Clutch RJ Barrett Helps Canada Beat Team USA for Historic Bronze Finish

New York Knicks starting wing RJ Barrett hit the dagger 3-pointer that sunk Team USA and propelled Canada’s basketball program to new heights.

Barrett’s biggest shot served as the cushion for Canada to outlast Team USA 127-118 in overtime on Sunday in Manila, Philippines to win the 2023 FIBA World Cup battle for bronze for their first-ever medal finish. Canada also finished as the best team from the Americas for the first time, with Team USA settling for second.

Barrett outplayed his Knicks teammates Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart with 23 points on a highly efficient 50% shooting from the field, including 4-of-8 from behind the arc. He combined with Dillon Brooks (39 points, 7-8 3s) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (31 points, 12 assists) for 93 points as this year’s Team USA became the first American team to give up 100 points in three losses.

The 23-year-old Barrett added seven rebounds and two assists, but his biggest contribution came with 43.8 seconds left. Gilgeous-Alexander found him wide open from the top of the key, and Barrett calmly sank the 3-pointer that gave them a 124-115 lead.

Rowan Alexander “RJ” Barrett Jr.#FIBAWC | @CanBball

— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 10, 2023

RJ Barrett knocks down a 3 with 43.8 to go in OT to put Canada up 9. The reaction…

— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) September 10, 2023

Brunson ended his World Cup run on a low note, a minus-17 during his 23 minutes on the court. He had 13 points on 5-of-11 shots, and missed his two 3-point attempts, with two assists against one turnover.

Hart was perfect from the field, hitting 4-of-4 shots for 10 points, but only grabbed one rebound before fouling out.

It was a disappointing run for Team USA as they wasted Mikal Bridges’ late heroics in the regulation to send the game into overtime.

Every angle of Mikal Bridges’ shot that sent it to overtime. Tell a friend.#FIBAWC x #WinForAll

— FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 🏆 (@FIBAWC) September 10, 2023

Their troubles defending the perimeter and battling physicality and size proved too much to overcome.

Team USA outrebounded Canada by a slim margin, 43-40, but they could not stop them from beyond the arc. Canada hit 17 of 37 3-pointers.

Barrett was impressive in his first World Cup run at the seniors level, averaging 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists on a solid 37.3% shooting from the 3-point zone.

On the other hand, Brunson took a hit in his stock despite earning the starting nod. His numbers — 11.0 points, 4.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds with an impressive 51/39/96 — did not tell the whole story. He was exposed on defense by speedier and more athletic guards, and he was left off in closing lineups in close games in favor of Tyrese Haliburton.

Rokas Jokubaitis Leads Lithuania in Losing Effort

Knicks stash pick Rokas Jokubaitis scored 16 points to pace Lithuania, who wound up in sixth place after losing big to Latvia 98-63 on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Jokubaitis was held to a tournament-low one assist after averaging 6.4 heading into the consolation game. He finished his first World Cup stint with Lithuania’s senior team, averaging 12.6 points, 5.8 assists and 2.3 rebounds with an efficient 51/55/82 shooting split.

Despite his impressive World Cup run, Jokubaitis will remain in Europe and continue playing for Barcelona in the Spanish and Euroleague.

Former Knicks Lottery Pick Signs With Blazers

Kevin Knox, the Knicks’ No. 9 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, will return to the Portland Trail Blazers on a one-year deal, according to The Athletic’s NBA insider Shams Charania.

Knox averaged 8.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 17.1 minutes across 21 games for the Blazers last season after landing there at the trade deadline. He also previously played in Detroit and Atlanta after not panning out in New York.

Knox was picked ahead of Bridges and Gilgeous-Alexander in what turned out to be one of the Knicks’ unfortunate misses in the NBA Draft.

The 23-year-old Knox is entering a make-or-break sixth season in the NBA.




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