Alba Berlin completed a series sweep over their domestic rivals Brose Baskets, winning 75-72 in Bamberg in the Euroleague Top 16.
With both teams already eliminated from progressing further, it still didn’t lack was the tense, back-and-forth clashes fans are used to the Bundesliga. The fourth quarter alone saw four lead changes and three ties as the game was decided by a critical steal from DaShaun Wood on Anton Gavel with less than 10 seconds to go protected a one-point lead. Heiko Schaffartzik tacked on two free throws to make it 72-75 and a Gavel miss followed by a Matt Walsh line violation sealed the Berlin victory.
Alba Berlin are now 2-10 in Group E while Bamberg remained winless.
Deon Thompson paced Alba with 15 points, with Ali Traore adding 14. Brose Baskets were led by Sharrod Ford with 16 points.
“It’s a great win for us, our second of the Top 16,”Berlin coach Sasa Obradovic said. “No one expected us to do this with the smallest budget in this Top 16 group. The main goal was not to finish last in our group. With this win we definitely stay where we wanted to be.”
The hosts got off to an explosive start, with a slam from Ford within the first seconds of the opening tip, but Berlin weathered the storm quickly and efficiently, through great team-play on both ends. Traore led on both sides of the court for the visitors as they led 21-19 after one.
Traore was again in the mix as he extended Berlin’s lead, early doors in the second 29-24, another bucket forced Bamberg coach Chris Fleming into using a timeout as his side were static on offence and allowing Berlin’s guards free reign to do as they pleased, whether it was scoring or passing off to the forward for easy scores.
The timeout helped as the hosts rallied off six straight points and managed to tie the game at the half at 42-42. The fans got behind their team as Berlin looked shaky in the final two minutes of play.
A three from Casey Jacobsen, followed by a bucket inside from Ford gave Bamberg a 49-46 lead with four minutes of the quarter gone but Berlin came back, so long stuck in first gear through the latter stages of the second quarter onwards, they stepped it up and peeped through 59-58 after three periods of play. That set up a thrilling fourth quarter which the visitors edged.