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US Survives Montenegro, But Canada Upset In FIBA World Cup Play

Montenegro is small but packs a mighty punch.

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USA v Montenegro: Group J - FIBA Basketball World Cup
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - SEPTEMBER 1: Tyrese Haliburton and Paolo Banchero of USA during the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2nd Round Group J game between USA and Montenegro at Mall of Asia Arena on September 1, 2023 in Manila, Philippines.
Photo by Ariana Saigh/Getty Images

Mike Krzyzewski always emphasized that you should respect your opponent and never underestimate them. We made that mistake with Montenegro.

Montenegro’s population is slightly less than that of Louisville, around 600,000. Yet that country that most of us couldn’t possibly place on a map made Team USA sweat on Friday, losing just 85-73.

The perimeter bailed the US out with Tyrese Haliburton and Austin Reaves coming off the bench to score 10 and 12 points respectively and giving the team a spark when it needed it.

Former Blue Devil Paolo Banchero also played well, scoring eight points and grabbing four rebounds. Things like this and this show that he is taking his game to a whole new level.

Australia’s inconsistency has cost it: the Boomers fell to Luka Doncic and Slovenia, 91-80, despite a poor outing by Doncic. Australia is positioned to be a major power in global basketball and they’re out of contention.

And in a significant upset, Brazil just knocked off Canada, 69-65. It won’t matter much - Canada will still move on - but it does two things.

Brazil, along with Montenegro, proves that you can sleep on no one. And second, it will probably motivate the hell out of the Canadians. There’s not really any such thing as a good loss, but there are useful ones.