The German basketball players passed the next endurance test on the way to the World Cup in Asia. With an 86:81 (50:34) against World Cup favorite Canada, the team around NBA star Dennis Schröder also won the second game of the preparation in Berlin.
Franz Wagner (18 points) and Daniel Theis (17) scored the most points in an intense encounter in front of 12,387 spectators in the sold-out arena at Ostbahnhof. Before that there had been a 87:68 win against Sweden in Bonn on Saturday.
"Made a good step"
"I think we really made a good step in the first half," said national coach Gordon Herbert at Magenta Sport. Only "the first five or six minutes in the third quarter were not good." His team gave up a few baskets too easily. The coach did not reveal when he intends to announce his final squad for the World Cup, which begins on August 25. Last year, the DBB selection sensationally secured bronze at the European Championships in the capital.
On their return to Berlin, the hosts surprised Canada with a tough defense and surprisingly had a clear lead of 27:14 after the first quarter. The brothers Moritz and Franz Wagner from the NBA club Orlando Magic were particularly motivated when they performed in their home town. The former professionals from Alba Berlin caused the Canadians some problems both offensively and defensively with their uncompromising style of play. "Very, very tough game, very, very physical team," analyzed Franz Wagner. "The most important thing is just that we took our next step forward, things were looking very, very good for the time being."
Canada with seven NBA professionals
On the other side, star player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from the Oklahoma City Thunder could not shine at first and remained without points against the good defense of DBB captain Dennis Schröder until the middle of the second quarter. The North Americans competed in Germany with seven players from the NBA, but in Jamal Murray from champion Denver Nuggets, the currently best was missing. It is possible that Murray will go to the World Cup with the team where Canada, like Germany, would like to take a medal with them.
National coach Herbert also coached his home country Canada in 2018 before taking over as German head coach three years later. Shortly before the end of the first half, the 64-year-old conceded a technical foul from the sidelines because he complained about a heavy block by Canadian Dillon Brooks, who prevented Franz Wagner from scoring a basket without considering an injury.
The Germans went into half-time with a big lead, but after the break the guests turned up the heat and closed the gap to within three points (50:47). Captain Schröder of the Toronto Raptors then took responsibility and made the audience cheer with safely converted throws. Nevertheless, it remained close before the final quarter (66:58), one minute before the end Canada managed to equalize (79:79). Franz Wagner made the decision with a successful three-point shot. "I was relatively open and just tried it," said Wagner.
The German team will play four more friendlies before the start of the World Cup on August 25th in Okinawa, Japan. Opponents are also title candidates USA and Greece. On Saturday the Supercup in Hamburg will be played first against China, after that it could go against Canada again. Before the tournament in Asia, the squad has to be reduced from 14 to twelve players. "There are many things that we still want to improve. Hamburg is a good chance to do that," summed up Franz Wagner.