Greece had so much going for them. A 60 point first half outing, something no team had ever managed to do and gone on to lose. An enormous travelling support in the stands. Oh, and a two time NBA MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo. None of it mattered as a barrage of three from a fired up Germany sent them to the the semi finals of EuroBasket for the first time since 2005. Emmet Ryan caught all the action from behind the bucket.
This was a home game for Germany but it sure didn’t feel like it as the Greek fans had taken every ticket they could get their hands on. Outside, before the game, a Greek fan had taken off his Bucks Giannis jersey and screamed into a TV interviewer’s mic about how the home side was in for a rough night.
The German approach to Giannis Antetokounmpo was like a budget version of what Czech Republic had done on Sunday as they tried to form a wall in front of him but with nowhere near the precision or impact on pace. Of course, the main reason they couldn’t impact the pace was because they really didn’t want to. Germany had come here to run and tremendous efficiency gave them a double digit lead as the home fans finally found a way to shout over the Greeks.
The big question coming into this was whether Franz Wagner would be able to play or, if he could, would he be at 100 per cent. A two from two start from deep and he was looking pretty much at full health for this one.
The pace was insane. 50 points combined in the first 6 minutes and 3 seconds. The Germans were setting the tone but they were far from running away from Greece and the nominal visitors seemed perfectly happy to run with them.
The scoring slowed a teeny bit during the last 4 minutes of the frame but Giannis already had a gaudy line of 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in just over 8 minutes of action. There was simply no way Germany could expect to win this game if they allowed him to dominate like this.
Maodo Lo from deep, really deep, and Germany were finding a way to keep their ludicrous scoring pace going but Greece were fine just answering back. Then came the moment that made the home fans really believe. Johannes Thiemann robbed Giannis in the open court. Giannis immediately committed an unsportsmanlike foul and, oh my, this was a tight one on the scoreboard but there was more of a leash on the Greek Freak now.
It didn’t deter the Greeks as Papanikolaou tied things up at 44-44 and, never mind the players, it was hard to imagine this crowd keeping up this level of energy. At the line, Giannis gave Greece their first lead of the night and his stat line was beyond outrageous for this stage of the game.
The half ended up being one of the highest scoring in EuroBasket history, with 118 points. It looked like 115 but then Kostas Sloukas scored the second crazy buzzer beater of the day.
ΣΛΟΥΚΑΡΟΣ ΚΑΙ BUZZER BEATER
— 𝑀𝑜𝑛𝑘𝑒𝑦 𝐷. 𝐾𝑜𝑚𝑖 🐵 (@MonkeyDKomi) September 13, 2022
BallinEurope is ramping up its YouTube game this season. Subscribe to our channel now for player exclusives, analysis videos, and much more.
A remarkable scoreless spell from Greece to start the third quarter was cause for concern although history was on their side. They were the 35th team to score 60+ points the in first half of a EuroBasket game. On each of the 34 prior occasions, that team went on to win.
Still, they were really testing that premise as Germany started with a 20-1 run, including a pair of back to back threes from Wagner, and had plenty of success shutting down Giannis in the paint. Daniel Theis and Johannes Voigtmann were teaming up to remove any space at all for him to operate.
The Freak made his first three of the night and they recorded a steal and bucket to make things manageable again, because they were getting well out of hand, but this was easily the biggest scare Greece had got in the tournament to date and the the two time NBA MVP wasn’t enough as things stood.BallinEurope has a book, a real life actual book called I Like it Loud, and you can buy it on Amazon now. It’s here as a book and here in Kindle form.
This is when greats are made. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Greece trailed by 12 with 10 minutes to play. If he was going to give the thousands that travelled what they expected, this had to be the moment. With Germany still raining threes, it wasn’t looking like his chance to steal the moment was going to come tonight. Then he bust inside and brought the deficit back to single digits but missed the subsequent free throw. Franz Wagner went right down and hit a 3, followed by Theis hitting one of his own and now the Deutschland fans were realising this could actually happen.
Then his night ended. That second unsportsmanlike came after a replay check and, with 4.56 left and trailing by 14, Greece were without arguably the greatest player alive. There was half a quarter left and anyone who doubted the inevitable stopped once Dennis Schroeder moved them into an unthinkable 24 point lead. This wasn’t a plucky victory. This wasn’t a team making the most of the breaks. This was Deutschland demolishing Hellas in a manner nobody thought possible before this tournament.