Team USA players praise ‘elite’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
MANILA, Philippines—Team USA’s Tyrese Haliburton and Austin Reaves only had good things to say about Canada’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander after his stellar game that fueled the Canadians to Fiba World Cup history.
For the first time ever, Canada finished on the podium of the World Cup, largely due to OKC Thunder star Gilgeous-Alexander’s double-double performance of 31 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in their 127-118 overtime win over the Americans.
“[He’s an] elite player. He made a lot of big plays, it’s no surprise because this is what he does,” said Haliburton who finished with a balanced line of six points, seven assists and five rebounds in the loss.
Gilgeous-Alexander was instrumental for Canada, making huge shots in the second half that put the Canadians ahead several times.
Before Mikal Bridges’ wild four-point play to force overtime, Gilgeous-Alexander sank a shifty midrange shot with 34 seconds left to give Canada a 109-107 lead with 34 seconds to go in regulation.
Austin Reaves, whom Gilgeous-Alexander occasionally faces in the NBA, also commended the young gun’s outing and said he potentially may be an MVP candidate in the future.
“He’s a really good basketball player. He kills everybody in the league and one day he will be in the race for MVP,” said Reaves who finished with 23 markers and five boards.
“We had a game plan. I thought we executed it well to get it out of his hands but like I said, the guy still made shots. Gotta give him his flowers.”
SGA can potentially crack the 2023 Fiba World Cup Mythical Five after averaging 24.5 markers, 6.4 boards and 6.4 dimes after eight games.