Brazil stuns Canada in FIBA World Cup second round: What it means for Olympic qualification

Brazil upset Canada 69-65 in the second round of the FIBA World Cup on Friday, handing the Canadians their first loss of the tournament. Here’s what you need to know:

  • After trailing 37-27 at halftime, Brazil outscored Canada 24-13 in the fourth quarter. Bruno Caboclo, a 2014 NBA first-round pick, posted a team-high 19 points and 13 rebounds for Brazil.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting.
  • The loss leaves Canada (3-1) in a four-way tie in Group L and sets up a do-or-die contest against defending champion Spain on Sunday for a spot in the quarterfinals.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

What happened

In a shocking upset that brought up ghosts and ghouls of Canada basketball’s past (most notably the inexplicable 2015 loss to Venezuela that kept them out of the Olympics), the Canadian side seemed to have things completely under control with a 12-point lead late in the third quarter against an offensively limited Brazil side … and then everything fell apart. The Canadians were outscored 29-13 over the final 11 minutes.

Adding insult to injury, former Toronto player Caboclo did much of the damage for Brazil with 19 points and 13 rebounds. The Brazilians have no active NBA players on their roster and shot just 5-of-27 from 3 for the game, but slowed down the tempo to eliminate Canada’s fast break and forced Canada to make jump shots. They couldn’t.

The turning point was a four-point play at the end of the third quarter, when Lu Dort missed a layup where he appeared to be fouled but didn’t get the whistle. Brazil’s Lucas Dias made a 3-point at the quarter buzzer and Dort was assessed a technical foul for complaining about the whistle at the other end, cutting the lead to six.

Canada’s offense went off the rails in the fourth quarter, especially to start the quarter during Gilgeous-Alexander’s rest; Canada went scoreless for three minutes and by the time he checked back in Brazil was ahead. — Hollinger

What it means

Canada must win its next game against Spain on Sunday in order to advance to the quarterfinals. The loser will be eliminated from the tournament. Additionally, Canada will only finish second in the group if it beats Spain but Brazil beats Latvia, likely leaving them with a much more difficult pathway in the quarterfinals.

Spain has no more Gasols to turn to and is not the powerhouse it was a few years ago, but should present a threat with former pros Willy and Juancho Hernangomez and Memphis Grizzlies forward Santi Aldama. The two teams met in a tune-up game before the tournament and Spain won 85-80 in overtime.

Finally, Canada’s automatic Olympic qualification is also now in danger. The top two teams from the Americas automatically qualify for Paris next year; The U.S. has already advanced but four other Americas teams play win-or-go-home games on Sunday. A loss would likely force Canada to win a six-team qualifying tournament next summer prior to the Olympics in order to qualify. — Hollinger


The Canadians secured a spot in the second round earlier this week after a 101-75 win over Latvia. The No. 15-ranked Canada opened the tournament with a stunning 95-65 win over France last week before beating Lebanon 128-73.

Earlier Friday, Latvia upset Spain 74-69 to leave all four teams in Group L tied with seven points entering Sunday.

Canada — coached by Spaniard Jordi Fernandez — is seeking its first podium finish at a men’s FIBA World Cup.

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(Photo: Adek Berry /AFP via Getty Images) 

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