Germany Find A Way

15.09.2007

By Yarone Arbel

Less than 24 hours after their inexplicable loss to Greece last night, Slovenia had a sense of deja-vu.

Facing Germany in the 5-8 classification games Slovenia lost 69-65 after a big comeback by their opponent in the last minutes.

It wasn't as bad as last night, but once again Slovenia managed to lose a big lead in the

Demond Greene (Germany)
Demond Greene had 16 points in the win for Germany.
last minutes.

Oddly the fourth quarter score from last night, 23-11 against Slovenia, was the exact score of today's last quarter.

"We were really disappointed after not playing so great in the last couple of days," said Germany's Demond Greene who had 16 points.

"We didn't reach our main goal here which was a medal, but at least we got the ticket to the pre-Olympic tournament."

Slovenia played the last game last night and was six seconds short of a historical performance in the semi-finals over favourites Greece, but seemed to have recovered just fine, until the last minutes.

Germany on the other hand had one more day to rest and lost by a big margin to Spain in the quarters, so their mental readiness seemed better, and they stepped up in the last minutes.

Germany deleted a 60-51 Slovenian lead in the last 5:16 behind an 18-5 run led by Dirk Nowitzki who made 10 of his team's last 12 points and finished the game with 28 points and 10 rebounds.

Nowitzki scored seven early points in the first five minutes of the game, as Germany held a 12-6 lead.

Slovenia hit a couple of shots from long range, to tie the score and finish the first quarter down 18-16.

Germany maintained the lead early in the second quarter, until Slovenia once again found their hot hand in three pointers by Goran Jagodnik and Erazem Lorbek, who gave Slovenia their first lead in the game, 25-23.

Nowitzki was there to give Germany the lead back, and turned in 13 first half points, before missing a buzzer beater tip in, but Germany still held a 32-31 lead after twenty minutes.

The lead changed hands seven times in the first seven baskets of the third quarter.

Steffen Hamann's lay-up made it 39-38 with 5:52 but that was the last German lead for a long time.

Jaka Lakovic and Matjaz Smodis led a Slovenian 9-0 run which led to the first double-digit lead of the game.

Slovenia missed open shots early in the fourth, and waited more than three and a half minutes before scoring their first fourth quarter points.

Despite a big block by Erazem Lorbek on Nowitzki, during that period, Germany came back to minus three, but Smodis and Raso Nesterovic quickly made it a nine point game again, 60-51.

Germany once again stepped up their defense and with three hits from long range by Demond Greene, Ademole Okulaja and Nowitzki tied the game at 62-62 with 1:56 on the clock.

Lakovic connected on only one of two from the line and then made a turnover, and that's where the deja-vu started.

Hamann found an open path to the basket and gave Germany their first lead since his last basket in the 24th minute, and after Okulaja stole a bad pass by Jagodnik, Nowitzki scored a fade-away from the top of the key to make it 66-63 and march for the win.

Germany will play Croatia for the fifth spot while France and Slovenia will fight for the seventh place and the last ticket to the pre-Olympic tournament.


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