Kthen Alba Berlin fall four table leaders in five games in a row? “Let me enjoy the evening, please,” coach Israel Gonzalez replied after his team beat Armani Milan’s star selection by twenty points in the Basketball Euroleague on Tuesday night.
The game against Real Madrid this Thursday (8 p.m., live on Magenta Sport) is so far away that he doesn’t even want to think about it. The Spaniards are first since Alba a week ago Baskonia defeated Vitoria, the team that had previously won 12 straight games and lost their second game in Germany on Tuesday. The Basques lost to Bayern Munich 79:92. Bayern’s most successful thrower was Cassius Winston with 17 points. In lockstep, the Bavarians with seven wins in 18 Euroleague games and the Berliners (six wins) seem to be working their way up from the bottom of the table.
Maodo Lo stands out
Telekom Baskets Bonn, leaders of the Bundesliga with one game and one win more than champion Alba, will play in Berlin on Sunday. With 83:63 on Tuesday evening, the Berliners crowned the spectacular end of a series of twelve defeats in the European premier class. An away win in Lyon-Villeurbanne the day before New Year’s Eve was the start, followed by victories over Vitoria and their national and international rivals Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
On Tuesday, Alba confidently beat the European selection of star coach Ettore Messina and now has three wins in a row in the Euroleague. point guard Maodo Lo was the game’s towering player with 17 points and four assists, Jaleen Smith had 16 points and Johannes Thiemann (7) didn’t allow Milan center Kyle Hines a single goal from the game; the American converted a free throw.
The second win of the season over Milan stars Nicolo Melli (8 points), Billy Barron (9), Brandon Davies (13), Johannes Voigtman (3) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (16) was all the better for the Berliners as their team, now last behind Panathinaikos Athens, is number one in the budget of the best European teams. “You can see the pressure on Milan,” said Alba manager Marco Baldi: “It’s the most expensive team in the Euroleague.”
Alba Berlin’s budget is around ten million euros; a maximum of five of them are available to sporting director Himar Ojeda for signings. Milan has well over thirty million euros; the team came to Berlin in a charter jet. “According to the numbers we should be number eighteen in the Euroleague,” said Ojeda. “But fortunately this is not a record, but sport.”
Alba Berlin counters the big budgets and well-known names with rousing team play. “How fortunate that a team like Alba Berlin is playing in the Euroleague,” enthused Vasilije Micić, playmaker for Euroleague champions Anadolu Efes Istanbul, after his side beat the Germans at home in the first half of the season. Spectators and, sometimes, opponents enjoy watching Alba.