Schroder delivers, Germany win the World Cup
MANILA (Philippines) - Time to add a new name to the list. Germany have won the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, their first world title ever, after a close encounter in the Final, defeating Serbia in front of 12,022 fans in the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. Final score: 83-77.
This is the second time they finished on the podium, after picking up bronze back in Indianapolis in 2002. Serbia finished second for the second time in last three World Cups, they lost the Final to the United States back in 2014.
Turning point: The high scoring first half saw the game tied at 47-all after 20 minutes of run and gun basketball, but after the halftime, coach Svetislav Pesic had to tune his lineup with his key defender Ognjen Dobric rolling an ankle and not being able to get back into the game.
Germany took full advantage, they could get into their flow of offense, while defensively putting a lot of trust in Johannes Voigtmann to take Nikola Milutinov one-on-one. The trust paid off, Serbia's offense went cold, Germany opened a 64-53 lead with 2:18 to play in the third.
Serbia did not go away that easily, though. Aleksa Avramovic fueled another energetic comeback, closing the gap to 71-64 with 7:22 to play. When he knocked down the corner three-pointer to cut it to 73-69, the roof nearly went off the arena with the noise.
It looked like Germany are going to overcome that once again, with Voigtmann's exact same response from the other left corner, but even when the gap was +9, Avramovic kept Serbia dreaming.
He hit six straight points to enter the final 1:21 of the game down by a single possession at 78-75.
Marko Guduric had a chance to tie the game from the right corner after a Bogdan Bogdanovic steal, but missed the shot, allowing Germany to take another two-possession lead.
When Guduric scored to make it 79-77, coach Gordie Herbert gave the ball to his superstar. Dennis Schroder delivered, hitting the clutch layup to make it 81-77 with 21.4 seconds left in the game.
There was no comeback after that, Serbia turned the ball over, Schroder just set the final score from the line.
TCL Player of the Game: The bigger the games, the bigger the players. Dennis Schroder and Bogdan Bogdanovic both came to play, and even guarded each other, taking full responsibility for whatever the outcome of the Final ended up being.
Schroder won the game, so he's the hero, finishing with 28 points on the night, including the game winning shots.
Bogdanovic was amazing, too. His first half kept Serbia close to Germany, but was not enough to pick up a gold in the end. He collected 17 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds.
However, the TCL Player of the Game award in the Final finished in Franz Wagner's hands. He was consistent throughout 40 minutes with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists.
Honorable mention on Serbia's side: Aleksa Avramovic (21 points, 16 in the final quarter).
Stats don't lie: Serbia committed 12 turnovers, but nine of those were also Germany's steals, meaning they beat Serbia in their own game. That led to a 19-12 edge in points from turnovers, not exactly a mind blowing advantage, but when you consider Serbia usually won that category with ease at this World Cup, it's clear why coach Gordie Herbert will enjoy this stat.
Bottom line: That certainly was a game to remember! Both teams presented high level basketball, very tactical while still insisting on aesthetics, drawing "oohs" and "ahhs" from the Filipino crowd on nearly every possession.
The kids back in Germany knew what they were doing when Christian Welp dunked it down to win FIBA EuroBasket 1993, they knew what they were doing when Dirk Nowitzki scored in bunches in 2002, and the new generations will tell stories of the Wagner Brothers' energy, Dennis Schroder's leadership and Andi Obst introduction to the world in 2023.
After picking up the bronze medal at FIBA EuroBasket 2022, this is the first time in German basketball history that they've won major event medals in consecutive years.
As for Serbia, they played an unreal tournament yet again, reminding everybody that this squad played back-to-back Finals for a reason in 2014 and 2016. Marko Guduric admitted the gold medal winning run in 2002 was what made him fall in love with basketball as a kid, now it was time for him and his teammates to be the role models for newer generations of this incredible basketball nation.
We can't wait for a rematch between these two, already in Paris 2024, if possible.