Brose Baskets head coach Chris Fleming had a clear message to his team after their 97-89 loss to CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague – find your pride on defense if you want to reach the Top 16.
“For us, it’s disappointing to shoot 60 percent from the floor and lose at home. If we are going to be successful in the coming weeks in the Euroleague we need to find our pride defensively to get through to the Top 16,” Fleming said after the defeat, which dropped Bamberg to 2-6 in Group D.
The 97 points were the most a Bamberg team have allowed under Fleming in the last three Euroleague seasons, topping the 94 points CKSA scored in a 94-74 win in Moscow in Game 2 of the 2011-12 season. Bamberg twice this season conceded 86 points in home games, in losses against Besiktas (86-71 in Game 2) and Barcelona (86-66 in Game 6).
“There’s no way we’re getting there without defensive pride. We’ve got a couple of guys who get it. We need a whole group of them.”
Fleming also gave CSKA their fair share of praise.
“Congratulations to CSKA on a good road win. I think any time you go on the road and score 97 points, you’ve earned a win,” said Fleming.
Bamberg captain Casey Jacobsen was disappointed that the three-time German reigning champs lost despite such a strong offensive showing.
“In the last couple of years, I can’t think of a better offensive game that we’ve had here. So to lose a game like that is really, really hard to swallow. Defensively we just weren’t good enough tonight,” said Jacobsen.
“If you would have told me that we would have had 22 assists and only 10 turnovers, we shoot 60 percent from the field and score 89 points, I would have guaranteed a victory. I really would have. I’m just really disappointed. But we have to look in the mirror. It’s not like they scored 97 points by accident. They are a good team but we also made mistakes that we have to learn from.”
He added: “If we want to be a Top 16 worthy team we can’t give up 97 points to anybody, I don’t care who it is.”
Still, Jacobsen did look at the situation positively as Bamberg’s hopes of reaching the Top 16 for the first time since 2005-06.
“As disappointing as that game was, I’m still excited that our Euroleague season isn’t over because of tonight’s game. I feel grateful for that,” said the captain.
Jacobsen thinks playing against a great team like CSKA can actually help Bamberg in the long run.
“We don’t have to change the entire make-up of our team. We don’t have a lot of things to change but there are a few things we need to get better at. So maybe playing against a team like Moscow exposes some of those weaknesses that we can now say: Alright, this is where we need to improve as a group and as individuals. A good team will do that.”
Bamberg still hold their Top 16 destiny in their hands – the question is how much pride they will have going into their final two Regular Season contests.