Team USA's next mission: Stop Germany's uberstar

Originally Published: August 24, 2006
By Chris Sheridan | ESPN Insider
SAITAMA, Japan -- Shane Battier gets first crack at defending Dirk Nowitzki, but if the Germany-U.S. match starts looking like a Grizzlies-Mavericks playoff game, it'll be on to Plan B.

Team USA has a Plan C and a Plan D too, and before Wednesday night is over we're likely to see Chris Bosh, Antawn Jamison and Elton Brand take their turns, too.

Dirk Nowitzki
AP Photo/Junji KurokawaThere's no easy way to defend Dirk Nowitzki.

Stopping Germany's best player will be the primary task for the U.S. national team in its quarterfinal match Wednesday night (ESPN2, 6:30 a.m. ET) at the World Championship, although the Americans are not looking at the Germans as a one-man team.

"With Dirk, obviously he can score the ball, but he helps other people score the ball, too," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday as the Americans returned to practice following a day off. "He's their playmaker. And for us, we have to cut down on his assists and free throws so when we are playing him we're not fouling him, and putting enough pressure on everyone else so that when he does have the ball he's not finding open people. I think if you go and double him all the time, he's 7-1, he's going to find people because he's an unselfish player. And if what we're doing doesn't work, we've talked about different adjustments."

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