Coming into Thursday’s matchup, Spain and Germany both found themselves in a must-win game to help their chances in advancing to the knock out stages of competition.
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Even though Spain has seemingly took a step backwards, they still looked like the well oiled machine they are. Being led by Pau Gasol, Sergio Rodriguez, and Nikola Mirotic, Spain showed chemistry like they play together every night. It was a slow start for Dirk Nowitzki that found himself never finding his rhythm as the game went along.
For Germany, it seemed like they was the little brother the whole game as they seemed to never figure out how to get ahead of the Spaniards. The Germans pulled a crazy comeback at the end of the fourth with back-to-back threes in the last minute to bring the game within one point. Dennis Schroder was fouled on a transition three with 3.8 seconds remaining, down by three. After sinking the first two free throws, the last one rattles out and the game was over.
Nowitzki finished his last game in a quite manner by recording just 10 points and 7 boards in 29 minutes. Once again, it was Dennis Schroder who led the way for Germany with 26 points, 6 boards, and 7 assists. All Atlanta Hawks fans should be very impressed with the play of Schroder this EuroBasket, unfortunately his last free throw might overshadow his play.
February 15, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Eastern Conference forward Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls (16) with the ball as Western Conference forward Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks (41) defends during the first half of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
For Spain, it was Rodriguez who led the way with 19 points, followed by Gasol (16) and Mirotic (12). During the German charge in the 4th quarter, it was Sergio Llull who kept Spain ahead with his impressive last quarter. See full box score here.
Dirk didn’t deserve to go out this way. Even though most fans realized that Germany didn’t have the talent to make a run at the title, a trip to the Group Stage was not out of question. ‘Heartbreak’ is the best term to describe this EuroBasket for Germany as they lost all four of their games by 5 points or less, with the exception of a 7 point overtime loss to Italy.
On a side note, Kevin Durant was sitting court side for the game their in Berlin. Is he just a fan of good basketball and wanted to support EuroBasket? Was he scouting for the World Cup? Is he that big of a Dirk fan/friend to travel to Berlin for his friend, he Mavs bound? I am totally kidding, although some fans will try their hardest to make the connection.
In a surreal moment, a teary-eyed Dirk came out in a curtain call fashion to mid-court after the game to a standing ovation. The German crowd embraced their legend as it will be the last time most of these fans will ever see him play in person.
Next stop, Dallas Mavericks Training Camp. Stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for all of your training camp news and updates.