European champions hammer Germany

KUNSHAN, China (AFP) – European champions Greece laid down a marker for the World Basketball Championships by winning the warmup Stankovic Cup tournament yesterday. But there was bad news for France whose star player Tony Parker may miss the World Championships, which start in Japan on Saturday, after injuring a finger in an 86-74 win over Brazil. Greece hammered Germany 84-47 in the final of the six-team tournament, using their trademark teamwork, stifling defense and precision offense to leave Dirk Nowitzki’s team flat-footed. Coach Panayiotis Yiannakis should have been thrilled with his team’s performance, as all 12 of his players scored, shooting 70 percent from the field and 53 percent from behind the arc. Greece jumped out to an 18-10 lead at the end of the first quarter with sharpshooting forward Antonis Fotsis leading the way with five points in the period. The Germans could never recover from the deficit, despite seven points from the Dallas Mavericks’ Nowitzki in the first frame. Nowitzki finished with just nine points, sitting down midway through the third quarter and never returning as grim-faced German coach Dirk Bauermann opted to rest his star for Saturday’s Group B opener against Japan. France claimed third spot with their win against Brazil, but it came at a price as San Antonio Spurs point guard Parker sprained a finger on his shooting hand. Team doctors said it was not broken but more thorough examination was necessary to determine the extent of the injury.

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