Dennis Schröder and Dirk Nowitzki each finished with 15 points as Germany held on to defeat Iceland 71-65 in both team's EuroBasket opener.
Germany was the favorite going in and was clearly the bigger and more talented squad. They jumped out to an early double digit lead, but were unable to put Iceland completely away. Iceland cut the lead to just six points with under three minutes remaining in the fourth, but Germany was able to pull things out at the free throw line to escape the upset bid. Germany struggled to execute its offense down the stretch which led to a number of turnovers and good opportunities for Iceland.
Schröder did a good job of controlling the game and the pace early. He knocked down 7-of-13 shots from the field to go along with six rebounds and four assists. He was charged with four turnovers, but Germany probably would have been better served allowing him to attack a bit more down the stretch. Nowitzki knocked down 5-of-11 shots and grabbed seven rebounds. Iceland's Jon Stefansson led all scorers with 23 points.
Germany did a good job securing a much needed win, but they will have to play significantly better if they hope to survive what is a loaded Group B. They are back at it on Sunday when they square off against Serbia.
Germany first round EuroBasket schedule:
Saturday, September 5
Germany 71, Iceland 65
Sunday, September 6
Serbia vs Germany - 8:50 a.m. ET WatchESPN
Tuesday, September 8
Germany vs Turkey - 11:35 a.m. ET WatchESPN
Wednesday, September 9
Italy vs Germany - 11:35 a.m. ET WatchEspn
Thursday, September 10
Germany vs Spain - 11:35 a.m. ET WatchESPN