“Mikal Bridges performed an overtime miracle. It wasn’t enough to prevent the United States from returning home empty-handed from the World Cup.
Dillon Brooks scored 39 points, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 31 points and 12 assists, and Canada stayed atop the world of men’s basketball Sunday by winning its first title in the sport’s marquee international event since 1936, holding off the U.S. 127-118 in the gold-medal game in Manila.
The Americans fell short of winning the World Cup again, continuing a drought that dates to 2014. It’s just the seventh time an American team in either the Olympics or World Cup has not won gold, silver or bronze in 38 appearances.
The United States of America has not clinched a World Cup victory since the year 2014. U.S. coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s difficult. These FIBA teams are really good, well-coached, they play well together, they have great continuity and they’ve played together for a long time. It’s hard and it’s always been hard.”
“All of the above,” U.S. guard Tyrese Haliburton said.
R.J. Barrett scored 23 points for Canada, which had to survive a late U.S. 21-2 run that got the Americans within two points in the final minute. Canada’s previous best showing in FIBA senior men’s competition was second place in the 1936 Olympics, when the team had a roster of seven National Basketball Association players to the U.S. team’s dozen.
But three American players — Brandon Ingram, Paolo Banchero and Jaren Jackson Jr. Were unable to participate in Sunday’s match due to health issues.. Anthony Edwards led the U.S. with 24 points, Austin Reaves added 23 and Bridges scored 19 for the Americans.
Canada coach Jordi Fernandez called his team “amazing” and “special.”
Bridges made an unbelievable play to seal the win, a shot with 4.2 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and force overtime.
He missed the first free throw intentionally, off the back iron, rebounded and sprinted down the right side of the floor, took the pass and heaved it from the top of the 3-point line.
It went in, and with 0.6 seconds left in the game tied at 111. Kelly Olynyk nearly won it for Canada with a 30-footer on the last play of regulation that rimmed out, and into overtime the teams went with a 111-111 score.
I deliberately attempted to miss it to the right,” Bridges explained. “In moments like those, you aim for the ball to remain in place.”. Just read and react… and I let it go.”
Canada never trailed in the extra session, never seriously let the U.S. get too close.
Gilgeous-Alexander expressed, “The initial 40 minutes secured our victory.” OK, maybe not clearly, but we won the game in the first 40 minutes and we didn’t feel like this was a fluke.”
It wasn’t. Canada has now defeated the U.S. in each of their last three meetings at major international events, topping the Americans in the Tokyo Olympics and again in this World Cup.
“We wanted to play against the United States, really,” Brooks said. “We got our wish.”
That win is part of Canada’s seven-game winning streak at the World Cup, after a 0-3 showing in Manila, finishing fourth at the 2019 World Cup in China and a seventh-place showing in 2014 — when four of the U.S. players for this World Cup played on the team.
And that was a problem. Bridges’ play ended an epic comeback by the Americans, who trailed by as many as 24 points in the first half — then went on a staggering 21-2 run in the final minutes of regulation to get within 111-109.
“We really, really, really wanted to win this game,” said U.S. guard Collin Sexton, who had 12 points.
Canada’s last win in a tournament of this caliber — World Cup or Olympics — was in 1936 when it topped the U.S. 19-8 in a gold-medal match in Berlin. That game was played outside, in a torrential rainstorm, a far cry from the conditions that would have been preferred on Sunday.
It’s safe to say Canada celebrated this one more than that one.
“We really wanted to play against America,” Brooks said. “We got our wish.”
But that win pales in comparison to this one. Canada enjoyed more than 87 years of victory following that game.
Brooks added, “We really wanted to play against America. We got our wish.”
Canada last triumphed in a competition of this stature, either it the World Cup or the Olympics, when it defeated the United States 19-8 in a gold-medal match in Berlin in 1936. That game was played outside during a ferocious downpour, which was a long cry from the ideal Sunday weather.
This one was undoubtedly more widely observed in Canada than the last one.
Brooks commented, They were genuinely eager to face the American team.
But this victory dwarfs that one in importance. After that game, Canada went on to win for more than 87 years.
They were highly motivated to compete against the American team,” Brooks went on. “And They succeeded in doing so.”