With a 100-89 victory over Slovenia, Canada has now set up a match against Serbia in the FIBA World Cup semifinals.
It was an entertaining first half of basketball on Wednesday morning as Canada and Slovenia found themselves deadlocked at 50 going into the break. Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic had 17 points and looked primed to lead his team to the next round.
Knicks forward RJ Barrett had a quiet first half, scoring six points and pulling down four rebounds.
With under a minute left in the first quarter, RJ floated to the rim for a dunk that helped Canada regain an early lead:
With his team needing him to step up in the second half, Barrett responded in a big way.
He would score 13 points in a third quarter that saw Canada outscore Slovenia 30-21 and take an 80-71 advantage into the fourth quarter. He’d add five more quick points to start the fourth quarter, and the game was never really in doubt in the final stanza.
Barrett finished with 24 points (18 in the second half), nine rebounds, and was a +18 when on the court. He did shoot 9-of-22 and 1-of-6 from three, but his huge third quarter and early fourth quarter is what helped break the game open for Canada. Three-point shooting has been a weakness for him in this tournament, only knocking down 12-of-35 (34.3%) attempts.
Overall, it’s been a really solid FIBA tournament for Barrett, who has scored at least 16+ points in four of his country’s six games. Aside from a Brazil game where he was a -5, RJ has been at least a +9 in every game, showing his impact on the floor.
Barrett finished second in scoring today for Team Canada behind Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who had 31 points.
After a hot 17-point first half, Luka Doncic cooled off, only scoring nine in the second half and finishing with 26.
Behind the strong play of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and RJ Barrett, Canada advanced to their first-ever FIBA World Cup semifinals.
They will take on the Serbian national team at 4:45 a.m. EST. Friday morning.
"NUMBER NINE LOOKING FINE"— Jake Brown (@JakeBrownNBA) September 6, 2023
RJ Barrett full stats/highlights against Luka Doncic and Slovenia in the quarterfinals:
9-of-22 FG, 5-of-5 FT pic.twitter.com/MkSenWyz3t
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