To put it bluntly, this should not have happened. It wasn’t exactly the Heat vs. the Bobcats, but Germany (playing without Nowitzki or Kaman) was supposed to be severely overmatched. Just take a look at the lineups (Bolded players indicating NBA experience):
|Guard||Tony Parker||Nando De Colo||Antoine Diot|
|Guard||Mickael Gelabale||Charles Kahudi||Thomas Heurtel|
|Forward||Nicolas Batum||Florent Pietrus|
|Forward||Boris Diaw||Joffrey Lauvergne|
|Center||Alexis Ajinca||Johan petro|
|Guard||Heiko Schaffartzik||Per Günther||Bastian Doreth|
|Guard||Lucca Staiger||Karsten Tadda||Nicolai Simon|
|Forward||Philip Zwiener||Niels Giffey||Alex King|
|Forward||Robin Benzing||Maik Zirbes|
|Center||Tibor Pleiss||Andreas Seifferth|
Fortunately for France, this preliminary game was not an elimination round, but it should serve as a wakeup call. The German squad unleashed a barrage of threes, led by Bayern Munich shooting guard Lucca Staiger, shooting 62% as a team (8-13).
Portland’s Nicolas Batum put forth a rather pedestrian performance, scoring just 9 points on 4-11 shooting. He’s caught some minor flack for taking rushed, off-balance shots, but I can’t entirely fault him, as he seems to prefer them that way.
He did rack up some pretty assists (5 in total), but his tendency to flirt with disaster remains apparent. If France hopes to recover from this, they will need him to be on his A game. France will play Great Britain at noon tomorrow (another would-be pushover without Luol Deng) so, as Ace Ventura would put it, “The day of redemption is at hand!”