By David Hein
Dirk Nowitzki's chances of making the 2008 Olympics - or at least reaching the pre-Olympic qualifiers - are slowly fading as Germany face unbeaten Slovenia desperately looking for a victory to move back on course for the quarter-finals.
The 2005 silver medalists have dropped two straight games in falling to 1-2 in Group F.
The Germans remain in fourth place (which means a spot in the quarters), but with a loss
they will be even with the winner of the Italy-Turkey match.
|Uros Slokar stepped up to make three three-pointers in his teams win over Turkey.|
Slovenia meanwhile have already qualified for the quarter-finals.
Last time out: Slovenia stuffed Turkey 66-51 for their fourth straight win in Spain, while Germany lost to France 78-66.
Key Match-up: Nowitzki vs. the entire Slovenia team. The reigning NBA MVP has said for years that his goal is to reach the 2008 Olympics. Don't be surprised if the Dallas Mavericks star tries to carry even a larger bulk of Germany's load than he's done so far.
X-Factor: Slovenia have beaten France and Turkey despite getting just five total points from Jaka Lakovic. The Barcelona star has struggled from the three-point stripe and his ability to score - especially from the outside - could free up others to get baskets.
Stats: Three - the total number of double-digit scoring games by Germans not named Nowitzki or Ademola Okulaja - the others being Mithat Demirel (18 points against Czech Republic), Demond Greene (10 vs. Turkey) and Robert Garrett (10 against Lithuania).
Sounding off: "It's going to be tough for us. In the German national team. everyone looks up to Dirk Nowitzki. He will score his 30 or 40 points but our chances are in limiting the other guys. Dirk is such a dominant player that if you base your game on him the likelyhood is you will fail. We cannot hope that Dirk has a bad game, you cannot count on luck, because it will kill you, it will destroy you." -Slovenia big man Uros Slokar