They had to give it their all. Squeezed until there was almost no juice left. The same thing had happened to Germany two days earlier in the semi-finals. The United States is the United States, it’s not just a truism, and they have pushed another contender at this World Cup, the Canadian team, to the limits of their strength. But the Battle of America, which had been expected by many to be a final game, ended in the consolation box, a fight for bronze that ended in favor of the Northerners. With an extension achieved through the discovery of the Jar of Madness, yes, but in which Canada demonstrated its current and future capabilities to win. He overcame a heavy emotional blow from Mikal Bridges to win 118-127 at the Mall of Asia in Manila. In doing so, they are elevating a country that no longer cared as much about men’s national team basketball as it will feel from now on.
Two teams that came to this World Cup as contenders fell short. But one bled more than the other and eventually died. The United States is the favorite until someone says otherwise, even with a team of newbies – you can call them that, they have no experience in these tournaments – like this year, and Canada was given the dangerous ingredients it has brought himself, a potion to keep an eye on inside. Germany beat Kerr’s men at their game; Serbia gave Fernández’s men a remedy of humility. And both joined forces in a confrontation that few favorite teams want to play.
The duel started with a bang. Mikal Bridges took a shot in the face in the first minute after executing a hard block. With Kessler in place of Jackson (who didn’t play and, like Ingram, was wiped from the card) in the local quintet, they ran into their first problems. Tremendous success of rivals from external positions. Reaves (23), who came on as a substitute for Bridges, got into more trouble than in the other World Cup games. The Lakers player and his teammates on the perimeter were prevented from stopping the flow of points that went from there to the Canadian locker. A three from Ejim, a Unicaja player, made it +13 and Kerr moved the tree with Portis (14). The power forward, who ultimately had to be sent off for two unsportsmanlike conduct, was a player to hold on to in the minutes when Olynyk’s mobility (11) did so much damage.
Reaves’ ability to escape defenses and Portis’ accuracy got Canada into trouble. Another clean sheet player, Cam Johnson, was the one who put the USA ahead for the first time on the scoreboard (38-36) with a three-pointer.
The Reds maintained the success they started with in the first half, scoring 9/18 in three-pointers with five misses from Dillon Brooks to keep the pressure on the United States’ wound. And not so that the blood stops flowing, on the contrary. Gilgeous-Alexander’s first appearances in the game returned the playing time to Canada, which with the Thunder and Brooks (thanks to two good shots before going to the locker room) managed to stay ahead on the scoreboard at halftime (56-58) . .
Edwards (24) shined once again and saw himself as the offensive leader of this Kerr team, but failed in the most difficult moments. With his triple, Bridges (19) was the one who brought Team USA back to life when it seemed to be dying. So it came to overtime, with four points from Mikal in the last game, but there was no more left in the tank.
Shai finished the game with a carat by taking the baton, and Brooks continued without errors until he scored 39 points in the best performance of his life: 7/8 on three-shots, 5/10 on two-shots and 8/10 on shots of a; 42 rating in 42 minutes. Without any accessories, just in the game, you can see the player he believes he is and who he only partially showed in the NBA.
This is the second consecutive time that USA Basketball has gone without a medal at a World Cup. In 2019, Gregg Popovich’s team didn’t even reach the semi-finals; they were eliminated in the quarter-finals against France. Now, in 2023, doubts about the unit, whose visible leader is now Grant Hill, are returning with Steve Kerr. For Canada, on the other hand, this is all new: first medal at a World Championships and success for Spanish head coach Jordi Fernández, both in terms of his options in the NBA and in view of an even more devastating blow at the Paris Games (the two teams are the American qualifiers for this event).
Germany and Serbia will play for gold from 2:30 p.m. After its victory, Canada already took bronze on the Philippine track.