There will be no gold medal for the U.S. at this World Cup. And for the second consecutive time in FIBA’s biggest tournament, there might not even be any medal at all for the Americans.
Instead, it’s Germany on the cusp of a world title.
Andreas Obst scored 24 points, Franz Wagner added 22 and Germany shredded the U.S. defense for much of the way in its first win over the Americans — 113-111 in the World Cup semifinals on Friday night.
The U.S., down by 10 midway through the fourth, nearly pulled off a comeback, getting within one point on two separate occasions in the final minutes. But the Americans never got the lead, and it was the Germans jumping and hugging as time expired.
Germany — the last unbeaten team left in the tournament at 7-0 — will play Serbia on Sunday for the World Cup title. Serbia beat Canada in the first semifinal, getting to its second World Cup final in the last three tournaments; it lost 129-92 to the U.S. in the 2014 championship game.
Canada will play the U.S. for bronze Sunday.
Anthony Edwards scored 23 points for the U.S. (5-2), which got 21 from Austin Reaves, 17 from Mikal Bridges and 15 from Jalen Brunson. The Americans shot 58% — but let Germany shoot 58% as well, and that was the ultimate undoing.
Germany had been 0-6 against the Americans in World Cup or Olympic competition, usually getting blown out in those games.
Not this time. Once again, even bringing the only roster filled with all NBA players wasn’t enough for the U.S. at the World Cup. The Americans finished seventh at the 2019 World Cup in China; this finish — third or fourth — will technically be better, but nothing other than gold was going to be satisfactory for USA Basketball.
A 35-24 third quarter was basically the difference for Germany, which this time finished the job that it couldn’t pull off when meeting the Americans in Abu Dhabi for an exhibition earlier this summer. Germany led that game by 16 in the second half, then an 18-0 run by the Americans down the stretch led to a 99-91 U.S. win.
It needed similar heroics this time. They almost got there. Key word: almost. This time, Germany finished it off.
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