RJ Barrett: “Credit to Serbia, they played a great game”


Photo: FIBA

In 2014, Serbia was present, and in 2023, they are still in competition.

Serbia has secured a spot in the Final of the FIBA Basketball World Cup after an impressive performance against Canada at the Mall of Asia Arena, witnessed by 8,630 enthusiastic fans. The final score was 95-86 in favor of Serbia, sending them to another Final.

Interestingly, there’s a possibility of a rematch of the 2014 championship game, as the United States is in the other bracket and will face Germany in the Semi-Final.

Normally, when facing teams with several NBA players, the strategy is to slow down the pace and stay competitive for as long as possible.

However, Serbia had a different approach, led by the strategic prowess of their coach, Svetislav Pesic. Serbia dominated the game with their fast-paced style, athleticism, and physicality, with Aleksa Avramovic putting immense pressure on the ball.

Serbia held the lead for most of the game, and when Marko Guduric and Vanja Marinkovic made consecutive three-pointers at the end of the third quarter, and Avramovic stole the ball from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for an easy dunk at the beginning of the fourth quarter, it became evident that the game was turning into a Serbian celebration in Manila.

Under Pesic’s guidance, Serbia established a 17-point lead early in the fourth quarter, and Canada couldn’t conjure up a miraculous comeback for the remainder of the game.

“Credit to Serbia, they played a great game,” RJ Barrett said. “They played hard, they played physical and they are very well coached and disciplined. They started out fast and we were down by 10-12 basically the entire time.

“They did some random trapping and tried to get some steals, but we played physical. Our defense was not on the level it was all tournament long.”

Watch the game highlights between Serbia and Canada in the Semi-Finals of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023:

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