Mikal Bridges’ late heroics not enough to save Team USA
MANILA, Philippines—Team USA was fighting for dear life in the final seconds of regulation against Canada in the Fiba World Cup battle for bronze at Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.
With the United States trailing by four with only 4.2 ticks to go, US swingman Mikal Bridges made the first of two free throws and intentionally missed the second in hopes of giving the US another possession to tie.
The play transpired just like how Bridges drew it up as the Brooklyn Nets star managed to get his own miss and drain a wild corner triple as he was falling down with 0.2 tenths of a second left that forced overtime at 111-all.
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“Coach told me to miss the second one and I just tried to miss it right. That’s kind of where you want the ball to be at kind of in situations like that. I just read and reacted and saw and just chased after it. There was low time and I just went and shot it,” Bridges, who had 19 points and nine rebounds, recalled of the play.
Team USA ended up losing to Canada, 127-118, in OT to finish fourth in the tournament where the Americans were supposed to win it all.
Still, Bridges clutch triple was one of the biggest shots in the World Cup.
“That was super exciting. I wish we could have finished it off with a win but we came up short but that was dope,” said Team USA guard Anthony Edwards after finishing with a team-high 24 points in the loss.
Austin Reaves, who added 23 points, also said the team felt happiness after seeing Bridges put a near-impossible play to fruition.
“[We felt] happiness. You get to live to see another five minutes and hopefully pull out the win but that wasn’t the case,” said US guard Austin Reaves, who added 23 points.
Tyrese Haliburton also felt the same way but he also rued Team USA’s shortcomings especially on the defensive end. Haliburton finished with just six points but had five rebounds and seven assists.
“It was definitely a crazy play. Gave us a big boost, obviously it saved us to go to overtime. But we just didn’t play the right way in overtime. We had calls and mistakes that screwed the game up,” said the Indiana Pacers’ All-Star.