Wed, Sep 05, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Nowitzki leads Germany to win

HOME COOKING NBA All-Star Pau Gasol scored 19 points as the hosts routed Portugal in their bid to win the Euro trophy while also holding the world title

AP , MADRID

Dirk Nowitzki scored 35 points and pulled in 11 rebounds as Germany needed overtime to beat the Czech Republic 83-78 on Monday on the opening day of the European Championship in Spain.

In Alicante, where Tony Parker scored 16 as France held off Poland 74-66, a last-second 3-pointer by Jaka Lakovic lifted Slovenia over Olympic runner-up Italy 69-68 in Group D.

Defending champion Greece opened with a 76-66 win over Israel in a Group A match in Granada, where Andrei Kirilenko's 24 points and 12 rebounds led Russia over Serbia 73-65.

NBA All-star forward Pau Gasol scored 19 as Spain routed Portugal 82-56 in Sevilla to begin its campaign to become the third country to claim the European trophy while holding the world title. Latvia surprised Croatia 85-77 in the other Group B match.

In Group C, three-time champion Lithuania rolled over Turkey 85-69.

At Palma de Mallorca, Nowitzki scored 19 second-half points and four more in overtime as Germany rallied from an early deficit in their Group C game.

"This was a lot tougher than we thought it would be. But it was good that we held together," the Dallas Mavericks veteran said.

The Czech Republic led 31-25 at halftime thanks to 10 points by forward Lubos Barton.

But the Germans rallied in the second half behind Nowitzki, who hit a 3-pointer to spark a 10-1 run that put Germany ahead 46-44 in the fourth quarter.

He connected on a turnaround jumper from the top of the key to put the Germans ahead 72-68 with 51 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Czechs had closed to 73-72 with 20 seconds to go before Ladislav Sokolovsky sank both free throws to tie the game. Mithat Demirel's last-second desperation shot missed.

Nowitzki's second field goal in overtime put Germany ahead by three with 49 seconds to go. Jakob Houska dunked after a Barton miss to pull the Czechs within one with 29 seconds left, but a pair of Demirel free throws and a dunk by Demond Greene decided the game as the Czechs didn't get another shot until just before the game ended.

At the Centro de Tecnificacion, the lead changed four times in the last 30 seconds with Slovenia's Lakovic hitting his winner from more than a meter behind the line.

Massimo Bulleri's jump shot gave Italy a 65-64 lead -- its first since it was ahead 9-8 in the first quarter -- before Lakovic converted two free throws.

Bulleri drove the lane before passing to Matteo Soragna, whose three from the corner with five seconds left put Italy back in front 68-66 and set the stage for Lakovic's dramatic winner.

Earlier, France shot 42 percent from the field and had four players score in double figures.

Leading 13-12, Boris Diaw hit a 3-pointer and Parker then connected on a layup and two subsequent free throws as France pushed ahead of Poland for good.

At Granada, Vasileios Spanoulis scored 19 while Konstantinos Tsartsaris and Dimosthenis Ntikoudis added 15 each as Greece surged with a 9-1 run early in the fourth quarter to take control 61-52 and beat Israel.

Andrei Kirilenko scored 16 in the second half as Russia held off a Serbia side that shot only 33 percent from the field.

Russia watched a 16-point first-half lead shrink to six before Nikita Morgunov's jumper at the halftime horn ended a 15-5 Serbian run.

After Milenko Tepic missed a chance to put Serbia ahead with two minutes to go in the third, Kirilenko completed a 3-point play to stretch Russia's lead to 51-46. Serbia closed to within three on its next possession before Russia slowly pulled away with Morgunov sinking a 3-pointer to hike the lead to 10 with 1:02 remaining.

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