Dennis Schröder and Marco Belinelli continued to thrive Saturday in Tel Aviv as they pushed their teams to 2-0 starts and the top of Group B in FIBA's EuroBasket tournament.
Schröder scored a game-high 23 points in leading Germany to a 67-57 win over a Georgia team led by former Hawk Zaza Pachulia."Our backcourt play has carried us offensively," German coach Chris Fleming said in a press conference streamed on the FIBA website. "We rely on Dennis – and also quite a bit on (German point guard) Maodo (Lo) – to make plays for us."In trying to make plays, Schröder also tallied 2 steals, 3 rebounds and 9 turnovers, "We ask a lot of him on both ends. I thought he was pretty good defensively," Fleming said.Perhaps Schröder's most important play, the one that turned the momentum in the fourth quarter, didn't show up in the box score at all.With Georgia running the floor on a fast break trying to cut Germany's 62-54 lead, Schröder dropped off his man and slid to the top of the charge circle in front of former Brooklyn Net Tornike Shengelia, who had already slammed in two huge dunks."It's easy to talk about his offensive gifts and all the stuff he gets done," Fleming said, "but that's a 'take one for the team' – that's a four-point play for me – him sticking his nose in there and taking a charge."Ten seconds after absorbing the charge, Schröder drove and kicked a pass out to teammate Robin Benzing for a three to put a lockhold on the game that Germany never ceded.Meanwhile, Belinelli scored a game-high 26 points, including 21 in the first half, as Italy topped the Ukraine by a 78-66 margin. Belinelli made 6 of 12 threes (6-8, 75%) as the Italians pushed one step closer to a head-to-head battle Tuesday with Germany for the top spot in the group.You can watch highlights from both players' Saturday performances below. Here are the group-play schedules for Germany and Italy. Both will be in action Sunday:Germany's schedule of games for group play (all times ET):Aug. 31, Ukraine, Won 75-63Sep. 2, Georgia, Won 67-57Sep. 3, Israel, 2:30 PMSep. 5, Italy, 11:30 AMSep. 6, Lithuania, 7:45 AMItaly's schedule of games for group play (all times ET):Aug. 31, Israel, Won 69-48Sep. 2, Ukraine, Won, 78-66Sep. 3, Lithuania, 11:30 AMSep. 5, Germany, 11:30 AMSep. 6, Georgia, 10:30 AM