There could be no tougher task in basketball than playing against the USA – but that’s exactly what Germany will be hoping for in the semi-finals. But America is not without weaknesses – Germany can play them into their hands.
DON’T ALLOW EASY THROWS: Brandon Ingram is fouled by Daniel Theis (right).
“Every team has its weaknesses. In basketball, it’s important to find them and use them accordingly,” Serbian coaching legend Svetislav Pesic said recently. A wisdom that national coach Gordon Herbert certainly knows well. He now faces the task of familiarizing his players with America’s weaknesses ahead of Friday’s semi-finals (Live! from 2.40pm) – and they exist.
Arguably the gold favorite’s most notable weakness lies under the group, with the US central position lacking much quality. Former national coach Dirk Bauerman has already mentioned this. With Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies), the Americans have a good big man on their team, but the 23-year-old is prone to mistakes — and can therefore be taken out of the game quickly.
When Jackson Jr. fouled out, Nationals coach Steve Kerr didn’t bring substitute Walker Kessler into the game, and Paulo Banchero came on as a regular, so the U.S. had less under the basket later.
The Lithuanians showed it could have consequences with their thrilling 110:104 win in the group stage – the United States had no answer to Jonas Valanciunas’ post. This is also where the opportunity lies for the German side, with Moritz Wagner, Daniel Thies and Johannes Voigtmann to offer plenty of quality under the group.
Usually, the U.S. is far superior to its opponents in terms of physicality, but that could be different against Germany because Herbert also brings power to the floor — and can at least hold his own against the North Americans in this category. .
America’s comfort zone
Visuality and speed characterize America’s attack, whose greatest strength is the “transition game.” But if you calm down the game and take them out of their comfort zone, they also have problems – the Montenegrins showed that in the opening round. The Americans’ build-up play, especially in the half-court, is average. The DBB team must try to determine the rhythm and pace – and sometimes slow the game down, even if that is not necessary for Schröder’s style of play.
However, if you want to stand a chance against their strong shooters and speedy guards, you’ll need to have a great day on defense against the US. Because one thing is clear: If America runs hot, there’s no stopping them. For this reason, Franz Wagner, Dennis Schroeder & Co. Access to the opposing three-point shooter is critical. Isaac Bonga, who has already proved himself to be a formidable defender over the course of the tournament, could also play a key role.
How are your nerves?
Finally, there is the issue of nerves. The US team around up-and-coming superstar Anthony Edwards is relatively young and hasn’t had to play very close games at the World Cup, the only time it was close was against Lithuania – and then you walk off the field as a loser.
Germany, on the other hand, proved that they can stay calm and make the right decisions in tricky moments in the group stage against Australia (85:82) and in the quarterfinals against Latvia (81:79).
However, in preparation for the World Cup there was also a friendly match against the USA, in which the German team gambled away a 16-point lead – you don’t have to think about it, but “you played well. 26 minutes”, as Herbert said at the time – 14 more minutes and the first German World Cup. The final match.
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