How excited are you about the current 2023 FIBA World Cup competition? If you answered anything less than very excited and you are a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves, perhaps you should tune in and follow the action. After all, nine Minnesota Timberwolves are actively competing in FIBA right now, and six Timberwolves players are competing on six different international teams to win that World Cup.
So the competition may interest you much more than you may realize.
The first day of the biggest international tournament is officially over, with eight games throughout six hours, basketball fans all over the world were tuning in, especially for the Philippines and the Dominican Republic matchup… But we’ll get there soon enough.
The opening game saw Matteo Spagnolo’s Team Italy squad battle it through four quarters against a very inexperienced Angolan national team, but they got there in the end with the help of Utah Jazz forward Simone Fontecchio and his 19 points. Spagnolo didn’t see the floor as much as we would’ve hoped, playing only a total of seven minutes and not even attempting a shot, ending the game with only two rebounds on the box score.
That means Matteo Spagnolo and Team Italy are 1-0.
KAT dominates for Dominican Republic
The other game in Group A saw Minnesota Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Towns and Team Dominican Republic and Jordan Clarkson’s Philippines go at it for 40 minutes straight. The slugfest was held in a packed-out arena that ended up breaking the record for the most-viewed World Cup game ever. with around 38 thousand spectators in the crowd.
It was a very tough matchup that resulted in a win for Towns’ squad. Still, it was not easy. Clarkson put in a shift just to stay in the game, putting up 28 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, ultimately fouling out right as the home team was rallying up a comeback that ended up falling through.
As for the Dominican team, KAT was clearly the best player on the floor at all times, finishing the game with 26 points and 10 rebounds, with a very effective game from the free-throw line.
There was a clear need for a playmaker on Team Dominican Republic, so look for their head coach to change things up for the next game against Italy on Sunday. That may include giving the ball to Towns right on half-court so he could direct the game.
Oh NAW, France downed by a blowout to Canada
Finally, we come to our first direct battle between two Wolves players, Team Canada and shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker against Team France and center Rudy Gobert. And what a game it was, at least until half-time. Then France disappeared from the game,
Canada’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander couldn’t miss a shot and Team Canada blew past Team France by 30 points.
It was a very disappointing performance from Gobert, clearly the biggest man on the court. While he flashed glimpses of good moments, he struggled to get past Dillon Brooks and Lu Dort. Both players for Team Canada are great defenders, holding Gobert down to eight points and nine rebounds in his 27 minutes of playing time.
For NAW, the game plan was a bit different than that of Gobert’s back to the basket. Instead, he set up shop at the perimeter and shot a very impressive 50 percent from long range.
Tomorrow we have more Minnesota Timberwolves in action, with Kyle Anderson and Team China facing up against Serbia (8:00 am ET) and then Team USA and Anthony Edwards squaring up against Team New Zealand (8:40 am ET).