May 23, 2024

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dillon Brooks lead Canada to wrestle FIBA World Cup bronze away from USA

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dillon Brooks lead Canada to wrestle FIBA World Cup bronze away from USA

In the battle for bronze between NBA talent-laden squads, Canada came out supreme—handing USA its third loss in the FIBA World Cup, 127-118, to win its first-ever medal in the tournament on Sunday.  

The win marks the first time that the Canadians defeated the Americans in the eight games they have met in the World Cup.

Enforcer Dillon Brooks started the game hot for the Jordi Fernandez-coached squad, scoring 21 of his 39 points in the first half and helping his team lead by as many as 13 points in the opening period at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Houston Rockets forward was especially hot from the 3-point land all game, notching 7-of-8 long-range shots and not missing until late in the third quarter. Brooks’ total scoring output is also the most for a player in a medal-winning game in FIBA World Cup history.

While Team USA made a spirited run in the second quarter to keep things close, Canada kept its poise as its star, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, stamped his presence in the game to the tune of 31 points, 6 rebounds, and 12 assists. It's only the fourth time in the FIBA World Cup history that two players from the same team scored over 30 points in the same game. Canada ended the third canto with a nine-point lead.

The Americans made a 10-0 run early in the fourth to tie the game at 94, ignited by two 3-pointers by Tyrese Haliburton, but the Canadians managed to keep them at bay until the dying seconds.

With Canada leading 111-107 with four seconds remaining, Team USA once more made a miraculous run. Mikal Bridges made one free throw, intentionally missed the second, and then rushed to the offensive rebound for a quick, turnaround three from the corner to send the game to overtime.

It was, however, the last shining moment for the United States as Canada—SGA, rather—started the extra period on a 7-1 run. Gilgeous-Alexander buried a fall-away jumper, a step-back 3-pointer, and two free throws to give Canada the cushion. RJ Barrett, another NBA talent, then nailed a 3-point bomb with 44 seconds remaining to seal the deal and bring the North American country to their first-ever FIBA World Cup medal in history.

Team USA, on the other hand, fell out of the podium for the second straight World Cup after finishing in seventh place in the 2019 edition in China. The 127 points that the Tokyo Olympics gold medalists conceded to Canada in Sunday's game is also the most points they gave up in FIBA's flagship tournament. 

Anthony Edwards and Austin Reaves led US in the scoring department, tallying 24 and 23 points, respectively. Paolo Banchero, Brandon Ingram, and Jaren Jackson Jr. did not suit up in the bronze medal game due to illness.