Day 2 of the FIBA World Cup stayed the same for Germany as they earned another victory. The one difference was it’s not as easy as the 81-63 beating they put out on Japan this past Friday.
Sunday against Australia, who aren’t pushovers as we’re all aware of as they are ranked number three in the World, the gritty Germans had to give a truckload of effort, from start to finish, a dozen times over from their previous contest.
It was a back-and-forth affair. AU led after the first quarter, 25-24, but the Germans went into halftime leading, 49-44. Then, the third period saw the Boomers play nicely on both ends, going for 22 points and limiting Germany to just 13, which had the score at 66-62 heading into the final frame.
The see-saw battle then continued in the crucial, all-important fourth quarter, with the Germans rallying back and taking better control of the pace. Through that, they were able to go up by as much as six points at two different stages of the period, which then allowed them to hold on to the aforementioned 85-82 win. It was huge as the W puts them at 2-0 in Group E, thus pushing them into the 2nd round.
Things didn’t end without some controversy, though, as Australia’s Josh Giddey was claimed to get fouled at the last play of the game, right when he was attempting a last-second desperation heave that would’ve tied the game.
Obviously, had it been called, Giddey’s three free-throws would’ve deadlocked the game and very likely head the contest into overtime (assuming he made all).
Speaking of free throws, though…
That’s a good segue. Giddey and his fellow Aussies had a terrible day at the charity stripe. They combined to shoot just 9-of-16 from the line, with the 20-year-old himself going just 3-of-6, with one of the miss happening just a few plays prior. He drew a foul missed the second of two FTs that would’ve tied the game at 83 with only 31 seconds left. So, yeah, it’s not really a sure thing and bad FT shooting was even one of the factors that put them in a trailing situation.
Giddey was also shaky the whole game. Aside from the FT blunders, he was just 7-of-17 from the field for an okay 17 points. He was the only real help of veteran Patty Mills, though, who scored a team-high 21 points alongside six rebounds and three assists. They were the only two Boomers who reached double figures.
Last Friday it was Mo Wagner, today it’s Dennis Schroder
Meanwhile, over at the Germans’ side, their group kept the composure and their own NBA players showcased their stuff. Big man Mo Wagner towered over Japan in the previous win with 25 points and nine rebounds, while on Sunday, it was the guard play, most notably Dennis Schroder.
Guard Maodo Lo registered 20 points on 8/12 shooting, while Schroder was just on-point on both ends. The ex-Los Angeles Laker and incoming Toronto Raptor rattled off a game-high 30 points (five threes) while dishing out eight assists and collecting four assists. His imprint was all over and was undoubtedly the best player on that floor.
With all that, it has become extra interesting to wait and see what these German ballers will do next. They came in as a solid contender, but they’ve arguably become one of the must-watch squads in the ‘cup, so watch out.
As for Australia, every win is now a must-win in order for them to stay alive. It’ll be tough, but they’re more than equipped for that challenge.