Wagner brothers send Germany to Semis, Bertans misses a date with history

MANILA (Philippines) – Dennis Schroder struggled with his shot, but his teammates had his back. Germany managed to stop Latvia’s hot run at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, moving to the Semi-Finals in Manila after an¬†81-79¬†win. The game saw seven ties and 15 lead changes, the last of which happened in the third quarter, before Germany managed to put more daylight between the two. Coach Gordie Herbert will now prepare his team for the Semi-Finals against the United States, while Latvia move to Classification Games 5-8.

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Latvia put a much bigger Rodions Kurucs on Dennis Schroder, and coach Luca Banchi’s plan worked, as the superstar was held to just 4-of-26 shooting. He missed 22 shots, tying Kirk Penney’s ‘record’ for the most missed in the history of the World Cup. The guard from New Zealand was 7/29 in 2002 against Russia.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Schroder finally made his first two shots in the second half, and that seemed to spark some motivation from the other guys, too. That especially goes for the Wagner Brothers. Franz made his way back to the lineup after missing most of the World Cup with injury, and when he took over the ball handling duties to start the fourth quarter, Germany went on an 8-0 run, crowned by a big Moritz dunk to make it 70-59 with eight minutes to play. An 11-point gap was not going to scare Latvia away. Arturs Zagars put on a show once again, getting to 24 points including a number of crazy lefty finishes in traffic to make it 81-79 with just over 30 seconds to play. Germany went with Dennis Schroder, he missed the floater, and in transition, Davis Bertans went up for the game-winning three-pointer. It bounced off the rim, went out of bounds as time expired. Had it went in, Latvia would’ve become the first team to reach the Semi-Finals on their debut since Croatia did it in 1994.

Talk about a big return to the lineup. Franz Wagner played just 27 minutes against Japan to start the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, and Germany maintained their rhythm and pace without him throughout the event.    He made the return a loud one. Franz finished with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench.                       The depth of this German team is unreal, coach Herbert knows his second unit will bring points in bunches, and it happened in this game, too, with the German bench outscoring the opponent 44-6.

Germany reached the Semi-Finals of the World Cup for the first time since 2002, and if you count in their FIBA EuroBasket 2022 adventure, this makes it back-to-back final four appearances in major event.                             Everybody helped in a game like this, Andreas Obst had 13 points, Moritz Wagner got to 12, Johannes Thiemann was also in double figures with 10, while Daniel Theis and Schroder finished with 9 each. Latvia played their hearts out. Davis Bertans knocked down six threes for 20 points on the night.

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