Dirk nowitzki gave national coach henrik rodl an encouraging pat on the back, while nba star dennis schroder trudged to the team bus in heavy frustration.
In front of the eyes of NBA legend nowitzki, the german basketball players were unable to win a strong comeback against france at the start of the world championships in china and are under direct pressure. The rodl team lost 74-78 (20:36) in shenzhen against the title co-favorites.
"He also said: "respect that we came back like that after such a start, you have to manage that first", the coach reported from his short chat with nowitzki, who honored the bearded frenchman evan fournier as player of the game as world championship ambassador.
After scoring only four points in the first quarter and trailing by 24 at one point, the german team fought back in the final period but missed the surprise coup. "They defended very well in the first half, we were a bit shocked," admitted leader schroder, who was initially out of the game and ended up scoring 23 points. "In the second half we fought our way back, defended well, played well up front. We have to build on that."
In order to reach the intermediate round, however, the german team urgently needs two wins against the dominican republic and jordan, which lost the duel of the two aubenseiter earlier with 76:80. Germany’s top scorer johannes voigtmann (25 points) emphasized: "we have not given up. But it was also the wrong time and the wrong place to give up."Even his historic performance was no consolation: only nowitzki (30 points) scored more points in his world championship debut for the german team. With the french defensive artists around NBA star center rudy gobert, fournier came up with 26 payers.
"On goes?S, guys!!! I wish you a great tournament!!", nowitzki had cheered the german team via twitter before the game. But all the support of the 41-year-old world cup ambassador didn’t help, buried deep in his seat in front of the honorary box, the NBA icon experienced defeat.
The german team got off to a forgettable start. Shaken by the physically strong defense of the french the throws of schroder& missed the target co. Partly clearly their goal. The 2.16-meter-hune gobert blocked paul zipser, the french did not play outstanding offensively either, but pulled away steadily.
At the score of 0:7 rodl took the first timeout – initially without effect. Only the recently ailing point guard maodo lo ended the agonizing series without a basket after seven and a half minutes with a distance shot at 3:14. Nowitzki raised his right hand with three splayed fingers in the air and clapped with relief. Four own points and one taken field shot with 17 attempts was the terrible balance of the first quarter.
But slowly the german selection seemed to catch itself. There was a lack of creativity in the orderly attack, but the team won the ball and scored easy baskets. Center voigtmann of euroleague champion ZSKA moscow led the team. Schroder hit his first field goal with a three-pointer – but suddenly all momentum was gone again. The french scored safely from distance, dominated the rebound, repeatedly blocked too timid german attempts and scored the last twelve points of the first half.
Only when the score was almost hopeless at 28:52 did the german team find its offensive rhythm – and went on an 18:2 run. Schroder also fought his way back into the game with a strong effort – after a hard foul by france’s nando de colo, the 25-year-old went down but fought his way through. The german team came back to within two points – but then fournier’s free throws ended all german dreams.