Upsets define FIBA FIBA World Cup semifinals

The much-anticipated USA-Canada FIBA battle is going to happen. In the third-place game.

Magic Johnson has it right: Team USA will be playing for bronze, after losing to Germany, 113-111. The Americans cut a 12-point deficit to one point late thanks to Anthony Edwards and Austin Reaves, but with 1:14 remaining, Germany’s Andreas Obst hit a back-breaking three-pointer – after faking his defender to the ground – to give Germany an insurmountable lead.

Germany got 24 points from Obst, who plays for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. They also got 22 from Franz Wagner of the Orlando Magic, 21 points from Daniel Theis of the Indiana Pacers and 17 points and nine assists from the Toronto Raptors’ Dennis Schroder. Former NBA player Isaac Bonga sealed the game with a huge late block on Mikal Bridges.

The days when Team USA had a monopoly on NBA players are over, and they’re no longer a shoo-in for any international wins. 

In this tournament, they’ve lost two games, both by two points, to Lithuania and now Germany. Edwards finished with 23 points, Reaves had 21 and Bridges had 17, but Team USA’s lack of size hurt them again.

In the other semifinal, Serbia led Canada by 13 points and halftime and as much as 17 points in the fourth quarter, cruising to a 95-86 win. 

Serbia shot 62.1 percent overall and 71.1 percent on two-pointers against Canada’s vaunted perimeter defense, with Bogdan Bogdanovic leading the way with 23 points on 12 shots.

Both USA and Canada were star-packed teams that lost to European sides that were simply more physical – Serbia had 33 rebounds to Canada’s 22. 

While both teams will be able to add stars before the 2024 Olympics in Paris – Jamal Murray for Canada, any number of stars for Team USA – it’s important to note that Serbia should also have reigning Finals MVP Nikola Jokic next summer as well.

Now USA and Canada will indeed face off for a medal. But as Magic Johnson knows, it’s going to be a bronze, not a gold.


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