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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s Monster Game Helped Canada Obliterate France In Their World Cup Opener

No game was more highly-anticipated during the group stage portion of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup than the showdown between Canada and France. A pair of international powerhouses that have legitimate aspirations of winning a gold medal, the Canadians and the French were put together in Group H and were expected to play one of the games of the tournament on the first day of the competition.

It looked like that would happen through one half, as Canada took a 43-40 lead into the locker room at halftime. And then, the Canadians took over, as they turned some absolutely stellar defense into offense en route to a 25-8 edge in the third quarter. By the time the final horn sounded, Canada had wrapped up a stunning 95-65 win that served as a statement of intent for the rest of the field to recognize.

Unsurprisingly, the man at the center of everything for Canada was Oklahoma City Thunder standout Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. An All-NBA First Team selection last year and arguably the best player at the tournament, Gilgeous-Alexander was nothing short of magnificent for his country, going for 27 points on 9-for-19 shooting with 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and a turnover in 27 minutes of work.

Gilgeous-Alexander was hardly the only NBA standout for Canada to perform well on the day, as Kelly Olynyk scored 18 points, while Dillon Brooks and Nickeil Alexander-Walker both pitched in 12. But Canada’s hopes on making a run for gold revolve largely around Gilgeous-Alexander playing like one of the best basketball players in the world, and through one game at the World Cup, it certainly looks like he’s ready to rise to the occasion.

Canada will return to action on Aug. 27 against Lebanon in a game that tips off at 5:30 a.m. ET. France, meanwhile, will look to bounce back against Latvia on the same day at 9:30 a.m. ET. Both games will be aired in the United States on ESPN+.