Chris Fleming’s Germany side are out of the EuroBasket championships after defeat to Spain in Berlin. The home crowd almost witnessed a brilliant fightback, but NBA star Dennis Schröder missed a late free throw.
Germany’s hopes of a second European Championship crown are over after losing 76-77 to Spain in Berlin. Chris Fleming’s side lost their three previous matches against Turkey, Serbia and Italy, while reports of discontent between players have been an unnecessary distraction.
Key man Dennis Schröder apologized to his coach publicly for questioning a tactical decision in the overtime loss to Italy on Wednesday, while fellow NBA star Dirk Nowitzki criticized injured teammate Daniel Theis who has played for his club side recently.
But on court, the German side was outclassed by Spain who took control of the encounter in the third quarter. Germany has successfully dealt with a number of setbacks in the first quarter and plugged away to draw 17-17. A three-point jump shot from Robin Benzing gave the Germans a 20-18 lead at the break.
Kevin Durant, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2014, will have been impressed by some of the play between Schröder and Tibor Pleiss. One particular combination saw Pleiss finish off a fine alley-oop with six minutes left in the second quarter. Schröder of Utah Jazz in the NBA scored a three-pointer less than a minute later to peg Spain back to 31-32.
Despite Germany’s best efforts, the class of the Spanish side shone through. Real Madrid’s point guard Sergio Rodriguez and Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls were influential for Spain who were third in the group before this clash and secure their own spot in the knockout stages.
In the third quarter, the Spaniards were 19-10 winners to lead 48-60 by the end of play. Gasol converted four free throws and then another two point throw with Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez putting the game beyond reach in the final few minutes. Spain was fastest to many rebounds and in fast break situations were they scored 11 points to Germany’s two.
After a rallying cry from American coach Fleming, Germany’s efforts in the fourth quarter were admirable. Three point throws from Schröder and Maodo Lo was the catalyst for a late fight back as Spain called a time out with the scores at 64-70.
Rodriguez’s three-pointer in the final minute all-but secured Spain’s progression, but three free throws offered Germany the perfect route back into the game. Schröder converted two, but missed the third as one of the tournament’s host nations bow out at the group phase.