Mikal Bridges pulled off an overtime heroics, but it wasn't enough to keep the United States from returning home from the FIBA World FIBA World Cup without a medal, and after 87 years of waiting, Canada once again won a medal on one of basketball's most important stages.
United States Leaves FIBA World Cup Without Medals
Dillon Brooks scored 39 points, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 31 points and 12 assists, and Canada won its first medal in a men's global tournament. The Canadian team had not won a victory of this magnitude since 1936.
This year the Canadians managed to beat the United States 127-118 in the third-place game in Manila on Sunday. The U.S. failed to medal for the second consecutive World Cup.
It is only the seventh time in 38 appearances at the Olympic or World Cup level that a U.S. team has failed to win gold, silver or bronze.
The United States has not won a World Cup in nine years. According to coach Steve Kerr, the level shown by the teams competing in FIBA has increased and it has become a very high level competition.
The Americans were the favorites for the tournament, but then lost three of their last four games. The Americans left the court for the last time in Manila frustrated, angry and disappointed.
RJ Barrett scored 23 points for Canada, which improved to 2-21 the all-time record against the United States in FIBA senior men's competitions.
The only previous victory came at a FIBA Americas event in 2005, a game that did not feature NBA superstars.
This one did, with Canada having seven NBA players on its roster and the United States having all 12 players in the league.
However, three of those U.S. players, Brandon Ingram, Paolo Banchero and Jaren Jackson Jr. missed Sunday's game due to illness.
Anthony Edwards led the United States with 24 points, Austin Reaves scored 23 and Bridges scored 19 for the team.
🏀 Semifinals: FIBA 2 NBA 0.
🔍 Tactical thrashing of Serbia and Germany over Canada and the United States, respectively.
✅ Punishing all defensive turnovers on offense, with decisive pivots in the inside game.
✅ Defensive block, with assists and collapsing the paint. pic.twitter.com/7wE64AeC5w
- Ale Ramos (@aleramos31) September 8, 2023
The Last Minutes of an Agonizing Match
Bridges came up with an incredible play in the final seconds of regulation time, going to the line with the U.S. down by four points with 4.2 seconds left and needing a miracle.
And he delivered. Bridges made the first free throw, intentionally missed the second and raced for the rebound that bounced into the right corner. Bridges grabbed the ball, spun and shot from just behind the three-point line.
The game was tied with 0.6 seconds remaining. Kelly Olynyk nearly won it for Canada on the last play of regulation time with a 30-foot triple that hit the back rim as time expired, and so they went to overtime, tied 111-111.
But Canada was not deterred and never trailed in overtime. The Canadian team not only managed to extend the lead, but also to extend it and concluded with a final score of 127 to 118.
For the Americans, this was another World Cup and another disaster for the ages. The team finished seventh in China four years ago, fourth in Manila, lost three of their last four games and now have less than 12 months to regroup for the Paris Games.
These games represent the opportunity to win a fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal. For several experts, there simply wasn't enough defense and the U.S. fell short of its effort once again.
This tournament marked the first Olympic or World Cup appearance in which a U.S. team conceded at least 100 points on three different occasions.
The Americans lost all three games in Manila, losing to Lithuania, to Germany in the semifinals and to Canada on Sunday.
Canada's only other medal in a tournament of this magnitude, whether World Cup or Olympic, was in 1936 when it lost 19-8 to the U.S. in the gold medal match at the Berlin Games.