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USA pounds Canada in final 2019 FIBA World Cup tune-up



USA Pounds Canada In Final 2019 FIBA World Cup Tune Up
Canada's Melvin Ejim battles USA's Jaylen Brown - Photo: USA Basketball

Canada concluded a loaded seven-game International Series World Cup schedule with a tough 84-68 loss to the United States of America at Qudos Bank Arena, in Sydney, Australia.

Coming off a unexpected defeat to the Australia Boomers that broke 78-game winning streak — the Americans looked sharp early on against a Canadian offense that came-in firing on all cylinders at 94.1 points per game — including topping the century mark in their two (122-88, 103-100 OT) previous wins over New Zealand.

Canada struggled to score against a focused defensive minded USA squad, opening the game 1-for-9 shooting as the Americans raced-out to a 11-2 lead in the first-five minutes. The USA dominated the rebounding advantage 18-9 early on and Canada shot just 4-of-20 (20%) to trail 20-9 after the first 10 minutes. Canada maintained a glimmer of hope forcing the USA into six first-quarter turnovers.

Team Canada doubled their first-quarter points mid-way through the second-quarter and managed to trim the lead to five points at 35-30 with 2:05 to play but couldn’t contain the Americans inside to trail 46-31 at half-time.

The Americans never trailed in the game and stretched the lead to a game-high 24 points on a driving layup with 4:04 to play in the game. Canada closed the game on 7-0 run to make the score respectable.

Kyle Wiltjer poured-in a game-high 21 points, 3 rebounds on 8-of-13 shooting and Khem Birch also reached double-figures with 13 points, 6 rebounds. Kevin Pangos managed 7 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and Melvin Ejim contributed with 5 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.

Donovan Mitchell Goes Off Myles Turner Screen Against Canada
Donovan Mitchell goes off Myles Turner screen against Canada – Photo: USA Basketball

Jaylen Brown scored a team-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting and Donovan Mitchell started the game strong adding 12 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Kemba Walker 12 points, 4 rebounds. Myles Turner dominated the paint with 10 points, 15 rebounds double-double.

“We got a lot of work to do, luckily this is only an exhibition game so we can re-group and execute better and ready for the World-Cup.” discussed a confident Khem Birch after the game.

“The whole point of this is, is to have guys that want to play for their country and we have 12-13 guys that want to play and hopefully we play well in the World Cup.” added the Orlando Magic forward.

USA dominates the paint

USA pounded Canada on the rebounds with a 55-37 edge scoring 60 of their 84 points in the paint. The Canadians forced the Americans into 19 turnovers on 12 steals.

Both teams struggled to find any scoring from the three-point line with the Americans landing only 2-of-14 (14%) and Canada 6-of-23 (26%).

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Head Coach Nick Nurse opted for a starting line-up that featured Philip Scrubb, Kevin Pangos, Melvin Ejim, Thomas Scrubb, Khem Birch.

Oshae Brissett doubtful + Cory Joseph on the way for World Cup

Oshae Brissett didn’t dress and as per the broadcast crew and confirmed by Nick Nurse. Brissett could be in jeopardy of missing the World Cup to a unexpected knee injury sustained in the second-game against New Zealand.

Nurse once again confirmed the status of Sacramento kings point guard Cory Joseph “As far as I know, he is… he said he was getting on the plane tomorrow”, said Nurse in the press conference after the game.

Andrew Nembhard (4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 15 minutes), Kaza Kajami-Keane (3 points, 1 assists, 8 minutes) both returned to the Canadian bench after sustaining notable knee and ankle injuries. Sharpshooter Brady Heslip (0 points, 0/4 shooting, 17 minutes) absent since the Nigeria series rejoined the team.

Canada continues to struggle with USA

Canada’s senior men’s team has only managed to beat the USA on three occasions – in the semi-finals of the 2015 Pan-AM games in Toronto. 2005 FIBA Americas Group A win (92-76) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and in 1983, at Summer Universiade games (85-77) in Edmonton, Alberta.

For the USA (3-1), the victory is the start of a new streak which they hope will culminate in yet another podium appearance. The defending World Cup champions and no. 1 ranked team opens-up their 2019 World Cup journey against a Czech Republic team that features crafty Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky. The Czech’s went 3-2 in the warm-up games picking-up wins over Poland, Angola and Korea and losses to Germany and Hungary.

Team Canada (4-3) concludes a seven-game preparation phase with wins over Nigeria, Australia and New Zealand (2x) with losses to Nigeria, Australia and USA.

Canada set to cut roster to final 12 players

Nick Nurse and his coaching staff will now have to make some tough decisions as to who to cut. Canada’s roster currently stands at 14 players and they have up to 48 hours prior to the start of the 2019 World Cup to announce their final rosters to FIBA.

The final 12-men roster should be released at day as Team Canada gets set to board lengthy 13-hour flight on Tuesday August 27th (22:00 hrs) to the city of Dongguan, China — the site of their intriguing group of death clashes against Australia, Lithuania and Senegal.

Boxscore: Canada vs. USA

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España FIBA Campeon Del Mundo



España FIBA Campeon Del Mundo
Scream if you want to go for Gold in Tokyo...

When Spain won the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa almost a decade ago this writer was in London seeing a friend from Seoul, South Korea. From Oxford Circus to the fountain tops of Piccadilly Circus there looked like a million Spanish people lining the streets that all lived here in the Big Smoke (F### Brexit! Multicultural is beautiful). And despite the honking horns and raised glasses it was the most peaceful, beautiful sports celebration I have ever seen. No hostility, just community. A Spanish man fell to his knees in front of me like he’d just scored and grabbed my hand with both of his in prayer. The most beautiful Spanish woman I’ve ever seen in her nations strip and scarf walked past me whilst trailing her fingertips across my arm and asked me flirtatiously whilst giggling, “who won the World Cup!”


Just an old memory to reminisce as we begin.

No Muleta could ever stop this raging red Spanish bull.

Ever since way before Kobe and Pau went from teammates to rivals every Summer, Spain have been one of the biggest nations in Basketball and certainly the most complete team. And now even without the older Spanish G.O.A.T. Gasol watching at home in his uniform and with Team USA given freedom by the bronze placed France, Spain proved once again that they aren’t only the most consistent and best team in Europe…but the greatest in the whole wide world.

Right now and forever more on the way to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

This FIBA tournament has been something else in its self. And if this writer wasn’t about to start his own road to Japan he would have been able to enjoy it even more. But shout out to editor Edilson Silva’s wrists for keeping us in touch with the tournament on Twitter.

Even without the power of Pau, or many big names in the legendary legacy of the last decade of the Spanish side (no Sergio Rodríguez, Juan Carlos Navarro, Nikola Mirotic, or Serge Ibaka), the Spanish team still ruled like soccer or their basketball brother team Barcelona. As legends like Rudy Fernandez, Ricky Rubio and of course Marc Gasol cut South America’s Argentina down to 20 point blowout, 95-75 size like Luis Scola’s trademark hair (but what a run of play for a member of the team of the tournament).

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Spain 2019 Fiba World Cup Champions
Spain Basketball 2019 FIBA World Cup Champions – Photo: FIBA

Marc made his mark as the second player in history to be an NBA Champion and a FIBA World Cup one in the same year, although unfortunately fellow Toronto Raptor Ibaka couldn’t join him. But what a Summer for the first player to do this since the Lakers Lamar Odom almost a decade back in 2010. Only a year after Marc Gasol’s draft rights were traded by the purple and gold for brother Pau.

“The rest of the world have been caught up for quite some time”, like Kobe Bryant said. “The days of the ’92 Barcelona Dream Team are gone”.

Now that’s as true as the U.S. coming in fourth place like half the States had a dance recital.

Congratulations to the real Dream Team…yeah I said it.

Ricky Rubio had 20 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists and no one deserves it more.

Marc Gasol had 14 and 7 in both rebounds and assists.

Sergio Llull had 15.

Rudy Fernandez 11, 10 and 3.

And both Juancho and Willy Hernangomez both had 11 too.

Now what more can you possibly say like reacting to that practice pregame half court heave underarm…from behind the back like a Globetrotter?

What the?

Gabriel Deck led the way for Argentina with 24 whilst the likes of old rivals and friends Kobe Bryant and Tony Parker watched from courtside in a sold out arena in Beijing. Whilst Scola scored 8. Argentina were valiant in the final like they were the whole terrific tourney until they were slain by Spain.

Now expect Spain to control the Japanese Olympics in Tokyo next year like a matador.

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France Say Au Revoir To United States In FIBA World Cup



France Say Au Revoir To United States In Fiba World Cup


From ‘Dream’ to ‘Redeem’, call it what you will but last night in Dongguan, China was a nightmare for Team USA as the United States were sent packing from the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

And it was France who gave Greg Popovich team it’s last kiss last night…and Tony Parker was nowhere in sight, apart from some applause emojis on Twitter in celebration.

A year before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and many teams (including the U.S. and Canada baby!) clinching their berths for the Japan games in this tournament, this tourney was more than just a precursor or appetizer for the main event to come in a calendars time. It was a competitive game of brackets for all or nothing in its own right. Not to mention a showcase of just how talented the world’s game is, their teams and the individual talents of players themselves. If you haven’t been tuning in like the media networks with no coverage you’re really missing out and the point like TP9. From Giannis Antetokounmpo showing just how much he gives his body up for club and country. And the Hustle of Memphis Grizzlies Japanese G-League regular Yuta Watanabe showing that when it comes to the Olympics next year it’s not just a Washington Wizards top pick who will be big for Japan. Call him up!

And then of course there’s former Parker backup and Spurs man Patty Mills clicking and lowing the boom with his ruling Aussies as his New Zealand neighbours do the Haka that could even put The Rock’s ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ fast and furious movie Samoan war dance in a hard place. But when it came to Popovich’s countrymen they just couldn’t pop against France as red white and blue beat the stars and stripes 89-79. Ending a 58 non exhibition game winning streak that Dream Teams have kept awake for longer than the wonderful women’s U.S. soccer team.

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If you ignorantly thought that Basketball had no borders outside America (and really? It’s 2019! Who does apart from Trump? Besides this is a Canadian site), then you really won’t now. France made a statement and those (Laker fans) who social media say that the Walker, Tatum, Brown and Smart Celtics couldn’t even beat France and Kyle Kuzma wouldn’t let this happen shouldn’t take this away from the nation who beat them, fair and block to dunk square.

And besides young to veteran superstars with exuberance and (Rio 2016) experience like Donovan Mitchell and Harrison Barnes respectively and respectfully couldn’t get it done either.

The U.S. played well and will be back to their best next year (but need to bring more big guns and names to the Olympic Games), but France just played better. Much better. From the stifling Eiffel Tower of Rudy Gobert with 21 points, 16 rebounds and 3 beautiful looking blocks from the view up there. Beautiful but brutal as Mitchell and Kemba Walker in the clutch can attest.

“We came here to win Gold,” Gobert told press postgame for a team who wants to lift more World Cups than their soccer counterpart. Between four point plays from Nicolas Batum and a team leading 22 from Evan Fournier on a 50 percent 4 for 8 from three from way back in Paris, this side didn’t even need Spurs like Parker or Boris Diaw. Especially when they had MVP and Knick, Frank Ntilikina. All that side needed was heart and they had it in abundance as France looked better than those Jumpman Paris St Germain black hoodies with Jordan in the A.

And anyone who wants to make this more about the U.S. needs to listen to Brooklyn Net and three point contest winner from downtown China Joe Harris, “We certainly didn’t deserve to win that game.”


Let that or Au Revoir be the last word.

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