Head coach Steve Kerr said the United States “wants to finish this right” as it prepares to face Canada in the Basketball World Cup bronze-medal game on Sunday.
The US was eliminated from title contention after losing 113-111 to Germany in Friday’s semifinal, meaning it will end its tournament in Manila fighting for third place.
Kerr said the Americans were dealing with “heartbreak” as they got back to practice on Saturday but were determined to show that they could “get up off the mat”.
“We want one more game, we want to finish this right,” he said.
“This group, they’re such high-character guys and they’re so competitive that they want to finish with a really good game. In a lot of ways, it’s really the true sign of what you’re about as a team as an individual.”
Canada will face the US in the bronze-medal game after losing 95-86 to Serbia in the semifinal. The Canadians reached the last four for the first time, with a squad packed with NBA talent who know the Americans inside out.
The US finished seventh at the 2019 World Cup in China and was looking to set the record straight in the Philippines. Instead it ran into an inspired Germany team who got the jump on them from the start.
US point guard Tyrese Haliburton believes the budding rivalry could be “the start of something that’s going to go on for a while”.
“We’re all NBA players, so they’ve seen us, we’ve seen them, they want to beat us. This is the match that everybody wants to see, you just want to see it at a different stage. We know that they’re going to come for us and we just have to be ready,” Haliburton said.
American captain Jalen Brunson said “it sucks but we can’t just sulk”.
“We’ve got to come back today with an open mind and just have a short-term memory. Obviously it’s going to sting but we’ve got to come out ready to play,” he said.
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