In a stunning (seriously) upset at the FIBA World Cup, Lithuania emerged victorious after beating Team USA 110–104 on Sunday. You know the story of this game without even reading about it because it’s been the same in all prior games: tiny Americans facing giant human beings from elsewhere, struggling to rebound the rock, and in this case allowing many more three-pointers than not.
Both squads had already secured their spots in the upcoming quarterfinals, and even in defeat, the United States had also secured a ticket to the 2024 Olympics in Paris thanks to the losses by the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Brazil on the day.
Lithuania already beat Team USA in the 2004 Olympics’ group stage before dropping the bronze medal game to the Americans. On Sunday, the Europeans simply exploited the American team’s size deficiencies and demolished them from beyond the arc and on the boards.
The outcome on the glass: 43 rebounds for the Euros, 27 boards for the Americans.
Beyond the arc: 14-of-25 Lithuania, 11-of-29 Team USA.
Lithuania had the Americans trailing by a staggering 21 points in the second quarter. With less than four minutes remaining, Lithuania’s lead had grown to a sizable 94–85. The USA managed to trim the deficit to just four points following two Jalen Brunson free throws, but that wasn’t for them.
Brunson scored 14 pops, dished out seven dimes, and grabbed four boards to go with a theft. Josh Hart retained his starting gig ahead of Brandon Ingram but did a little bit of nothing scoring no points and pulling down two rebounds in 13 minutes.
Jonas Valanciunas put up a 12-7 line. Vaidas Kariniauskas hit 15, and former Knickerbocker Mindaugas Kuzminskas got 14. Stashed Knick Rokas Jokubaitis, a second-round pick in 2021, led Lithuania with six dimes adding nine points, pulling down three rebounds, and stealing one possession
Anthony Edwards fell three points short of Kevin Durant’s record by dropping 35 while Mikal Bridges and Brunson chipped in 14 each. Ingram bagged 10 off the pine.
Team USA is set to face Italy in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
In another ridiculous game from start to finish, Canada put together their best-ever game on the international stage by building an unbelievable fourth-quarter, 12-point comeback to edge out Spain, securing an 88–85 victory over the reigning champs and clinching their spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Entering the final quarter, Canada found themselves trailing 73–61, but it was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who straight conquered Spain. Shai contributed to 14 of the last 27 points scored by the Canadians either assisting buckets or popping them himself.
SGA hit the go-ahead step back with 44 seconds left on the clock and Canada never looked back.
The victory helped Canada reach the World Cup Quarter-Finals but also clinched their place in the 2024 Paris Olympics as one of the best-two American teams after all other squads from the continent were defeated on Sunday.
Canada was facing a do-or-die situation entering the fourth quarter down 12 and needing a win to advance. The deficit was still at seven with 4:30 remaining.
"We're going to the Olympics baby"— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) September 3, 2023
–– RJ Barrettpic.twitter.com/E4Da51zQNL
RJ Barrett bounced back playing 32 minutes of 16-point, five-rebound, one-dime basketball. He tried hard committing five personal fouls, he bagged half of his shots from the field (6-of-12), dumped 2-of-6 three-balls, went a perfect 2-for-2 from the charity stripe, and turned the ball over four times.
Shai led Canada with 30 points while dishing out seven assists, and Dillon Brooks scored 22 points himself pulling down five rebounds and getting a game-best 13 plus/minus.
Canada’s next game is scheduled for Wednesday when the blokes from up north will face Slovenia in their QF matchup.
Canada and the USA can only meet on the final given the results through Sunday.