EuroBasket 2011 Analysis (9/9): Germany Gets Must Win; France Stays Undefeated
GERMANY 73, TURKEY 67
Germany earned a big win in Group F action and kept its knockout-round hopes alive. If Germany beats Lithuania on Sunday and Turkey beats Serbia, Germany earns a quarterfinals spot. But if Germany wins and Serbia wins, a three-way tiebreaker between Germ., Lith. and Serbia will determine the last two playoff seeds in Group E
Chris Kaman led the Germans with 20 points on 9-of-16. Kaman was tough all over the offensive end hitting multiple mid-range jumpers, scoring off of rolls & cuts and converting some nice post moves, including a nice drop-step that drew a foul for a key three-point play.
Kaman once again provided nice backline support, altering shots (3 blks) and forcing Hedo into some tough shots when switched on him late in the game.
Dirk Nowitzki (19 pts, 7 rebs, 3 assts) was on his game once again, knocking down perimeter jumpers and adding two sweet turnaround bankers into the mix. Guard Heiko Schaffartzik (10 pts, 5 rebs, 5 assts) made things happen in pick-n-roll action, hitting multiple pull-ups and finding open teammates.
Reserve SF Philip Schwethlem played a crucial role knocking down open jumpers down the stretch. 11 of Schwethlem's 14 points came in the last five minutes of the game. Hit all of his three 3PA in that span, including a big make with 0:50 left that gave Germany a 67-62 lead.
Germany's defense under coach Dirk Bauermann is usually good, if not a tad too physical. Sometimes Germany's defense gets overlooked but they have been solid throughout Euro '11. Currently sixth in defensive FG pct. (41.6%). Held Turkey to 39% shooting overall and 29% from long range.
Turkey continues to be off from deep--currently shooting 28.7% on 3PA. Quite a contrast from last year when they led the Worlds in 3pt. shooting at 43%.
Turkey was able to stick around because of quality glass work. Pounded the offensive boards: had 17 off. rebs. to Germany's 28 defensive rebs. But they put those extra possessions to waste by shooting 45.5% from the FT line. Turkey got to the FT line nine more times but made two less than Germany. Turkey was bad at the line last year and they're currently at 66%.
Omer Asik's 19 pts came on rolls, cuts and put-backs. Omer even added in a 18-footer. Omer was great on the offensive glass again (7 off. rebs), including three that led to put-backs in the last three minutes of the game. Turkey's best offense down the stretch seemed to be to throw the ball up at the rim and let Asik track the ball down.
Enes Kanter was a factor in the post using his up-n-under moves to great effect. Kanter was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor for 11 pts in 19 minutes. Kanter was hot early in the 2nd quarter, scoring seven of his 11 in a few minutes. But it was puzzling that Turkey did not try to feature Enes more in the 2nd half.
Another game where Turkey just did not get enough from its starting forward tandem, Hedo Turkoglu and Ersan Ilyasova. The past few years, Turkey could count on these guys to generate offense and make big plays when needed. But this year, both guys have been playing lower than expected.
Hedo forced up too many questionable shots with hands in his face (especially late in the game) and ended with nine points on 4-of-15 shooting. Hedo missed all of his four 3PA today to keep his cold shooting snap going--Hedo is shooting 40% overall, 5-for-30 on 3PA.
Besides the good board work (7 rebs), Ersan had another quiet game of four points on 1-of-7 shooting. Ersan was one of the best players at Euro '09 and was very good for most of the Worlds, but he seems to be a bit out of sync this year. Might have something to do with Kanter coming into the rotation.
Turkey goes to 1-3 and will play Serbia, also 1-3, on Sunday. Turkey needs to win that game if they want any chance at a playoff bid. If they win and Lithuania beats Germany, they advance. But if Germany wins, Turkey get eliminated even if they win.
FRANCE 73, LITHUANIA 67
After a nine-point 3rd quarter that allowed Lithuania to grab the lead, France flipped the script and piled up 30 points in the final quarter to stay undefeated.
Lithuania could not really contain Tony Parker (19 pts) any better than any other team. Tony hit multiple floaters, a few short pull-ups, some transition scores and gave Lithuania problems going away from ball screens. Though, Lithuanian bigs did a decent job showing hard on Parker ball screens and prevented him from turning the corner too often.
France got a huge game from combo guard Nando De Colo (21 pts on 8-of-14), who came off the bench and immediately had impact. Along with Parker, De Colo was clutch in the 4th, scoring 13 of his 21 in the quarter.
De Colo hurt Lithuania with his pull-up jumper and had a few scores off of well-timed baseline cuts. Also, his five steals led to multiple points in transition.
De Colo's biggest play came when he stripped Saras Jasikevicius and proceeded to score a transition lay-up to cut Lithuania's lead to 48-45 early in the 4th. Lithuania had momentum at the time after a run in the 3rd gave them a lead going into the 4th. Up until that point, France had only scored five points in roughly 10 minutes. De Colo stripped the ball from Saras another time which led to Nando getting fouled in transition.
Joakim Noah brought terrific energy to the floor as usual. Noah grabbed 13 boards (6 off.) and defended the pick-n-roll well. NIc Batum had another solid all-around game with 9 pts, 4 stls, and 3 assts.
France's defense humbled the normally exacting Lithuanian offense. Lithuania's offense came into this game leading Euro '11 in ppg, FG pct. and 3pt. pct. France held Lithuania to roughly 20 points below its average.
The normally sweet-shooting Lithuanians could not find the range from deep--30.4% on 3PA. They came into the game smoking from deep--50% on 3PA. And they had been shooting 56% overall and France held them to 40%. France is one of the top teams at producing steals and picked off 13 today.
Sharpshooter Simas Jasaitis led Lithuania in scoring by knocking down jumpers (3-for-7 3PA). Jonas Valanciunas (12 pts) was productive in his floor time finishing on cuts, rolls and put-backs.
Lithuania got spotty play from its point guard tandem, Mantas Kalnietis and Saras Jasikevicius. Saras made some nice feeds (6 assts) in the pick-n-roll but neutralized those dimes with some lazy pass attempts and careless ball-handling (5 TOs)--got stripped a few times. Kalnietis had little positive impact and had three TOs of his own.
France will play Spain on Sunday to determine the first seed in Group E. Not sure what to expect from that game as Spain might not care about their seeding and rest some guys. Lithuania falls to 2-2 and plays Germany next. If Lithuania wins, they earn third place in Group E. If they lose and Serbia wins, a three-tiebreaker between them, Germ. and Serbia goes into effect.