The OKC Thunder’s roster pillars took center stage for Team Canada, but their efforts were not enough. Lu Dort had his best game of his FIBA career while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander carried most of the scoring load, but Team Canada suffered its first loss in the FIBA World Cup at the hands of a gritty Brazil squad, 65-69 in the first game of the second round.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort scored all but five of Canada’s 13 fourth-quarter points in an attempt to carry the squad out of its first real scare in the tournament. However, a combination of head-scratching decisions by Team Canada offensively and some costly defensive lapses proved to be the difference maker in the matchup.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort are on the wrong end of the FIBA World Cup upset as Team Canada falls to Brazil.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led his national team with 23 points on 8-for-18 shooting and five rebounds, while Dort finished with 17.
Gilgeous-Alexander and Dort combined for 40 points on 14-for-29 shooting. The two also converted five of Team Canada’s eight total three-pointers in a cold-shooting night that saw the team chuck 30 attempts beyond the arc. The rest of the Canadian squad shot 7-of-34 from the field, only adding 25 points.
“It was a tough one,” said Dort about the game. “They came out ready to play, and we kind of let this one slip.”
Canada never took control of the tempo throughout the night as Brazil dictated a methodical, slow-burn approach through its possessions, shattering the Canadians’ offensive rhythm as a result.
Team Canada only recorded ten assists in the ball game, a far cry from their 29-per-game average in the first round of the World Cup.
NBA journeyman Bruno Caboclo produced 18 points and 13 rebounds as Brazil exposed Team Canada’s lack of interior presence defensively, deferring from Dwight Powell and Kelly Olynyk most of the game.
Team Canada, which finished undefeated in the first round of the group phase, will now have to beat defending FIBA World Champions Spain in a do-or-die matchup to advance to the tournament’s quarterfinals.
This presents an interesting challenge for OKC Thunder stars Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort: How will Team Canada respond to being on the wrong end of this massive upset at the FIBA World Cup?