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US loses World Cup bronze-medal game to Canada in overtime

Former Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk (center) and Team Canada captured bronze by beating the US team.Michael Conroy/Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines — Mikal Bridges pulled off an overtime-forcing miracle. It wasn’t enough to keep the United States from heading home from the World Cup empty-handed, and after 87 years of waiting Canada has again medaled on one of basketball’s biggest stages.

Dillon Brooks scored 39 points, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 31 points and 12 assists, and Canada won its first medal at a global men’s tournament since 1936 by topping the United States, 127-118, in the third-place game Sunday.

The United States failed to medal for the second consecutive World Cup. It’s only the seventh time in 38 appearances at the Olympic or World Cup level that an American team did not emerge with gold, silver or bronze.


“The United States hasn’t won the World Cup since 2014,” US coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s hard. These teams in FIBA are really good, well-coached, they’ve got continuity and they’ve played together for a long time. This is difficult and it’s been difficult already.”

Tournament MVP Dennis Schroder scored 28 points, Franz Wagner added 19, and Germany capped off an unbeaten run through the World Cup by holding off Serbia, 83-77, in the final later Sunday. The title is Germany’s first at the World Cup; its previous top showing in the event was a bronze at Indianapolis in 2002.

The Americans were the favorites coming into the tournament, then lost three of their last four games. They left the floor for the final time in Manila frustrated, angry, disappointed.

“All of the above,” US guard Tyrese Haliburton said.

RJ Barrett scored 23 for Canada (6-2), which improved to 2-21 all-time against the United States in FIBA senior men’s competitions. The lone previous win came at a FIBA Americas event in 2005, a game that wasn’t loaded with big-name NBA players. This one was, Canada having seven on its roster and the US having all 12 of its players hail from the league.


But three of those US players — Brandon Ingram, Paolo Banchero, and Jaren Jackson Jr. — missed Sunday’s game with illness. Anthony Edwards led the Americans (5-3) with 24 points, Austin Reaves scored 23 and Bridges had 19 for the United States.

“This team was amazing, special,” Canada coach Jordi Fernandez said. “It’s the beginning of something that’s going to last for a long time.”

Bridges pulled off an unbelievable play in the final seconds of regulation, going to the line with the Americans down by four with 4.2 seconds left and needing a miracle. He delivered one.

Bridges made the first free throw, intentionally missed the second, and ran down the rebound as it bounced toward the right corner. He corralled the ball, spun and let fly from just behind the 3-point line. Swish. Game tied with 0.6 seconds left.

Kelly Olynyk nearly won it for Canada on the final play of regulation with a 30-footer that hit the back iron as time expired, and to overtime they went, tied at 111-111.

“Just tried to miss it right. That’s kind of where you want the ball to be at in situations like that,” Bridges said. “Just read and react … went and shot it.”

But Canada was undeterred, never trailing in the extra session.

“We won the first 40 minutes. Well, obviously not, but we won the majority of the first 40 minutes and we didn’t think it was a fluke,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “So, we just tried to focus on winning the next five.”


That’s exactly what they did, and now it’s over. Another World Cup, another debacle for the Americans. They finished seventh in China four years ago, fourth in Manila — losing three of their final four games — and now have less than 12 months to regroup for the Paris Games and the quest to win a fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal.

“Super tough, but can’t win them all,” Edwards said. “Came up short, twice.”

That would be twice in the medal round, against Germany and now Canada, and once more against Lithuania in the second round — where the undoing of this US World Cup run started.

There just wasn’t enough defense, once again. This tournament marked the first Olympic or World Cup appearance where a US team gave up at least 100 points three different times. The Americans went 0-3 in those games in Manila, losing to Lithuania, Germany in the semis, and Canada.

“I mean, we couldn’t get no stops,” Edwards said. “Our defense was pretty bad.”