Alba Berlin assured itself a share of second place in Group A when it rolled over visiting Guildford Heat 81-63 before 4,500 fans at Max Schmelling Hall in the German capital on Tuesday. Alba's second home win boosted its record to 2-1 and evened it with Turk Telekom in the group standings. Despite challenging strong at the start of the game and mounting a fourth-quarter rally try, Guildford dropped to 0-3, which is the least of its worries since star guard Brian Dux remains hospitalized in critical condition following a car accident two weeks ago. Julius Jenkins scored 22 points for the winners, including 3 three-pointers in 4 tries. Dijon Thompson followed with 13 points and 9 rebounds for Alba, which got 10 of the team's 27 assists on the night from Bobby Brown. Guildford was led by James Jones, with 14 points, while tony Dorsey added 13 and John Nottley 11.
Patrick Femerling, Jenkins and Thompson opened the scoreboard for the hosts in the early minutes, but this was not enough to prevent Guildford from gaining an early 6-7 lead with a triple by Dean Williams and two jumpers by Mike Martin. Once the Berlin defense had found its rhythm, however, several steals resulted into a 12-0 run that included 5 points of Jenkins. Jones put an end to 4 scoreless minutes for Guildford with his first triple, but already after 10 minutes Alba in charge at 23-12. In the second quarter, Goran Nikolic, Vujadin Subotic and Philip Zwiener started hitting triples for Alba as the lead lengthened to 34-16, but then forced their outside shooting a little too much, giving Martin, Nerijus Karlikanovas and Nottley the chance, to shorten the gap to 34-23. Berlin head coach Luka Pavicevic called timeout and went to his team's superiority inside with Nikolic, Femerling and Thompson, who took enough passes from Brown to forge a 44-27 halftime lead for the hosts. Defense set the tone after the break, as both teams struggled to find easy shots and the siren of the shot-clock sounded several times at both ends of the court. Brown finished the drought for Alba with his first triple, after which Jenkins and Thompson joined in to raise Alba's lead to 57-29. Nottley, Dorsey and Jones answered with a 0-8 run for Guildford. Aleksandar Rasic with his triple for Alba and Dorsey with free throws made it 60-37 at the end of the third quarter. Guildford did not give in easily in the last quarter and with a 5-15 run led by Dorsey crawled back into the game at 70-56. But in the end Femerling, Nikolic, Thompson and Jenkins took care that Alba's win never came under question.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Horst Schneider, Berlin