On Saturday afternoon, the Czech Republic captured a thrilling 103-101 overtime victory over host Canada to advance to the final of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, BC.
For the Czechs, it was Blake Schilb who led the way with 31 points, while Tomas Satoransky added 18 points and a clutch bucket in the dying seconds of overtime. Canada were led by a combined 66 points from the line-up of RJ Barrett (23), Andrew Wiggins (22) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (21).
To learn more about wild game, here are some takeaways …
1. Satorasnky call game
With things tied at 101, it was pretty clear which hands the ball would be in.
Draped by Luguentz Dort, Satoransky took in a difficult elbow rollover pull.
-FIBA (@FIBA) July 3, 2021
Good defense, better offense.
As he returned to the bench, it seemed Satoransky was quoting Hall of Fame Paul Pierce as saying, “I called the game.”
That’s what he did.
2. A wild and savage finish to the regulations
With 57 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Canada trailed 92-82. Then things got crazy.
It’s almost impossible to sum it all up briefly, but Team Canada finished 12-2 at the last minute, topped by a 3-point scorer from Andrew Wiggins.
ANDREW WIGGINS BIND THE GAME! 🇨🇦
📺 : https://t.co/nqwF32w9eH pic.twitter.com/JxVDo1JkXI
-FIBA (@FIBA) July 3, 2021
Also in the last minute: Dort and Barrett knocked down triples, Barrett converted one-and-one and Canada forced two turnovers by pressing down on the Czech Republic.
Everything set up the wild end of the game.
3. Nice to see you again, fans
It wasn’t a large number, but fans were greeted at the Victoria Memorial Coliseum for the first time during the tournament.
A standing ovation as the Canadian team is introduced.
– Canada Basketball (@CanBball) July 3, 2021
It was a welcome sight and an encouraging sign for things to come.
4. The Schilb show
Schilb came in on Saturday afternoon after scoring a total of seven points in the Czech Republic’s first two games.
He overcame that early in the first quarter.
Schilb turned a 13-point first quarter into a record 31 on an 11-for-19 shot, including 7-for-12 from beyond the arc. A late 3-point in extra frame gave the Czech Republic their first overtime lead before things tied up briefly.
The Czechs don’t win without the 37-year-old’s lifelong performance.
5. Size (dis) advantage
As evidenced by some of the figures, Canada had few responses for the size presented by the Czech Republic.
The Czechs topped Team Canada 52-39, led by a 14-point, 19-rebound performance from Ondrej Balvin. Dwight Powell, the starting center for Canada, fouled in 23 minutes of action, ending the game with just six points and three rebounds.
With the exception of the late-game flurry, Canada did not take advantage of his speed and athleticism and was exhausted due to his lack of size.
6. Canada is cold in the back
After an impressive shooting performance in the last group stage game against China, it was almost as if Canada couldn’t buy a 3 point.
Canada finished the game shooting 9 for 37 from beyond the arc, and four of those marks came in the last minute of regulation and overtime, meaning Canada only hit five. 3-point shots in the first 39 minutes of play.
The Czech Republic, on the other hand, shot much better at 13-28.
7. The drought continues
The sad reality of losing Canada’s senior men’s national team on Saturday is that its Olympic drought will continue for at least three years.
Like most days, there was some bad luck, including injuries to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jamal Murray, impending free agents Khem Birch and Kelly Olynyk not being able to play and the circumstances that held Dillon Brooks and Tristan Thompson out of competition.
It’s back to the drawing board for Team Canada, which will take this time to figure things out once again.
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