5 glaring mistakes that cost USA the FIBA World Cup 2023
Team USA's aspirations of winning the FIBA World Cup were dashed as they succumbed to a narrow 113-111 defeat against Germany on Friday.
While the Americans made various errors during the game, a select few were particularly noteworthy.
Five critical blunders that ultimately led to Team USA's loss in the FIBA World Cup 2023 semifinals:
1. Poor start to the second half
The USA entered the third quarter with a boost of momentum, having secured a narrow 60-59 lead at halftime.
However, Germany burst out of the gates with an impressive 11-4 run, seizing a six-point advantage. This run could be largely attributed to Andreas Obst, who sunk consecutive three-pointers, and the inability of Anthony Edwards, Mikal Bridges and Austin Reaves to continue their strong first halves.
Germany simply outpaced the US in the third quarter, outscoring them 35-24 to take a commanding 10-point lead.
2. Poor execution on both ends
Team USA undoubtedly boasts a roster filled with star players capable of unleashing explosive offensive performances at any given moment. However, in the match against Germany, they heavily relied on individual plays, which ultimately proved ineffective. In contrast, Germany operated like a well-oiled machine, presenting a challenge that the Americans struggled to counter.
A major factor contributing to Germany's success was the exceptional ball movement facilitated by Dennis Schroder, the shifty point guard who effortlessly contributed 17 points and nine assists. Germany recorded an impressive 30 assists compared to USA's 25.
Furthermore, Germany exhibited superior execution in crucial moments. Holding on to a slim 108-107 lead, Obst sunk a pivotal 3-pointer with only 1:14 remaining in the game. Shortly after, Schroder sealed the deal with a crucial short-range jumper, pushing Germany's lead to six in the final minute.
3. Allowed Germany to dominate using size
Team USA possessed the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Jaren Jackson Jr., but Daniel Theis managed to tally 21 points and seven rebounds, including three offensive boards.
Germany held a 12-7 advantage in offensive rebounds, leveraging their size advantage to dominate against Team USA. It's worth noting that not utilizing Walker Kessler, a traditional big man, for even a single minute, was a significant oversight by Steve Kerr.
Given the challenges posed by Germany's size, Kessler could have provided crucial rim protection and bolstered the team's rebounding efforts.
In contrast, Jackson, who started as center, only managed to secure three rebounds. Another key player on Germany's frontcourt, Franz Wagner, delivered an outstanding performance with 22 points and five rebounds.
4. Poor defense
Team USA struggled to come up with crucial defensive stops, particularly when Germany targeted Austin Reaves and Jalen Brunson, easily bypassing them. Even with Jackson holding down the center position, it wasn't enough to rescue the basket.
Germany's precise execution proved to be too challenging for the USA's lackluster defense. Despite impressive shooting splits of 58% from the field, 48% from 3-point range, and 96% from the free-throw line, and scoring 111 points in 40 minutes, Team USA’s performance was still lackluster due to their inability to prevent Germany from scoring 113 points on the other end.
5. Let Germans shine
Team USA allowed six German players to reach double-digit scoring figures, which is deemed as an unacceptable defensive performance. Obst stood out with an impressive 24 points, including four three-pointers. Johannes Thiemann contributed with 10 points and five rebounds, while Moritz Wagner also managed to notch 10 points.
Team USA's inability to contain the German players allowed them to excel and ultimately led to the team's defensive struggles.