By Cesare Milanti / email@example.com
MANILA, Philippines – “I probably had the worst game of my career, but we still found a win to win the game”, Dennis Schroder said in the mixed zone following the 81-79 win against Latvia to get to the 2023 FIBA World Cup semifinals.
That’s the best way to describe his night, considering he ended the encounter on the winning side but still with a nightmare performance. In 30:10 minutes on the court of the Mall of Asia Arena, he scored 9 points while shooting only 4/26 from the field, including 0/8 from three.
However, the newest Toronto Raptors guard tried to not think too much about his individual night during the game. “I just tried to stay positive, because at the end of the day if you make shots or don’t you can’t control it. I still talked to my teammates as leader and captain, I can’t fall into having a bad mood. For me, it’s just staying and being happy for everybody else who’s stepping up. But luckily we won the game”, he added in the mixed zone.
Germany survived with an amazing effort put by its players coming off the bench, outscoring the Baltic team 44-6 in points scored from non-starters. “Latvia is really tough, they had a good gameplan. They played well as a team, shooting a lot of threes. I’m proud of the guys, who stepped up from the bench. The starters, the Wagner brothers. That was special”, Dennis Schroder added.
A crucial contribution came from the hands of Franz Wagner, who ended with 16 points and 8 rebounds after being forced to miss four games in a row after suffering an ankle injury against Japan on August 25, date of the 2023 FIBA World Cup opening games.
Coming up clutch for Germany while Schroder wasn’t delivering, the Orlando Magic forward was praised by his teammate with the number 17. “Big time, he’s back. He didn’t play for four games, just stepping into it and play, helping us win the game”, he said about Franz before extending the compliments to the whole team. “Everybody in this locker room stepped up, it wasn’t just him. He was special, but everybody else in the locker room enjoys the credit. That’s the reason why we’re together as a team”, Schroder added.
While struggling on offense, the 29-year-old playmaker also had some troubles in trying to defende against Arturs Zagars, the Latvian sensation of the summer.
Playing for Braunschweig, native town of the German point guard and club owned by the former Los Angeles Lakers player, the 23-year-old talent didn’t come as a surprise for Dennis Schroder. “I own a team in Germany, and he played there one and a half years ago. He was a little bit hurt, injured, and he couldn’t play that much. But since then, he made a huge jump. Shoutout to him, he played well tonight. He did his thing for sure”, he commented on his opponent’s performance.
Now, all eyes are on the matchup against the United States. “We’re gonna ejoy this one, watch some film tomorrow. We’ll be ready on Friday”, he said before touching on the Olympic Games, which could see Germany qualified alongside Serbia if Canada beats Slovenia in the last of the Quarter-Finals.
“We’re focusing on the World Cup, we have the semifinals on Friday. We’re going to battle trying to make it as far as possible in the World Cup”, Dennis Schroder finally commented.
PHOTO CREDIT: 2023 FIBA World Cup