OKC Thunder guard Dennis Schroder’s team Germany falls to Japan in upset

OKC Thunder: Germany's point guard Dennis Schroder (C) keeps the ball against Japan's Makoto Hiejima (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder: Germany's point guard Dennis Schroder (C) keeps the ball against Japan's Makoto Hiejima (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder guard Dennis Schroder and his German team suffer an upset in exhibition action at the hands of Japan in preparation for the FIBA World Cup.

Exhibition action in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup continues this weekend with some surprising upsets. While Team USA losing to Australia and ending their 78 game unbeaten streak tops the news another big upset occurred on Saturday as Japan beat Germany. OKC Thunder reserve point guard Dennis Schroder is on team Germany.

This upset was no less significant given the Japan Team had never beaten a European squad in FIBA competition. Although it is a warm-up for the main event this win is no less significant. Japan trailed by 12 points in the contest but made a concerted second half run to pull out the victory by a score 86-83.

OKC Thunder, guard Dennis Schroder led his German squad with 16 points in the loss. A big block by Japan’s Rui Hachimura on Schroder in the closing seconds sealed the victory for Japan. A trio of NBA players joins Schroder including Maxi Kleber of the Dallas Mavericks, Daniel Theis of the Boston Celtics and Isaac Bongo of the Washington Wizards. Paul Zipser who used to play for the Chicago Bulls is also on the squad. In the loss, Kleber and Theis both scored eight points while Zipser scored 12 points.

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But the NBA player who shone on this day was rookie Rui Hachimura who is now the face of the Japan team. Hachimura scored 31 points and presented an all-around game adding five rebounds, two steals, and a block.

The Japanese forward was selected ninth in this summer’s NBA draft by the Washington Wizards.  The other NBA player on the Japan team is two-way contract player Yuta Watanabe of the Memphis Grizzlies. Watanabe scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds along with two steals including a pivotal steal at end game over Kleber.

Germany is in Group G which also houses the Dominican Republic, France, and Jordan. Japan resides in Group E of the World Cup which features the favorite Team USA as well as Turkey and Czech Republic.

At tournament start, Germany faces the toughest team in their group – Team France on September 1st (4:30 EST), while Japan also gets their tournament on September 1st playing Turkey (12:30 EST).

The 2019 FIBA World Cup runs from August 31 to September 15 and carries added weight given seven teams can secure their Olympic berth to next summer’s Olympics in Toyko, Japan. Failure to land a berth at the event doesn’t preclude Olympic participation, however, it means playing in a wild card tournament and those events occur during the NBA season meaning top NBA talent won’t be able to help their squads.

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The other OKC Thunder players who’ll participate at FIBA are Danilo Gallinari for Team Italy and Luguentz Dort may still may the Canadian Team although Shai Gilgeous-Alexander withdrew his name from consideration electing to focus on his first season with the OKC Thunder instead. Should Team Canada gain a spot in the Olympics he would be an automatic addition.