With answered prayer, Germany ends Latvia’s Fiba World Cup run
MANUKA, Philippines–Johannes Thiemann had one thing in mind when Davis Bertans launched a triple near the end of the match.
“I was praying. I was really praying that he (Bertans) misses that shot,” said the Germany forward, moments after his squad held off giant-slaying Latvia, 81-79, on Wednesday in their Fiba World Cup quarterfinal match at Mall of Asia Arena.
Germany thus advanced to the semifinals where it faces the United States, but only after surviving a scare from the inspired Latvians who flew to Manila having beaten defending champion Spain and Olympic silver medalist France.
“[They’re] unbelievable. The way they play, the way they beat big teams, it’s crazy how they played as a team and I think they had an unbelievable tournament,” said Thiemann, who finished with 10 points.
The Germans were up by 10, 79-69, with 2:39 left in the game when Latvia fired on all cylinders for a 10-2 run, shaving their deficit to two, 81-79.
With two seconds remaining, Bertans, who finished with 20 points, fired a long ball for the win but missed, giving the tight victory to Germany.
Johannes Thiemann after Germany’s win over Latvia. He finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
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“They’re a tough team. They fought like hell and at the end, they fought themselves back to the game and even got a chance to win it,” said Thiemann.
Even Dennis Schroeder, who was bedeviled by the Latvian defense for an abysmal shooting night, had to tip off his hat to the quarterfinalists.
“Big shoutout to them. They played hard, shot a lot of threes, beat a lot of teams this tournament, shoutout to them, really good team,” said the Toronto Raptors guard.
The former Los Angeles Laker scattered nine points on a lowly 15.4 percent shooting clip, sinking just four of his 26 tries from the field.
“This is probably the worst game I ever played in my career,” said Schroeder, who missed all his eight tries from beyond the arc.