5 takeaways From USA’s FIBA World Cup semifinal loss to Germany

Published September 9, 2023, 10:00 AMNBA.com Staff

Before Friday, Germany had been winless against the U.S. in World Cup and Olympic competition.

Heading into Friday’s matchup, Germany had been winless against Team USA in World Cup and Olympic competition. With a berth in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Final on the line, Germany ended its six-game losing streak to Team USA with a 113-111 victory.

Germany, with a record of 7-0, is the only unbeaten team remaining in the tournament and will play Serbia in the Final on Sunday (8:40 a.m. ET).

The U.S., which fell to 5-2, will take on Canada in the bronze-medal game, also on Sunday (4:40 a.m. ET). This is the second time in a row that Team USA will leave the World Cup without a gold medal.

Here are five key takeaways from Friday’s shocking result.

1. Poor third quarter dooms U.S.

USA led 60-59 at intermission and had all the momentum on its side.

Germany then came out hot, scoring in transition and knocking down jumpers on the way to an 11-4 run and a six-point advantage.

Andreas Obst was the catalyst, knocking down back-to-back triples in the third as Germany outscored the U.S. 35-24 in the period.

Meanwhile, for Team USA, Anthony Edwards and Mikal Bridges (15 points each) and Austin Reaves (10) had a combined 40 points in the first half, but only managed to score a single bucket in the third quarter.

Germany led by 10 heading into the fourth.

2. Obst, Germany deliver in crunch time

Germany increased its lead to 12 early in the fourth, but thanks to the heroics of Edwards, the U.S. went on a run, cutting the deficit to one.

That’s when Obst, who scored 15 of his game-high 24 points in second half, made the final of his game-changing plays.

With Germany clinging to a 108-107 advantage, the sharpshooter caught the inbounds pass in the corner. He shot faked, causing the defender, Tyrese Haliburton, to fall down. This left Obst wide open, and he nailed the 3-pointer with 1:14 left to play.

Isaac Bonga blocked Bridges on the next possession and Dennis Schroder hit a short jumper to put Germany up six in the final minute.

3. Germany’s size overwhelms Team USA

Germany, which had the clear size advantage, grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and scored 25 second-chance points.

While Obst did most of his damage from the outside, his teammates owned the lane. Bigs Franz Wagner (22 points) and Daniel Theis (21) got every shot attempt they wanted against the smaller USA squad.

Defensively, Germany did a good job of clogging the paint and contesting Team USA’s shots off the dribble.

4. Sharp execution powers Germany’s win

In boxing, they say styles make fights. The same can be said of this matchup. The USA players were more athletic and aggressive, relying on a lot of one-on-one play to score, while Germany relied on a more balanced attack.

Whether it was drive-and-kick opportunities or pick-and-roll plays, the ball moved better for Germany, leading to more open shots. Schroeder was the director of the show, handling the U.S.’s defensive ball pressure en route to 17 points and nine assists.

Germany had three players score 21 points or more and, with the game on the line, executed better.

5. Edwards’ star turn is undeniable

Even in defeat, Minnesota’s All-Star wing Anthony Edwards put on a show.

He continued being USA’s best player through seven games, scoring a team-best 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting while adding eight rebounds and three assists in Friday’s game. When it looked like Germany was about to pull away, Edwards imposed his will and kept the U.S. within striking distance.

With one game left to play, he’s averaging 18.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game and he has done more than just the highlight-reel dunks he’s known for.

Reaves had another strong showing, scoring 21 and Bridges (17 points) and Jalen Brunson (15) both played well against Germany.