With only three teams left in the FIBA World Cup, things are getting real for Team USA and its hopes of securing a fifth Cup championship for the country this weekend.
Earlier Friday, Serbia used a top-flight defensive performance, anchored by 6’11” Nets stash Nikola Milutinov, to upset Canada, earning the first spot in the World Cup Finals Sunday.. Now, it’s the U.S. vs. Germany at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila to determine who will face Serbia in the battle for gold which begins at 8;40 a.m. Sunday, New York time.
As noted in our game preview, The last time the German team lost was in Abu Dhabi when the U.S. beat them in an exhibition game that was close till the end and required an 18-0 run. Since then, Germany has dominated with wins over Japan, Australia, Finland, Georgia, Slovenia and Latvia, that last game decided by two points Thursday.
Germany has two advantages shared with the U.S. They feature NBA players and are deep. In addition to the Raptors Dennis Schroeder, the Germans have Franz and Moritz Wagner of the Magic and Pacer big man Daniel Theis.
Team USA scrubbed Brandon Ingraham with a respiratory issue just prior to the game. That may mean more minutes for Cam Johnson. Meanwhile, Mikal Bridges is taking on a leading role. Bridges is now averaging 12.2 points a game while shooting 68/50/86. As The Ringer noted on Thursday of Tuesday’s game vs. Italy:
It was an unexpected but welcome star turn for Bridges, who had arguably been the team’s most important two-way player, leading it in plus-minus all tournament long.
And should Team USA lose, they will face Canada for silver at 4:30 a.m. New York time Sunday.
Live stats will be available here.
WHO: USA vs. Germany, FIBA World Cup semi-finals
WHEN: 8:40 a.m., ET.
WHERE: ESPN2 or Courtside 1891, the official streaming service of the World Cup.