BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro -- Slovenia, Spain, Russia and
defending champion Lithuania advanced to the quarterfinals of the
European Championship on Sunday.
Slovenia and Lithuania advanced with 3-0 records, while Russia
and Spain won their groups despite losing their final preliminary
In Tuesday's playoffs to determine the other quarterfinalists,
Serbia-Montenegro plays France, Germany meets Turkey, Greece faces
Israel and Croatia takes on Italy.
The four winners of each group advanced directly to the
quarterfinals, while second- and third-place teams went into an
additional playoff round to advance.
Dirk Nowitzki's 3-pointer with 27 seconds left lifted Germany to
a 51-50 win over Russia -- the only time Germany led in a game
marked by poor shooting.
Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks' All-Star, finished with 24
points and 19 rebounds. He shot 1-for-6 from 2-point range and
5-for-12 from beyond the arc. Russia's Andrei Kirilenko, of the
Utah Jazz, had two key turnovers late in the game.
Germany scored 16 points in the first half and was scoreless for
the first six minutes of the third quarter. Russia struggled with
its shooting and led by 10 before Nowitzki started hitting his
Nowitzki made two free throws to tie it at 45-all, but Russia
stayed just ahead until Kirilenko slipped on the dribble and turned
the ball over. Nowitzki drew a foul and made two free throws to cut
Russia's lead to 50-48. Kirilenko again slipped and lost the ball
and Nowitzki hit the winning 3-pointer.
Victor Khryapa, who finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds,
missed a 3-point attempt on Russia's last possession. Kirilenko
also had 12 points and seven rebounds, while Jon Robert Holden, a
naturalized American-born point guard, had 13 points for Russia.
Despite the loss, Russia (2-1) won Group A in Vrsac. Germany
(2-1) was second and Italy (2-1) was third. Italy beat winless
Lithuania beat winless Bulgaria 92-79 to finish undefeated in
Group B. Croatia (2-1) finished second by beating Turkey 80-67,
helped by a 29-5 scoring advantage in the third quarter.
Lithuania got 17 points from Simas Jasaitis and led by 20 by the
Nikola Vujcic of Maccabi Tel Aviv led Croatia with 20 points and
Gordan Giricek of the Utah Jazz added 16.
In Group C in Belgrade, Slovenia got 18 points from Jaka Lakovic
in a 68-58 win over France (1-2).
Greece (2-1) took second place by beating winless
Bosnia-Herzegovina 67-50. France finished third.
Two San Antonio players played on opposing sides, and Tony
Parker ended up on the losing team. Parker has not been a factor in
the tournament, so far. Parker finished with two points, two
rebounds and one assist.
In Novi Sad, host Serbia-Montenegro (2-1) beat winless Latvia
82-67 to finish second in Group D behind Spain (2-1), a 85-77 loser
to Israel (2-1), which finished third.
Tal Burnstein had 19 points and Gur Shelef added 15 for Israel.
Jorge Garbajosa scored 21 points and had nine rebounds for
Spain, which also got 20 points and nine rebounds from center
Felipe Reyes. But guard Juan Carlos Navarro, who averaged a
tournament-high 31 points in the first two games, was held to nine.