|2006 FIBA World Championship, Hiroshima, Japan|
23/08/2006Game Report, Germany vs Panama 83-61, GROUP B
HIROSHIMA (FIBA World Championship) - Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as Germany beat Panama 81-63 on Wednesday and advanced to the Final 16 of the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
Dirk Bauermann's German side used a 20-0 run spanning half-time to break a tight game wide open. And the 2002 FIBA World Championship bronze medallists improved to 3-1 ahead of their final Group B showdown with Angola.
Demond Greene added 12 points while Sven Schultze scored 10 points off Germany's bench.
Panama, who dropped their fourth straight game at this tournament, had five players with nine points, including Jair Peralta, Kevin Daley and Dionisio Gomez off Guillermo Vecchio's bench.
The Central Americans' only hope of advancing to the knock-out stages is with a New Zealand victory over Japan later Wednesday.
"This is the lowest point of my basketball career," said Panama play-maker Ed Cota, who scored just two points in 19 minutes of action.
"It's even more disappointing for the guys from Panama who were here fighting for their country."
Neither team could put together a run in the first quarters, as Germany led 17-15 after one period. Kevin Daly scored seven points in a 9-0 run for Panama to open a 24-17 lead. Patrick Femerling's two free throws and a Nowitzki three-pointer put the Germans back ahead 25-24.
The Central Americans answered with the next seven points and led 38-33 on a Ruben Douglas jumper with 1:29 left in the half.
But inspired by a firery court-side talk by coach Dirk Bauermann, Germany closed the half with the final four points to trail 38-37.
The Germans continued their push into the second half, scoring the first 16 points out of the locker-room. Mithat Demirel, Nowitzki, Demond Greene and Ademola Okulaja all hit three-pointers.
The key to the run was Demirel pushing the ball and not allowing Panama to set up in their zone, which gave Germany more open looks than they had seen in the first half.
Michael Hicks' two free throws snapped the 20-0 run, making it 53-38. But it wasn't until Peralta's three-pointer with 2:57 left that Vecchio's team scored a basket - a total of 8:32 spanning half-time.
Germany were ahead 63-45 after three periods, as Panama scored just seven points in the quarter.
Panama took advantage of the German substitute players and pulled to within 10 points - 68-58. But they would not get any closer than that the rest of the way.
"This game was a little bit of an improvement, especially in the first half. The first 20 mintues were solid, a positive for his team. But things went back to normal," Cota admitted.
Bauermann said his team played a mediocre game and that they were not playing consistent enough to play a full four quarters of good basketball. But the coach added that the biggest positive from the game was the strong third quarter.
"They really learned from the mistakes they made in the first half. And that's what's most important," Bauermann said.
Germany finish their Group B play against Angola to decide second and third place while Panama face New Zealand.
By David Hein, FIBA