Neither the US or Canada, two of the hottest teams in the FIBA World Cup this year, will contest the final on Sunday. Canada, led by a phenomenal Shai Gilgeous-Alexander fell to a Serbian team that didn't even have Nikola Jokić. The Serbs beat Canada 95-86, with Bogdan Bogdanović putting up a team-high 23 points. "It doesn't matter who's not here," Serbia's Marko Gudurić said. "It's all about this group of guys, whoever is here, whoever is wearing this Serbian jersey. We never give up. We fight until the end. It's in our blood."
Meanwhile, the US were favorites against Germany. The German side might have been white-hot, but their nail-biting win against Lithuania in the quarterfinals showed how much they had been relying on Dennis Schröder. Schröder had 17 points, but it was his teammates who helped push Germany past the Americans. Bayern Munich's Andreas Obst had 24 points while the Pacers' Daniel Theis had 21 and the Magic's Franz Wagner had 22. Anthony Edwards had another great performance for the US. However, he was just one of four American players to reach double-digit points.
US And Canada Must Settle For Bronze Medal Match
While both teams still secured the consolation prize of Olympic qualification, a bronze medal match finish will be bitterly disappointing. As mentioned, both teams were seen as gold medal favorites at this World Cup. Canada especially finally seemed to be taking advantage of the nation's golden generation of stars. Meanwhile, while many slammed the US as being a B or C team roster, they were widely expected to run through a German team with just four active NBA players.
The US played a physically small roster all tournament but in their two losses, Lithuania in the second group stage and Germany in the semis, that decision was painfully exposed. As the Olympics roll around next year, Steve Kerr may want to rethink his team strategy. Furthermore, the exit of both major North American teams really gives credence and validation of Noah Lyles' outage that the NBA champions are dubbed the "World Champions of Basketball".
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