Both Dennis Schröder and Marco Belinelli and their respective German and Italian national teams got off to strong starts in the FIBA Eurobasket 2017 competition. Heading into Sunday, both teams were 2-0 with and the two members of the Atlanta Hawks were leading the way. However, on Sunday, each team was unable to keep its winning streak alive.
Schröder has been one of the stars of the competition so far. After two games, he was leading the tournament in scoring. On Thursday, Germany defeated Ukraine 75-63 with the Hawks’ point guard delivering 32 points and 8 assists while shooting 5/9 from behind the arc. On, Saturday, Germany won again, 67-57 over Georgia, as Schröder scored 23, although he had just 1 assist while turning the ball over 9 times.
On Sunday, the German team came up short versus Israel falling 82-80 in a closely-fought contest. Schröder was again the key cog for the Germans with 20 points and 7 assists. But it was challenging game for him, as the young point guard shot 0 for 4 from the three point line and picked up his fourth foul early in the 3rd quarter, limiting his minutes in the second half.
With 16 seconds remaining in a game tied at 80, he was unable to convert a layup that would have given his team the lead. Gal Mekel made two free throws to clinch the victory for Israel.
Earlier in the game, Schröder banged his hand on the scorer’s table while trying to save the ball from going out of bounds. Trainers attended to his hand but Schröder was able to finish the game.
The story for Marco Belinelli and the Italian national team is similar. On Thursday, Italy defeated Greece 69-48 behind 18 points on 6 of 8 three point shooting from Belinelli. On Saturday, they won 78-66 versus Ukraine. Belinelli scored 26 shooting 6 of 12 from behind the arc.
On Sunday, Italy faced a Lithuanian team looking to win their second consecutive game after a two-point loss to Georgia to open the tournament. Lithuania was prepared for Belinelli and the Italians using a defense that over-played him on the 3-point line forcing him to put the ball on the floor and create in ways outside of his comfort zone.
Scoring just 14 points, he made just one of three attempted three-point shots and shot 4/10 on 2-pointers. Italy fell to the Lithuanians by a final score of 78-73.
On Tuesday, Schröder and Belinelli will face one another as Italy and Germany go head to head in Tel Aviv. Stay tuned.