The United States’ run for gold in the 2023 FIBA World Cup came to an end on Friday with a 113-111 loss to Germany in the semifinals.
Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Anthony Edwards was again brilliant in this game scoring 23 points on 10/17 shooting, while also grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out three assists.
Team USA struggled to defend all game as they allowed Germany to shoot 57.7% from the floor including 43.3% from downtown.
Since international games are only 40 minutes, compared to the NBA’s 48, the 113 points allowed undersells how poor Team USA’s defense was; Germany would have been on pace to score 135 points in a 48-minute game.
Much of the scoring came from familiar NBA names Franz Wagner, Daniel Theis, and Dennis Schroder who as a trio combined to score 60 points. Germany’s leading scorer was Andreas Obst, who plays for Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga in Germany. Obst scored 24 points on 6/11 shooting including four 3-pointers and eight free throws.
The USA’s switching defense may have played a part in the poor defense, as Germany was able to take advantage of defensive mismatches all game, yet USA Head Coach Steve Kerr refused to go away from the switching concept.
Dennis Schröder's dagger was so tough pic.twitter.com/4JZ0XxCTtp— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 8, 2023
Rebounding was again a weakness in this game for Team USA. Edwards was the team’s leading rebounder with eight, with Josh Hart having the next most with five coming off the bench.
2023 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr., Team USA’s center and defensive anchor, was only able to grab three rebounds in the game against Germany. His lack of rebounding has been a problem for the US since the opening group stage, as he has only had seven rebounds total over the USA’s last four games.
The lack of rebounding led to Germany having a +17 advantage in second chance points over the US, an amount that proved to be too much to overcome.
Edwards tried his best to bring Team USA back late with a flurry of fantastic highlights.
It even seemed like Ant was going to be able to will his team back into the game with this three that cut Germany’s lead down to three with 3:17 to play.
Ultimately, the comeback came up a little short. With 27 seconds left and the USA down four, Edwards and Jackson had a miscommunication on a pass that led to a turnover, which ended up being the final nail in Team USA’s coffin.
Despite an outstanding tournament from Ant, this US team will come up short of their goal of taking home a gold medal from the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Here are Ant’s highlights from Friday:
Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Canada)
Earlier on Friday, played the other half of the semifinal round with Serbia besting Canada 95-86. Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanović led the way for Serbia with 23 points on 8/12 shooting.
Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker continued his hot shooting in this World Cup, as he scored 10 points including making two of his three shots from deep. That brings NAW’s shooting up to 42% on 3s for the tournament. He is averaging 6.4 3-point attempts per game over just 22 minutes each game.
With Karl-Anthony Towns hurt last year, and Malik Beasley out the door in the Rudy Gobert trade, the Wolves were in desperate need of volume 3-point shooting last season. If this FIBA World Cup is any indication, NAW may be able to provide some shooting punch for the Timberwolves next season.
Towns and Edwards have both been sensational in this World Cup, but the most exciting development for a Timberwolves player from this tournament may be Alexander-Walker considering he was just a throw-in in a deadline trade just a few months ago.
NAW and Canada will face off with Edwards and the United States at 3:30 AM CT on Sunday with a bronze medal on the line.
Here are NAW’s highlights from Friday: