After some time, Canada managed to overpower Latvia with a final score of 101-75, securing a clean sweep of Group H at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
This marks the first instance since 1986 that Canada has secured victory in three consecutive World Cup matches.
Despite a sluggish start in this particular game, Canada’s exceptional skill prevented them from stumbling, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander once again taking center stage.
Gilgeous-Alexander showcased his prowess by demonstrating an unwavering determination to succeed. In addition to scoring 27 points, he also contributed 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals.
Notably, he holds the distinction of becoming the first player to achieve a minimum of 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in each of his initial three games at the FIBA Basketball World Cup since comprehensive data collection began in 1994.
Kelly Olynyk added 15 points and 6 rebounds, while RJ Barrett had 22 points and Nickeil Alexander-Walker contributed 14 points for Canada.
“I give these guys a lot of credit,” Canada coach Jordi Fernandez said. “We were not doing the right things. We played against a very good team, very well-coached with all their fans. You know the line from a song ‘10,000 spoons but all I need is a knife?’ From Alanis Morissette, Canadian.
“You know I think Nickeil was the knife. He came in, played really hard and defended. When he was open, he hit all those threes. I’m very happy for the collective effort for the three quarters when we were very disciplined. But we didn’t start well, we faced adversity, and that’s really good for us as a group.”
Watch the game highlights between Canada and Latvia in the First Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023: