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The Semi-Finals of the FIBA Basketball World Cup begin! Few rated Serbia going into the tournament without star man Nikola Jokic, but they've more than proven their quality through their five wins. On the other end of the court, Canada has already secured their best-ever World Cup finish behind their most talented generation ever.
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|O 176.0 (-112)|
|U 176.0 (-108)|
Fitting their meeting in the semi-finals, Serbia and Canada are two of the best-scoring teams in the tournament. Both sides play with pace and are excellent at scoring at the rim. Given their shooting form, hitting the over is expected.
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|Svetislav Pesic||Head Coach||Jordi Fernandez|
|Won 2||Form||Won 2|
Leaders (Per Game)
|B. Bogdanovic (18.8)||PPG||S. Gilgeous-Alexander (25.0)|
|N. Milutinov (8.8)||RPG||S. Gilgeous-Alexander (7.2)|
|S. Jovic (6.7)||APG||S. Gilgeous-Alexander (5.0)|
|B. Bogdanovic (2.2)||SPG||S. Gilgeous-Alexander (1.7)|
|N. Milutinov (0.8)||BPG||K. Olynyk (0.5)|
|N. Milutinov (.674)/B. Bogdanovic (6.2)||FG%/FGM||D. Brooks (.615)/S. Gilgeous-Alexander (7.8)|
|D. Ristic (.833)/B. Bogdanovic (2.7)||3P%/3PM||D. Brooks (.556)/N. Alexander-Walker (2.8)|
Serbia benefitted from a relatively beneficial first-round draw but overcame their opponents through their excellent team play and shooting prowess. Losing just one match through the tournament, by just two points to Italy, Serbia has passed almost every test placed before them.
In their last match, a 19-point win over Lithuania, Serbia overcame one of the tournament favorites in impressive fashion. Not only did they shoot 55.0% from the field, but Serbia held their opponents to just 42.9% shooting while also forcing 19 turnovers.
Serbia will face their most difficult challenge when they face Canada. The Canadians are excellent at pushing the pace and have a stifling perimeter defense that can limit even the most talented individual players. Ball security and shooting efficiency will be critical to Serbia's success against a stacked Canadian side.
Serbia's scoring numbers are excellent, second only to the United States through the FIBA World Cup. They're averaging 98.2 points on 55.0% from the field and 38.0% from three-point range. Much of their success comes from their passing, as they're second in the tournament with 26.2 assists per game.
Their best player through the tournament has been Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Atlanta Hawks guard is averaging 18.8 points, 4.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.7 threes per game on 49.3% from the field and 37.2% from three. Nikola Milutinov has been second-in-command, averaging 13.2 points while leading the team in rebounding with 8.8 per game.
On an individual level, Serbia falls behind Canada in every position. However, their ball movement and scoring efficiency more than makeup for their lack of unique star talent.
Canada entered this tournament with the best-ever crop of talent, which has shown in their results. With wins over tournament favorites like France and Spain and a win over the tournament's lead scorer, Luka Doncic, in their previous game, Canada looks prepared to go all the way.
The Canadian offense continues to be a threat, as in their previous game. In their 100-89 win over Slovenia, Canada shot 50.8% from the field while scoring 23 fast-break points to Slovenia's seven.
Canada will face a well-drilled offense when they take on Serbia. Their shooting has been suspect at times, which is why Canada endeavors to push the pace. If they can control the speed of play, Canada may find themselves in their first-ever World Cup final.
The quality of Canada's play is undeniable. They average 96.2 points per game, good enough for third in the tournament, on 50.0% from the field and 39.7% from three-point range. Despite their aggression on the offensive side of the ball, Canada get to the line just 23.0 times per game - 19th in the tournament.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to star for Les Rouges, averaging 25.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists on 54.7% shooting from the field. He's supported by three-and-D ace Dillon Brooks, who averages 11.0 points and 1.7 threes per game on 61.5% from the field, on top of drawing the most challenging defensive assignment each night.
Expect Canada to push the pace. While their three-point shooting is a weapon, it hasn't been consistent for the Canadians. Their ability to get easy baskets will be critical in their opportunity to reach the World Cup Final.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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