Team USA vs. Germany score, takeaways: America comes up short against Germans in FIBA World Cup semifinals
Team USA simply couldn't get the job done on the defensive end against Germany
Team USA's attempt to secure a gold medal at the 2023 FIBA World Cup came to an end on Friday with a 113-111 loss to Germany in the semifinals of the knockout rounds. The Americans had no issues scoring the basketball but, unfortunately for Steve Kerr and company, they were unable to get the job done on the defensive end of the floor as Germany had six players score in double figures, with three eclipsing the 20-point plateau.
With the loss, Team USA will now face off against Canada on Sunday in the bronze medal game. While this is a matchup that many fans wanted to see during this tournament, the fact that it will not occur in the championship game is certainly a disappointment. By virtue of their win, Germany will move on to face off against Serbia for the right to claim a gold medal on Sunday.
Here are three takeaways following Team USA's loss to Germany.
1. Defense optional for Team USA
First off, hats off to Germany. The Germans came out firing on all cylinders and looked like the better team for most of the game. Shots were falling, the effort was there and aside from that late-game scare down the stretch, the momentum was in their hands for most of the game. However, that was in part because of some poor defense from Team USA, which once again struggled to keep its opponent off the offensive glass.
Germany finished that game with 12 offensive boards and completely bulldozed USA in second-chance points 25-8. But that wasn't the only issue. As a whole, the defense was lackluster from Team USA, which allowed Germany to shoot 58% from the field and 43% from deep. In the first half, many of Germany's shots came without a defender within arm's reach, which is in part why Germany had six scorers finish with 10 or more points. Too many times did we see Dennis Schroder drive to the rim and kick it out to an open shooter in the corner or on the wing, and more often than not they'd knock the shot down.
The other issue was the lack of size, which is more of a roster construction thing that the U.S. can learn from as it prepares for the 2024 Olympics next summer. There's really no reason why Daniel Theis should've finished with 21 points when you have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the frontcourt in Jaren Jackson Jr. Brandon Ingram not playing certainly didn't help with USA's size issue, but you have 7-footer Walker Kessler sitting on the bench with fresh legs, see if he can go in there and make a difference.
2. Have a day, Franz Wagner
It's safe to say that Team USA perhaps underestimated Germany, and Wagner made sure to show them why they've been undefeated throughout this tournament. If you haven't watched much of Orlando Magic basketball over the past two seasons, then you've missed Wagner's excellent play on both ends of the floor. As a rookie, he was making an impact on the defensive end of the ball, while being a versatile forward who can score at all three levels. He upped his averages across the board last season with the Magic, and should be in line to make that always talked about "third-year leap."
Against the Americans, he already showed hints of that leap with his efficient offensive play. Wagner was taking it straight to defenders, whether that was attacking the rim off the bounce for a dunk, pulling up for a mid-range jumper or nailing a 3-pointer. Team USA didn't have an answer for him all game long, and he finished with 22 points, five rebounds and two assists. If this is any indication of what to expect from him next season with the Magic, then we're in store for some exciting basketball down in Orlando with him and Paolo Banchero.
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3. We're getting USA vs. Canada after all...
Many were hoping for this matchup in the gold medal game, and while that might've been too presumptuous these are the two teams with the most NBA talent in the tournament. Instead, though, we'll be getting this for the bronze medal game, and while some of the allure is gone, it should still be an exciting matchup. Anthony Edwards vs. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander alone is enough reason to tune in, and while both teams have already qualified for next summer's Olympic games, both sides will certainly be motivated in order to still place and hold some bragging rights in the always classic USA vs. Canada rivalry.
Team USA will face Canada for a bronze medal on Sunday at 4:30 a.m. ET.
Germany beats Team USA 113-111 to advance to gold medal game
Germany stayed hot for majority of the game, and made big buckets when it mattered most. As a result, they'll face Serbia in the gold medal game while Team USA will face Canada for bronze.
Costly turnover by Edwards
After getting the offensive foul call to go their way, Edwards commits a costly turnover with an errant pass that went straight into the stands. Team USA down 113-109 with 23.4 seconds to play.
Big time shot from Andreas Obst
Obst has been clutch all game long, and that triple was no different. It might've just been the dagger for the Germans.
All of a sudden, this is a 3-point game
Anthony Edwards has come alive in this fourth quarter and now the Americans are only down by 3 points. He's been aggressive in attacking the rim, and that triple was just icing on the cake. This is a whole new ball game, and the momentum is in USA's court in the final three minutes of this game.
This is where Team USA needs to make a run
Edwards got the emphatic dunk to give a jolt of energy into his teammates, and they got a stop at the other end. Germany still leads by 10 points, but this is the time for the Americans to make their run. There's still five minutes left in the game, and with the amount of talent on this team coming back is still doable. But they have to pick up the effort on defense.
USA not doing enough to cut into this lead
Mental mistakes, lazy defense and not enough urgency have all contributed to Team USA not being able to cut into Germany's lead in a big way so far. There's still plenty of time left for that to change, and they're putting points on the board, but aren't answering the call on defense for it to matter at all.
Not a great way to open the fourth quarter
Brunson just picked up a foul nine seconds into the fourth quarter, and to make matters worse it was while Andreas Obst was shooting a 3-pointer. Not the kind of mistakes USA can afford as it tries to mount a comeback.
Germany heads into fourth quarter with 10-point lead
Franz Wagner has led the charge for Germany with 20 points, and two other Germans have 19 points, as they lead Team USA 94-84 going into the fourth quarter. The Germans have been getting whatever they wanted on offense, and are forcing the Americans into just enough mistakes to get them out of rhythm. Let's see if Team USA has another run in it to try and come back to win this game.
Germany can't miss from 3-point range
Even on a broken play the Germans can't miss from 3-point range, and that latest triple from Mo Wagner proved it. Germany has tied its biggest lead of the night at 10 points.
USA's defense allowing too many easy shots
This third quarter is looking a lot like the first quarter of this game. Germany generating easy looks off of drive and kicks, grabbing offensive boards for second chances, and they're holding onto a eight point lead.
Germany on a 6-0 run in the third quarter
Franz Wagner didn't cool off out of halftime, and he's leading this third-quarter charge from Germany to open up a 70-64 lead against Team USA. Wagner has 19 points, and has been incredibly efficient from just about everywhere today.
USA carries 60-59 lead into halftime
This may just come down to which teams cools off first, because both teams can't seem to miss so far. Team USA is shooting 59% from the field and 64% from 3-point range, while Germany is shooting 56% from the field and 59% from deep.
After the Germans got out to an early 10-point lead to open this game, the Americans tightened up on defense and stopped allowing wide open shots on the perimeter. Offensive rebounds have still been an issue for Team USA, as they've allowed the Germans to snag 7, several of which have resulted in points. In a tight game like this, the Americans can't allow that many offensive boards because it could be the difference in playing for gold or bronze.
Germany answers back with a run of its own
Franz Wagner has been the leader for the German today, and he's already up to 14 points in this first half. He's got Germany up to a four-point lead with three and a half minutes to play in the half, and this one is looking like it could go down to the wire as both teams are going back and forth with taking small leads.
USA starting to find its rhythm
Edwards has 11 points, Reaves has 10 and Team USA has its biggest lead of the day at 45-41. They've settled into their offense, and it also helps that the defense hasn't allowed as many open looks out on the perimeter for Germany, making them work for their shots more.
Germany leads 33-31 after first quarter
Germany came out hot and built up an early 10-point lead before American woke up and fought back to tie the game. The Germans take a two-point lead into the second quarter behind Franz Wagner's nine points. Mikal Bridges is leading the way for America with seven points. Still anyone's game at this point, but Germany has looked sharper so far.
Tyrese Haliburton in foul trouble early
Haliburton just picked up his second foul in the closing second quarter, not ideal for Team USA. His defense in the second unit was key for the Americans to close Germany's lead. We'll have to see how Steve Kerr uses him in the second quarter in order to avoid him picking up a costly third foul before halftime.
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