Germany 84 Italy 86

08.09.2003

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Matteo Soragna and Marco Pesic
"Alitalia" flies on to it's next destination, the quarter final against Greece in Stockholm. For "Lufthansa" it is only a matter of flying home to Germany. With a good team moral, fighting spirit and some hot shots, Italy turned things around after having been left behind at halftime. During the last two quarters Italy ruled the floor, while the Germans stood by and watched.

Both teams were aware of the importance of the game and acted a bit nervous. For instance, Germany's center Patrick Femerling started with an air ball on a lay up. But eventually Germany showed that they knew their way around in Himmelstalundshallen. It was particulary Mithat Demirel who led the way with his three 3-pointers. Italy had difficulties to score, not used to the arena. In a few minutes Germany scored 10-0 and went to the break nine points ahead.

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Massimo Bulleri (guarded by Steffen Hamann) had 17 points for Italy
In the second quarter Italy started to improve their game. Alex Righetti entered the court and made several 3-pointers. Righetti levelled the score, 37-37, after five minutes. Germany found some extra energy and responded with 8-0. Once again it was Demirel who was most succesful. Although Italy won the quarter, Germany had the upper hand, leading the game 51-44.

The Germans' lead looked comfortable, bearing in mind that they grabbed twice as many rebounds as Italy during the first two quarters. But things did turn around in Norrköping. Key players in the Italian comeback were Nikola Radulovic and Massimo Bulleri, who took responsibility and did it well. A crucial factor was that Germany's Mithat Demirel, so far the player of the game, was injured and received medical treatment on the sideline. Without their leader, Germany collapsed. Going in to the last quarter, it was Italy which were on top of things.

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Alex Righetti and Dirk Nowitzki
The last quarter of the championship in Norrköping developed into a breathtaking thriller. It was all even when the game went into the last minute, 78-78. When Germany needed Dirk Nowitzki most, the NBA-star failed. First, he missed a free throw, then he chose to shoot a 3-pointer too early. The ball missed the ring, and the rebound resulted in a foul for Germany. With team fouls for the Germans, Italy could finish off from the free throw line. Massimo Bulleri made four safe ones, and Italy were winners, 86-82.

Italy go on to the next round where they face Greece in the quarter final on Thursday. 


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