Germany beat the USA 113-111 and advanced to the FIBA World Cup final against Serbia. Germany was close or ahead most of the game, the US lost traction with them in the third quarter. Andreas Obst had a huge game for Germany. Obst scored 24 points, hit four threes, and drew a couple fouls while shooting threes (which helped him make nine trips to the free throw line). Anthony Edwards put up 23 points of his own for the US, but no one on Team USA put their imprint on the game.
Edwards tried to rally the troops in the last few minutes of the fourth. He got more aggressive, dunked the ball and drove to attempt another dunk he got fouled on, and hit outside shots. The problem was the game was won in the third quarter by Germany.
Germany’s Special Third Quarter
Germany was in their bag in the third quarter. They ran off of US makes and forced the action before the US defense was set (they did a good job of this in the first quarter too). This allowed Germany to get looks all over the court, draw fouls on the US, and gave the whole club confidence that was the way to attack.
The US defense gave up 35 points to Germany in the third, the highest scoring quarter of the game by either team. The US offense wasn’t bad, they just didn’t have an answer for the German feline quickness.
Germany closed the third quarter strong. They scored four more points than the US in the last two minutes of the third, and set themselves up well with a 10 point lead going into the fourth.
Dennis Schröder had an OK game, but since Andreas Obst got off early and often, Germany didn’t need Schröder to carry them. Schröder was key down the stretch, had a drive and finish, along with a step back jumper late in the game to help seal the game.
Team USA Needed More Bigs
The US lost earlier in the tournament against Lithuania, and showed again they needed different bigs. Defense kept the US from containing Germany, and things could’ve been different with Bam Adebayo.
Adebayo won gold with the US at the 2020 Olympics and is a defensive presence. Jaren Jackson Jr. was supposed to be that guy for this team. He played less than half of this game, blocked zero shots, and only had one memorable defensive stance. Jackson Jr. is a great NBA player and defensive player of the year. Coach Kerr didn’t like the look with him on the floor and or Jackson just didn’t bring it.
To win in international competition the US needs an active big with a high motor. Bam would be perfect. Jackson has potential to be that guy. Maybe this experience will help him become that guy going forward.
Give Germany (and Andreas Obst) Their Flowers
This was probably the biggest win in German basketball history. If they can follow it up with a gold medal win against Serbia, even better, but well done Germany. They play a fun brand of basketball. Their guys play together, you can tell they’ve played with each other for a while.
Isaac Bonga had a bigger defensive impact than any US player. When Bonga played in the NBA, he was a middling player at best. This further ignited an idea that international play highlights. What a guy does professionally may or may not translate to how he plays for his country.
JJJ (Jackson Jr.’s nickname) has had a great impact on defense with the Memphis Grizzlies, but he didn’t for Team USA. Bonga has been a defense first guy his whole career, but when he played for his country it brought out the best in him.
Andreas Obst isn’t well known in the US, doesn’t play in the NBA, but has been catalytic this whole tournament. His shooting changes games and it definitely changed this game against Team USA.
What’s next for These Two Clubs
Germany is the only undefeated team left in the tournament. Serbia, their next opponent, has been special, knocking off Canada to advance to the final. Germany will need another big game from Andreas Obst to win. It’s a toss up, but it’ll surely be an exciting battle for the gold.
Canada-USA is an intriguing matchup, it’s just unfortunate it’s not for the gold. Nevertheless these are two talented squads playing for a medal (checkout earlier coverage of Canada). Both of the last two games of the World Cup should be special.