The world’s best basketball team has fallen from grace again.
The Steve Kerr-led USA Men’s National Team fell to Germany 113-111 in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Quarterfinals on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines. The Americans, who failed to win gold for the second straight tournament, will play Canada for the bronze medal on Tuesday. Serbia, who defeated Canada, will play Germany for gold in the final on Tuesday.
The days of the United States being the world’s best are long gone. The Americans finished seventh at the 2019 tournament after falling to France 79-89 in the quarterfinals and another 89-94 loss to Serbia in the championship game. The U.S. won back-to-back World Cup titles in 2010 and 2014, but hasn’t medaled since. If the U.S. wins bronze this year, it will be the first time in 17 years since winning bronze at the 2006 World Championship in Saitama.
If Serbia defeats Germany in the final, it will take sole possession of first place with six World Cup titles, surpassing the United States (five).
From the start of the game, the U.S. was hit with a shower of 3-pointers by Germany. The perimeter defense issues that led to a whopping 16 against Lithuania were back. Germany exploited the USA’s weaknesses under the basket with organized passing. Starting center Jaren Jackson Jr. didn’t last long this time and was sent to the bench. Germany jumped out to a 25-15 lead.
The USA‘s depth was their biggest advantage. Substitute Austin Reeves hit a three-pointer to change the momentum. The USA ended the first quarter with a 31-33 lead.
The US offense came alive as Halliburton spread the ball around. Edwards was the answer whenever she was blocked. But Banquero’s defense made Daniel Tice the focus of the offense. Tice poured in 13 points in the first half alone. The U.S. held a slim 60-59 lead at halftime.
Jackson’s defense was seriously breached in the third quarter. Germany attacked the American perimeter. Teixeira took advantage of the defense by hitting floaters in front of Jackson. Even Dennis Schroder, who had been quiet in the first half, got hot. Late in the third quarter, Germany went up 84-75.
The Americans were panicking. They tried to force a one-on-one and were stopped. FIBA didn’t call a foul on Germany’s roughing the passer. Reeves was openly irritated with the referee, but to no avail. Lacking focus, the Americans continued to give their opponents easy baskets.
The highlight came in the third quarter when Andreas Obst drew an offensive foul on Reeves on a fast break. The hard-won offensive rebound led to a two-point play by Schroeder. Germany entered the final quarter with a 94-84 lead.
The U.S. kept trying to attack the rim, but the defense broke through and poured water on the poison. The lead wouldn’t go away. Tyrese was possessed by Dirk Nowitzki, hitting every mid-range shot. Edwards hit a 3-pointer, but he was no Steph Curry. Germany took a 106-94 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Edwards hit a slam dunk, but it was two points.
The U.S. made a final push. Reeves hit a three-pointer and Edwards was fouled on a dunk attempt. But he missed the hard-earned free throw. The Philippine 스포츠토토 crowd blatantly chanted “USA.” Edwards hit another three-pointer. The U.S. led 103-106 with 3:17 left in regulation.
Schroder hit a layup to put out the fire. Reeves made two free throws. With 1:35 left, the U.S. pulled within 107-108. Obst’s three-pointer gave Germany a 111-107 lead. Schroeder hit a jump shot with 40.7 seconds left to seal the game.
Reeves made it a two-point game with a dunk. Down four after an offensive foul on Bonga, the U.S. regained possession with 33.3 seconds left. Edwards dropped a crucial pass and the USA sank.
Obst led the way for the Americans with 24 points. Franz Wagner added 22 points. Tice finished with 21 points for the Americans. The Americans were unable to put the game away despite a late run by Edwards, who scored 23 points.
After the victory was finalized, the German players hugged each other and broke down in tears. The Americans headed straight to the locker room. It was an inexcusable loss.