New York Knicks fans were hoping that the United States and Canada would advance past the semifinals for what would’ve been an epic World Cup Final. It turns out the U.S. and Canada will still be playing each other, but not with nearly as much on the line.
Canada was the first domino to fall in the semifinals with a 95-86 loss to a Serbian team without their best player, Nikola Jokic. The 2023 NBA Finals MVP opted not to participate in the World Cup after playing until mid-June, but Serbia will still compete for gold on Sunday. Bojan Bogdanovic has been the team’s star, scoring 23 points in the win over Canada.
Before the United States and Germany tipped off, many assumed it’d be the U.S. and Serbia squaring off in the World Cup Final, but then Franz Wagner, Daniel Theis, and Dennis Schroder happened. Germany shot 58% overall as Wagner scored 22, Theis 21, and Schroder 17 in a massive 113-111 win.
While Germany and Serbia will play in the final on Sunday, the United States and Canada will compete for bronze.
New York Knicks trio to compete for bronze in 2023 FIBA World Cup
RJ Barrett had another strong performance for Canada as he led the team with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field. Dillon Brooks scored 16, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had only 15 points in an off night for him.
Canada still punched their ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics and could achieve their first-ever men’s podium finish with a win over the United States for third place. Although the result won’t be what Barrett and his teammates were hoping for, there’s still a lot they should be proud of.
The U.S. was the favorite to win the World Cup, but their two losses to Lithuania and Germany prove that the country is no longer the dominant basketball powerhouse they once were. The A-Team wasn’t representing the United States this summer, but that doesn’t detract from what Germany accomplished today.
Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart were benched down the stretch again, with the point guard scoring 15 points (4-of-9) and seven assists in 20 minutes for a game-worst +/- of -19. He was quick to criticize his play after the game.
Although the bronze game won’t be as exciting as the final, it’ll still be fun to see Brunson, Hart, and Barrett play against each other before they’re back in New York for training camp. Stakes are higher for the United States than Canada, as a loss to the Canadians would erase the slight hope that’s left for the U.S.