Fiba World Cup just a ‘different brand’ of basketball Team USA is used to
MANILA, Philippines —With every edition of the Basketball World Cup, there’s always this realization: Fiba World Cup is a different brand of basketball.
This time, it was Bobby Portis saying it after Team USA was bundled out of the gold medal race by Germany, 113-111, in the semifinal of the global meet where the Americans have somehow struggled to fully embrace Fiba rules.
“Just a different brand of ball. A little more physical. They let you get away with a lot more things. Can’t talk to the refs really. They’ll call a tech. Things like that,” said Portis, an eight-year NBA veteran from the Milwaukee Bucks.
Team USA–the only nation with a line-up of all-NBA players–breezed through the competition in the group phase and much of the second round before running into trouble against bigger and more cohesive teams that have more consistent national team programs than that of USA Basketball.
And with another missed chance of getting into the final for the second straight edition, Portis stayed confident the loss would help this Team USA and USA Basketball just get better.
“We lost today, it hurts, but this will just make us better moving forward,” Portis, who had five points and two rebounds in eight minutes of play, said.
“Obviously, you got a standard for USA basketball, and we’re here playing for bronze. Obviously, it’s tough to let sink in so soon, but we got to let it hurt until midnight and let it go,” he added.
Portis gave credit to Germany, the lone undefeated team so far in this World Cup at 7-0, believing they simply wanted it more than the Americans.
“I’m not discrediting anybody for their win. We lost. They were the better team today. Gotta take it on the chin,” he said. “I guess they just wanted it more. They made shots, they outrebounded us, they got the 50-50 balls, and it came down to those, just offensive rebounds, all them second chances, that was the big point of the game.”
Tyrese Haliburton, one of the consistent offensive sparks off the bench for the Americans, said they just “didn’t get enough stops.”
But the Indiana Pacers All-Star guard, who had seven points and eight assists, hopes to end their campaign in Manila with a bronze when they face Canada on Sunday.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating but we still got a game on Sunday so we’re gonna regroup and get ready for that,” Haliburton said. “Just be ready to go. I just want to end on a high note.”