SGA shows class in Canada’s triumph over Slovenia

CANADA has booked the final spot in the 2023 FIBA World Cup semi-finals after downing Slovenia to the tune of 11 points on Wednesday night.

In one of the most anticipated matchups of the tournament to-date, the Luka Doncic-led Slovenia came up against one of the most stacked rosters in the entire competition. Despite having the weaker roster overall, the star power of Doncic was enough to make it an interesting matchup, coming up against his fellow NBA peers in the Canadian team.

The game lived up to the hype, with both teams looking to break away in what was an entertaining first half. Proceedings were tied at the main break, before Canada got on top with a 30-21 third quarter that ended up defining the match. Doncic was ejected (along with Dillon Brooks) after a number of heated encounters with the officials, and although his Slovenian teammates did well to keep the team in the game until the dying minutes, Canada was too strong, emerging 100-89 winners.

Although there are a number of superstars on Canada’s roster, none have performed better in the World Cup than Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA), who was once again dominant in the win over Slovenia.

Canada (100) def. Slovenia (89)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 30 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals

SGA was at his excellent best against the quality talent of Doncic and his teammates, leading his side to the next stage with another powerful display.

Despite Slovenia’s best efforts, the NBA gun got off the leash once again, creating his own shot off the dribble unlike anyone on the court. Gilgeous-Alexander uses spin moves masterfully to create separation, unafraid of doing multiple in the same action, disillusioning the defence and creating a good look.

From mid-range, he is one of the best in the world, using a smooth shooting mechanic to create a soft touch on his shots. From two-point territory, SGA went 7/8, including the dagger and-one mid-range late in the game to seal the win for Canada.

When driving inside, Gilgeous-Alexander forces the defence out of position and into an illegal guarding action, sending himself to the free throw. In the win against Slovenia, he was splendid from the charity stripe, making 14 shots on 16 attempts, causing plenty of frustration for opposition players, coaches and fans.

The Canadian star has been the best player at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, and stood up in another big game for his team, producing a massive double-double and a game-high points total. He looms as a crucial piece to the team’s medal hopes, and will look to produce another big game against Serbia on Friday night.

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