The United States won’t be securing a gold medal at this World Cup.
Manila, Philippines- The US won’t secure a gold medal in this World Cup, and for the second time in a row in FIBA’s major tournament, they might leave without any medal.
Indeed, Germany is now on the brink of winning a world title.
Andreas Obst contributed 24 points, while Franz Wagner added 22, and Germany achieved a historic feat by scoring more points against a USA Basketball team with NBA players than any team ever had. They secured a 113-111 victory in the World Cup semifinals on Friday night.
U.S. coach Steve Kerr expressed that the team had the capability to win a championship, but unfortunately, they couldn’t execute it on the court.
The lack of victory raises questions once more. USA Basketball has discussed how top international teams’ continuity has narrowed the gap with the U.S. Despite winning the last four Olympic titles, they now face two consecutive World Cups without gold, highlighting a changing dynamic in international basketball.
U.S. guard and captain Jalen Brunson summed up the situation succinctly, describing it as “terrible,” plain and simple.
Germany, the only undefeated team with a record of 7-0, will face Serbia in the World Cup title match on Sunday at 8:40 a.m. EDT. Serbia reached its second World Cup final in the last three tournaments, with their previous loss being to the U.S. in the 2014 championship game with a score of 129-92.
Canada is set to compete against the U.S. for the bronze medal on Sunday at 4:40 a.m. EDT.
Andreas Obst made a crucial play with a 3-pointer, considered the shot of the night, with just 1:15 left, which extended Germany’s lead by four points and nearly ended the U.S. comeback attempt. Throughout the game, Germany was in control for 30 of the 40 minutes, while the U.S. held the lead for approximately 4 1/2 minutes, clearly demonstrating Germany’s dominance.
Germany’s coach, Gordie Herbert, spoke highly of his team, describing them as a “special group” after reaching the World Cup final for the first time. He praised their cohesive play, resilience during challenging moments, and the key contributions of their players. With one more game to go, they are on the brink of something historic.
The U.S., trailing by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter, came close to staging a comeback, narrowing the gap to just one point on two separate occasions in the final minutes. However, the Americans couldn’t take the lead, and it was the Germans celebrating with jumps and hugs as the game concluded.
US guard Austin Reaves acknowledged their mission was to secure a victory, but they fell short of that goal.
Anthony Edwards led the U.S. with 23 points, while Austin Reaves contributed 21, Mikal Bridges scored 17, and Jalen Brunson added 15. Despite the Americans shooting at an impressive 58% rate, they allowed Germany to also shoot at 58%, which ultimately proved to be their downfall.
Austin Reaves highlighted the defensive challenge the U.S. faced by allowing 113 points in a 40-minute game, emphasizing that such a defensive performance doesn’t lead to many wins.
This loss marked a significant moment as it was the highest number of points allowed by a U.S. men’s team in the Olympics or World Cup since the era when NBA players could participate, dating back to 1992. The previous high was 110 points, which also resulted in a loss to Lithuania earlier in the same tournament. However, that previous loss didn’t eliminate the Americans’ gold-medal hopes, while this one did.
Coach Steve Kerr pointed out the challenge the U.S. faced defensively, expressing their inability to impose their defensive presence on the game.
Germany’s victory over the U.S. in the World Cup semifinals was quite a turnaround from their previous encounters. They had been winless at 0-6 against the Americans in World Cup or Olympic competition, often experiencing significant losses in those matchups.
This time was different. Even with a roster composed entirely of NBA players, the U.S. couldn’t secure the gold at the World Cup. Their finish, whether it’s third or fourth place, technically surpasses their seventh-place finish at the 2019 World Cup in China. However, for USA Basketball, nothing less than gold was considered satisfactory.
Daniel Theis had an outstanding performance for Germany, scoring 21 points in the game. It’s worth noting that he has scored 21 or more points six times in his NBA career, and he certainly chose Friday to deliver one of the best games of his life.
Franz Wagner rightfully acknowledged the historic nature of Germany’s win, and with one more game left in the tournament, they have their sights set on achieving even more success.
Germany’s strong performance in the third quarter, outscoring their opponents 35-24, played a pivotal role in their victory. It was a different outcome from their earlier exhibition game against the Americans in Abu Dhabi, where they led by 16 points in the second half but ultimately lost to an 18-0 run by the U.S., resulting in a 99-91 American victory.
This time, Germany managed to secure the win without needing last-minute heroics, unlike their previous encounter. While they came close, they ultimately sealed the victory. Austin Reaves, who played alongside Schroder with the Los Angeles Lakers, observed his former teammate Dennis Schroder celebrating a significant moment for German basketball when the game concluded.