FanShot

Dirk leads Germany to first win in Supercup prep tournament

(Linked article in German from the official site of the national basketball team for the Eurobasket 2011) On Friday evening Germany beat Belgium 71-65 behind 18 points from Dirk Nowitzki with the Clippers' Chris Kaman playing equally well and contributing 17 points and 9 boards. The game was played in Bamberg about 30 miles from Dirk's home, with his sister among the fans in attendance. Dirk and the gang still were a bit rusty against a 2nd tier Belgian team that had former Laker DJ Mbenga and unsigned 2005 Rockets/Nuggets 2nd round pick Axel Hervelle as their most prominent players. SF/PF Hervelle covered Dirk for much of the game before fouling out in the last minutes. Dirk kept correcting some of Kaman's movements on the court throughout various timeouts, and after the game criticized that Germany allowed too many open 3 pointers on defense and didn't move the ball around enough yet (not a lot of assisted shots in this game), but was happy with the overall effort and already showed some good moves in his first game since the NBA finals. Among them a steal followed by dribbling coast to coast for a layup, a nice trademarked fadeaway jumper in the closing minutes, and his usual solid shooting from the line also grabbing an important defensive rebound off a missed FT when Belgium could have tied the game in the last minute and instead had to foul him again. He was still working to find his 3 point shot. Germany faces tougher competition with Greece and Turkey in the other two Supercup games on Saturday and Sunday. A rebuilt young Greek team absolutely killed Turkey on Friday 62-38 despite Turkey playing with 5 NBA players (Hedo Turkoglu, Ersan Ilyasova, Ömer Asik, Semih Erden, Enes Kanter). Ouch. Update 1: Germany lost to Greece 56-69 in the 2nd Supercup game. Dirk didn't play a whole lot, struggled like the rest of his team, had his first points only after 14 minutes of playing time and finished the game with 11. Top scorer for Germany was Kaman with 15 points. Greece lead throughout most of the game and Germany never was able to really threaten them (already 28-42 at the half). It got a little hectic in the 4th quarter, after a scuffle between backup PF Jagla and Greek veteran Fotsis both players were ejected. Update 2: In a fun game Germany beat Turkey on the last day of the Supercup, securing the 2nd place behind Greece in the mini tournament. See comment by DOH below for a recap of this game. After the Supercup Germany continues their Eurobasket preparation with a game against Bosnia-Herzegovina and 2 games against China Macedonia next week before flying to Lithuania to play the European Championships and hopefully qualify for the 2012 Olympics. Programming note: I'll attend the one next Friday against China Macedonia and can probably provide some pictures or at least a recap. (China was scheduled to play Germany twice, but sucked so bad plus suffered injuries in a mini tournament in London that they instead decided to fly home.)

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