19rebs) but rarely was able to do something on defense against Schilling who dominated with his power and speed even if the Urspring big guy missed most of his free-throws. When the game came to the final minutes, Urspring could take a short lead but Vierhuve tried the difficult drive and scored with the foul but the basket was refused and IBBA got the ball only on the sideline instead of the +1. This destroyed their last hopes to reach the Final for the second time in a row and Zaire Thompson closed the deal from the free-throw line in the final seconds.
MVP: Gavin Schilling 31pts (14/24 FGs – 3/14 FTs), 19rebs
JBBL: BBA Ludwigsburg – Bayer 04 Leverkusen 81-49
The hosts from Ludwigsburg dominated this game easily and can be considered as the favorites after their performance from Saturday. Robert Zinn, 1m94 tall PG, showed a great game with good versatility and helped his team to reach the Final for the first time in history. Ludwigsburg was in fact never really in danger throughout the 40 minutes of the game even if Leverkusen played an interesting game. But they were simply overmatched physically and talent-wise as Ludwigsburg had three players that were clearly above the rest.
MVP: Robert Zinn 23pts (10/15 FGs), 6rebs, 5asts, 5stls, 2tos
NBBL: Junior Phantoms Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel – TSV Tröster Breitengüssbach 72-76
While the level of the JBBL semi-finals was not the best, the first quarter of the NBBL semi-final between Braunschweig and Breitengüssbach was of an incredible level. Dennis Schröder and Daniel Theis came up with some amazing plays (dunks, threes, alley-oop, block-shots) and the farm team of Brose Baskets did not really know what happened to them. Schröder was constantly attacking the basket while Theis intimidated the Güssbach guards with some above the rim rejections. But the change on the defensive end to a zone and later on to some kind of triangle and two helped the guys around Philipp Neumann to find their way back slowly. A hot handed Jörg Dippold in the first half was also important as he was nearly the only one able to score as Neumann was totally out of the game. During the third quarter, Braunschweig did not know what to do on offense, Schröder was unable to attack the zone and Theis did not receive the ball in good positions. Steffen Walde scored several baskets while Alexander Engel and Johannes Richter found their game. Breitengüssbach increased their lead and even the fourth foul of Neumann and a following technical against the coach (which should have been the fifth of Neumann) did not prevent them to increase their lead. Schröder came up with 5 quick points in the final minutes to reduce the gap but it was not enough and Breitengüssbach was the first finalist.
MVP: Jörg Dippold 25pts (7/14 FGs – 4/9 3FGs), 5rebs
NBBL: Team ALBA Urspring – Paderborn Baskets 73-53
Paderborn came out super hot and immediately hit two three pointer in the remake of the semi-final of the two last years. The team from the Northwest division played nearly perfect on defense during the first 10 minutes and closed every Urspring attempt to score. Dominating the rebound and being lead by a superb Ole Wendt, you had the impression that the Baskets had the game under full control. However, a quick run by Urspring just before the break helped the defending champions to come back to –6 only at halftime and this was somehow the sign for them to start. Kenneth Ogbe showed some excellent scoring coming of the bench while Mario Blessing and Malik Müller made some big plays on offense. As Ole Wendt was nearly the only one able to score for Paderborn in the second half, and additionally, their presence in defense slowly became less intensive, Urspring increased their lead and totally dominated the last ten minutes where Paderborn was physically done. Urspring used its depth at best and once they took over the defensive rebound, they could run the fast break and destroy the chances of the Wendt-twins to reach the final again after 2009.
MVP: Kenneth Ogbe 14pts, 2rebs, 2asts
Around the court
The NBBL/JBBL Top4 is always an event that draws a lot of big names in German Basketball. While there were no NBA Scouts to be spotted in the gym at least by me, you could see people like Ademola Okulaja, Hansi Gnad, Henning Harnisch, Björn Harmsen, Kay Blümel, Frank Menz, Harald Stein, Wolfgang Heyder and a large number of coaches participating to the Coach Clinic that runs in parallel. The head coach of the German National Team was not present on Saturday but is announced for the Finals on Sunday morning. Additionally, former NBBL players like Frank Wiseler (ex-Urspring, now Drake) or Enosch Wolf (UConn) were present to support their friends.
The JBBL Final will be played at 11h on Sunday morning while the NBBL Final will be at 13h30. Both games can be followed via LIVE Stream here. Additionally, the individual trophies of the JBBL and NBBL will be handed out on Sunday.