Even a drought in the second quarter couldn’t stop Turkey as they rolled to an easy victory over the home side in front of 13,015 fans in Berln, writes Emmet Ryan
Fuelled by a 5 of 6 performance from deep in the first quarter, Turkey hit Germany hard from the off in this one as they showed they were fully recovered after giving an exhausted display against Spain on Sunday.
Ali Muhammed vs Dennis Schroeder was the battle to watch here and it was the man formerly known as Bobby Dixon who struck first to give Turkey an early lead. The top two point guards in this group is a legit debate, the two most exciting sure isn’t. These were two men who are hyper aggressive on offence, looking to create as many shots as possible for themselves and those around them. It was the Turkish side who had more energy to start the game, a marked difference from the exhausted display they presented against Spain. A three by Muhammed following a smart pass by Cedi Osman off the rebound forced Chris Fleming to call an early timeout as Turkey led 9-0.
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Out of the stoppage Germany looked to get a better handle on the pace of this one. Schroeder sought to slow things down a little but Osman was bringing a whole heap of speed up in his grill. Ergin Ataman wanted his team to force a hard pace and he was getting his wish as the combinantion of Muhammed, Osman, and Sinan Guler tormented the home side. This was up tempo ball and Germany, despite having a roster of players largest used to playing in a fast paced league, were struggling to keep up. Ersan Ilyasova looked a little too keen to make his own shot early on but when he nailed a three and Semih Erden followed up in the paint straight after, Turkey were in total command. A Guler three pushed the advantage to 16 as a battered German side looked to resotre some semblance of order. Dirk Nowitzki was the only person getting anything done for Germany and it wasn’t close to enough. After 10 lopsided minutes, Turkey led 31-11.
The pace was pretty much the same to start the second frame but Turkey weren’t having the same success with their shots and that gave Germany a little bit of time to get their composure. This was a big hole to get out of but it was one that could be made at least manageable by the half. Robin Benzing made 4 straight from the line to give Germany something to build off and their defence finally started to frustrate Muhammed who had been running rings around them. A tip-in by Benzing cut the gap to 14 and Ataman called in his troops with 6 minutes left in the half. With Turkey scoreless through the first 5 minutes, Erden left nothing to chance as he dunked to open their account in the half but just to make sure not everything was back to normal Ataman picked up a T all of 2 seconds later. Fortunately for Turkey, Germanys offence was still far from impresive’. Save for Benzing, the home side was at sea in Turkish territoy. With 20 minutes in the books, Turkey retained a comfortable lead at 41-24.
Germany essentially needed to dominate the opening 5 minutes of the third to get back into this one and Schroeder clearly realised this as he scored quickly before feeding Tibor Pleiss to cut the gap to 13. Pleiss however picked up his fourth foul almost immediately forcing Chris Fleming to stick Johannes Voigtmann on Erden who had been dominating the paint. Just as Schroeder cut the gap to 10 from the line, Erden was there at the other end to hook one over Voigtmann. Then boom came Muhammed with a steal out of nowhere and Turkey were pushing out again. With Ersan Ilyasova doing a solid job keeping the score ticking over, Osman had room o use his energy to attack inside. Much like his performances in the TBL Playoffs with Efes, Osman was rarely the option but when he got the ball he had confidence and drained the energy of the German defence. He doesn’t always load the stat sheet but Osman is efficient and was playing a crucial role for Turkey as they sought to turn the screw on the home side. A Mehli Mahmutoglu took the gas out of the home fans and Fleming called in his charges, trailing by 19, with 1.16 left in the frame. Turkey entered the final quarter well on top, 60-43.
The home side looked done and dusted early in the fourth when Muhammed nailed a three and already thoughts were turning to Thursday’s game with Italy. Any hope Germany had of a top three finish was done but, barring the Italians upsetting Spain later today, Germany and Italy had an effective play-in game to the knockout stages to come. Fleming however wasn’t sitting his best players. Nowitzki, Schroeder, and Benzing were still out there as they sought in vain to salvage this one. Turkey meanwhile were, barring a shock defeat to Iceland on Thursday, had just locked up third spot and had an outside shot at first if they could beat Serbia on Wednesday. That wasn’t on their mind right now. This was all about closing out an impressive display where, save for those 5 minutes in the second quarter and a couple late on when Germany got the deficit back down to single digits, Ataman’s side had controlled from start to finish. Despite the final score, Turkey never looked in real trouble.
Prior to this tournament this was marked down as a game Turkey were expected to win but the manner of their victory and the resurrection of Erden over these past three games was far beyond what most analysts (rodhig7 being the exception) expected. Nobody wants to see these guys after a rest day. THey have players, they have options, and they have a whole ton of speed. This is not the gritty Turkey we have endured watching for the past few seasons. This is an energetic outfit that is going to make some noise when it gets to Lille.