|14 March 2013|
|Aaron Miles will be looking to commit less turnovers on Thursday|
In the history of basketball, there has probably never been a coach so much in need of a miraculous leap in medical science as Telekom Baskets Bonn boss Michael Koch is right now.
Just three days before Game 1 in Bonn's EuroChallenge quarter-final play-off series against Krasnye Krylia, Koch saw two key players on his team, Jamel McLean and Benas Veikalas, suffer injuries that will keep them sidelined for the following weeks.
A short-handed Bonn side travelled to Samara, lost 80-60 to the well-oiled winning machine that is the potent Russian team and, almost as if to add insult to injury, lost one more player on the trip.
Young German small forward Fabian Thülig, who could have had a bigger role during the absence of Veikalas, fell ill and was taken to hospital.
The miracle that Koch needs will not be produced in time and the injury-depleted Bonn will have to play host on Thursday to a team that almost seems spoiled for choice right now.
Krasnye Krylia added two players to their already mighty roster the week before the quarter-finals tipped off, veterans DeJuan Collins and Lamayn Wilson.
The latter was on the squad on Tuesday and seemed to have acclimatised so well to his new surroundings already that he finished the game as Samara's highest-rated player on the night, contributing 12 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
Starting power forward Andre Smith, for whom Wilson was brought in as coverage, could afford the luxury of spending just 19 minutes on the floor and charge his batteries ahead of Game 2.
Krasnye Krylia did not really need to step on the gas at any point during the first game and cruised to victory in the most uneventful way possible.
They remain the only undefeated team in the EuroChallenge since the start of the season and travelled to Germany with all their big guns intact and every intention of extending their winning streak to 14 games to punch their ticket to the Final Four of the competition.
Bonn do not have not many options left in their efforts to spoil the Russian party, but the few cards remaining up their sleeves are still quality ones.
|Lamayn Wilson has settled into his role rapidly with Krasnye Krylia|
In order to stay alive and force a third game though, they will need first of all to improve dramatically on the glass, as they were out-rebounded 49-36 in Game 1.
To compensate for the absence of McLean, who was contributing 6.6 rebounds per-game until his injury, Koch will need a collective effort to balance the battle of the boards.
One thing that the Bonn coach can probably be certain that will improve dramatically compared to Game 1, is his players' shooting percentages.
In Samara, the German team made just three of their 21 attempts from behind the three-point arc and shot a poor 35.8% from two-point range, while up until that point in the season they were hitting almost 52% of their shots.
Krasnye Krylia head coach Sergey Bazarevich meanwhile is hardly troubled by anything that happened in Game 1, but would certainly want to see improvement in one particular aspect.
Despite the Tuesday game evolving into a relatively stress-free affair, his players still committed 15 turnovers, with Aaron Miles being the main culprit, with five.
The American point guard, who leads the EuroChallenge in assists, was the only Samara player to stay on the court for more than 30 minutes and will need assistance from his team-mates if the Bonn backcourt - in spite of their absences - are successful in putting pressure on the ball.