Canada suffers first loss of FIBA World Cup with defeat to Brazil
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a game-high 23 points but Canada suffered its first defeat at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, losing 69-65 to Brazil in second-round action Friday.
Lu Dort added 17 points for Canada in his return to the court after missing the previous two games.
Brazil was led by Bruno Caboclo's 19 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
“Good game, tight game obviously,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “They were the better team in the second half. They wanted it a little more. Especially with the rebounding, that really hurt us. We lose, we learn from it. Onto the next one.”
Canada's loss, in addition to Latvia's 74-69 win over defending champion and top-ranked Spain earlier in the day creates a logjam in Group L.
With each team holding a 3-1 record heading into the final day of group stage games, Canada remains atop Group L thanks to a tiebreaker.
However, the 15th-ranked Canadians now face a must-win game against Spain on Sunday in order to advance to the quarterfinals.
Head coach Jordi Fernández called it a learning moment for his squad.
“It’s good because it’s adversity for us,” Fernández said. “We haven’t faced anything like this and I believe in our guys. They’re going to work. They care.
"We’re going to watch film and we’re going to prepare for Spain. It’s going to be a fun game. We’ll be ready for the next one.”
After entering the second quarter down three, Canada held Brazil to just 11 points in the frame and went into halftime up 37-27.
Up 12 with 1:03 remaining in the third quarter, Canada surrendered a 13-0 run to Brazil, which took hold of the lead three minutes into the fourth. Canada didn’t score its first points of the final frame until a floater, plus a free throw from Gilgeous-Alexander with 6:45 remaining.
After Caboclo put Brazil up 60-59 with a free throw with 2:08 remaining, Yago Santos and Gui Santos combined to score Brazil's next eight and put them up 68-62 with eight seconds left.
A three-pointer from RJ Barrett brought Canada within three with a second remaining but Caboclo added one more free throw to seal it.
“Give Brazil a lot of credit for the win,” Fernández said. “They played really hard. Defensively, I think we were fine.
"When a team shoots 40 per cent from the field and 19 per cent from three, you should have a chance, but offensively we were not willing to do anything for each other. Space the floor, move the ball, move bodies.
"When you play like that, it’s really hard to win. Today was an example. (We had) 10 assists to nine turnovers. Shot 33 (per cent) from the field and 27 (per cent) from three. We didn't deserve to win.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 1, 2023.