Germany beats Italy to advance to quarterfinals
MADRID, Spain -- Dirk Nowitzki had 15 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday to lead Germany over Italy 67-58 and into the quarterfinals of the European Basketball Championship.
Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer with 4:49 to play in the fourth to extend Germany's lead to seven. The Dallas Mavericks star then made two free throws with 33 seconds to play.
Johannes Herber also scored 15 for Germany, including a key 3-pointer down the stretch.
Germany will face world champion Spain in the quarters on Thursday.
Ramunas Siskauskas scored 21 points to help Lithuania beat Slovenia 80-61. Forward Darius Songaila of the Washington Wizards added 17 as the 2003 champions kept their unbeaten streak at the tournament.
Jaka Lakovic led Slovenia with 15 points and three steals.
Lithuania plays Croatia and Slovenia takes on defending champion Greece on Friday. Lithuania, Slovenia and France have already reached the quarterfinals, along with Russia, Greece and Croatia.
France beat winless Turkey 85-64 in a meaningless Group F game.
"I don't know if you want to say it was a practice game, but we wanted to work on some stuff. And we wanted to win and we got some players some confidence," Kirksay said. "And now we have to be ready for tomorrow."
Kaya Peker led Turkey with 19 points.
"I hope this doesn't do immense damage to Turkish basketball," guard Engin Atsur said. "If you look at it, we have great talent, but we just couldn't make it as a team this year."
Nowitzki finished the third quarter on the bench, and Germany stretched its lead to 46-37 without him. The NBA MVP had eight points in the fourth.
Italy started fast. Belinelli, drafted in the first round by the Golden State Warriors, went 4-of-5 from the field in the first quarter to help Italy build an 18-12 lead.
Stefano Mancinelli scored Italy's only field goal of the second quarter with a layup with 14 seconds to go, but the game was tied at 27 at halftime.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
With two Olympic qualifying bids up for grabs at the FIBA Europe competition, many NBA stars excelled for their home countries in Madrid. Russia was the surprise winner, with Lithuania collecting the other Olympic berth with its third-place finish. (Runner-up Spain already qualified.)
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