The 2023 FIBA World Cup is shaping up to end with an exciting final for New York Knicks fans, that is, if the United States and Canada make it past the semifinals.
Team USA’s future looked bleak after suffering a discouraging 110-104 loss to Lithuania in the second round on Sunday, but the U.S. used it as fuel. In their quarterfinal contest against Italy, the United States cruised to a 100-63 win to advance to the semifinals.
In their first game of the second round, Canada was upset by Brazil, setting up a win-or-go-home game against the defending champions on Sunday. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s brilliance helped advance the team to the quarterfinals and secured the country’s first Olympic berth since 2000.
In a heated matchup against Luka Doncic and Slovenia, Canada had the upper hand en route to a 100-89 victory. RJ Barrett finished with 24 points, nine rebounds, and one assist.
The U.S. will face Dennis Schroder and Germany on Friday in the semifinals, while Canada will go up against Nikola Jovic (not Jokic) and Serbia. If the United States and Canada win, the World Cup final will feature three Knicks players.
Knicks fans close to watching three players compete in 2023 World Cup Final
The semifinal action will begin early on Friday. Canada and Serbia will tip off at 4:45 a.m. ET, followed by the United States and Germany at 8:40 a.m. ET. Team USA’s game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPN+, and New York fans can watch Canada on ESPN+.
RJ Barrett and Canada are doing something that no other men’s basketball World Cup team has done for the country: make it to the semifinals.
Barrett said he hasn’t spoken to his Knicks teammates Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart other than to wish Brunson a happy birthday. The trash talk between that trio will be on a different level if both countries advance.
New York will report to training camp in less than a month, but right now, Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and RJ Barrett are enemies, not teammates.