|1/4 finals of the 2006 FIBA World Championship, Saitama, Japan. Germany vs USA. (30.08.2006)|
30/08/2006Game Report, Team USA vs Germany 85-65, QUARTER-FINALS
SAITAMA (FIBA World Championship) – The United States broke open a close game at the start of the third quarter and claimed a comprehensive triumph over Germany to reach the last four of the FIBA World Championship.
The USA, shut out of the medals in Indianapolis four years ago and bronze winners at the Athens Olympics where they suffered three defeats, prevailed 85-65 and are now just two victories shy of the world title.
Carmelo Anthony, the hero of the Americans’ come-from-behind win over Italy in Group A with 35 points, provided an offensive spark once again.
Against the Germans, he had 19 points and came up with three of his side’s 10 steals as they won for the seventh time in Japan.
Now Carmelo & Co will take on European champions Greece, who beat France 73-56 earlier in the day.
"I think in the third quarter on the defensive end, we were very good and got our confidence back,” Anthony said. “We got our hands on loose basketballs out there - Shane (Battier), myself and LeBron (James), and as a collective we did what we had to do.”
Germany, who edged Nigeria by a point in their previous game, made all 13 of their free throws and the US sank just five of 20 from the arc as the Americans held a 40-39 advantage at half-time.
Team USA returned to the floor at the start of the second half intent on increasing the pressure on defense and it rattled Dirk Bauermann’s team, including Dirk Nowitzki – the German superstar.
James stole the ball from Nowitzki just nine seconds into the third quarter and scored with jump shot outside the lane.
Patrick Femerling made a lay-up, but Anthony replied with a fast-break dunk.
Steffen Hamann answered with a gritty drive into the lane, knifing his way past Elton Brand before going up with his right hand and laying the ball off the glass and in.
Bumped by Kirk Hinrich, Hamann went to the line but failed to convert the three-point play, leaving the United States 44-43 in front.
Anthony and the US then struck with a vengeance.
The forward buried a three-pointer to make it 47-43, stole a pass from Femerling and soared in for a dunk before Brand made a jump shot to stretch the lead to 51-43.
Ademola Okulaja hit a short jumper to trim the deficit to six, but Anthony made his third three-pointer of the game to start a 10-0 run to leave Team USA with a 60-45 stranglehold on the game just 1:43 from the end of the third quarter.
Germany closed to 62-52 with a pair of Nowitzki free throws, but the United States would end up finishing the quarter with a Chris Paul three-pointer to make it 67-52.
The closest Bauermann’s team would get after was 72-61 just over four minutes into the fourth quarter on a Johannes Herber three-ball.
Joe Johnson took the lead back to 75-61 immediately after, and the Americans cruised to victory.
"We knew it was going to be tough against Germany,” Anthony said.
“Winning always feels great, we've got one more game before the big one so we have to take care of business.”
One aspect to the game that helped make Anthony and his team-mates superior was their rebounding.
They grabbed 48 rebounds and 22 on the offensive glass to 34 overall for Germany.
Ademola Okulaja and Nowitzki each had 15 points apiece to pace the Germans, the bronze-medal winners at the FIBA World Championship four years ago in Indianapolis.