Latvia 86 Germany 94

06.09.2003

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Dirk Nowitzki had 32 points and 9 rebounds
Big time favourites Germany were on top of the game throughout the 40 minutes. In between Latvia proved some good strength, but overall it was Germany who was the strongest team.

At crucial moments, Latvia made a lot of mistakes and won the not so pleasant statistics for turnovers 18-8. With two triumphs the Germans are qualified for the next round. The situation for Latvia is more difficult.

Both teams looked a bit tired after the opening games on Friday. But it was noone less than Dirk Nowitzki who got Germany going. The NBA star shot eight points during the first five minutes, and Latvia looked helpless. Latvia missed their shots and the Germans took most of the rebounds. 27-14 after the first quarter was a comfortable lead for the favourites from Germany.

Latvias coach Armands Kraulins did a good job in the break. His team got on to the court with a completely different style. Following a classic Baltic tradition, Latvia started to hit 3-pointers from everywhere. They went from 14-27 to 30-33 in just five minutes.

Germany looked surprised and chocked. Coach Henrik Dettmann needed to take a time out. Latvia tried to eat the whole gap, but Real Madrid giant Kaspars Kambala was not too friendly with the ball and caused a few costly turnovers for Latvia. Nowitzki did som good moves and forced Latvia to many fouls. The German lead had been reduced, but was still seven points, 48-41.

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Misan Nikagbatse (GER) guarded by Armands Skele (LAT)
In the third quarter the teams kept the same pace in scoring. Germany held Latvia at a comfortable distance, mostly due to a stronger play inside. Latvia tried to keep up with its opponent, but often ended up with a foul.

In the last quarter the picture was much the same. Big, strong Gemany fought well when it came to rebounds, while Latvia continued with shots from distance. The team from the Baltic failed to get really close. Everythime they had the chance, a new turnover spoiled it. Most symbolic when the forward Trojs Ostlers, on his own with the basket, lost the ball instead of hitting a layup. With less than three minutes to go, Armands Skele scored 81-85, but that was the closest Latvia got.

During the last minutes Germany guard Mithat Demirel was excellent and led the team to the second victory in two days.


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