The match-up everyone anticipated is here, just not in the gold medal game. Who medals and who goes home empty-handed?
Catch the game tomorrow, September 10th, at 4:30 PM.
Projected starting five:
- Jalen Brunson
- Anthony Edwards
- Mikal Bridges
- Josh Hart
- Jaren Jackson Jr.
Team USA will be on the heels of a disappointing 113-111 loss to Germany, which kicked them out of contention for the gold. They had it coming, though, since they played lackadaisical defense and sacrificed size to feature more guard and wing play. Also, their big, Jaren Jackson Jr., only had three rebounds in 19 minutes of play. He’s also averaging a measly 2.9 rebounds per game in the World Cup.
It’s anyone’s guess if USA will still give a damn about the bronze medal, but if they do, expect fireworks from the frustrated Americans. As the most talented group, Anthony Edwards (18.1 PPG), Austin Reaves (12.4 PPG), Mikal Bridges (12.9 PPG), can very well pour it on to blow off the steam. It should be an entertaining clash too, given how half of Canada’s roster are NBA players as well.
Hopefully, head coach Steve Kerr and his staff use this game to provide more opportunities to the other big men, especially Walker Kessler. He’s a classic rim-protector that can crash the boards, and his services were missed against Germany.
The Americans are averaging a tournament-leading 102.6 PPG.
Projected starting five:
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- RJ Barrett
- Dillon Brooks
- Dwight Powell
- Kelly Olynyk
Likewise, tournament favorites Canada underwhelmed in the semis. They fell behind early and simply couldn’t catch the scorching Serbians, 96-85. It’s a mixture of mediocre defense and offense, and Serbia shooting a smooth 62.1% from the floor.
Again, similar to USA’s case, we’ll see how focused they are knowing they are only in the consolation bracket. If they indeed are, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should take center stage again. He is averaging an all-around 23.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.9 steals on 54.3% shooting. The team’s other NBA players will back him up nicely – RJ Barrett (15.9 PPG), Dillon Brooks (11.7 PPG), Kelly Olynyk (10.9 PPG), and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (10.0 PPG) – and it may feel like an NBA battle.
Canada is averaging 94.7 PPG, roughly -8 than the US, but make no mistake about it, they can keep up with the pace and offense.
Handicap: Team USA (-6.5) covers.
Over/Under: The total goes over 189.5