New York Knicks starting wing RJ Barrett could not contain his happiness after Canada punched a ticket to the Paris Olympics next year and caught the final bus to the 2023 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals.
Barrett was in a celebratory dance mood after scoring 16 points to help Canada oust defending champion Spain in a dramatic come-from-behind 88-85 victory on Sunday in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“We’re going to the Olympics baby! Man, that’s crazy,” Barrett told reporters after scoring the massive upset against the top-ranked Spain.
“I told my dad I was gonna get this,” said Barrett, referring to the Olympics berth. “Yeah, I’m happy! Let’s go!”
It was a full circle moment for the Barretts as his father, Rowan Barrett Sr., currently general manager of Canada Basketball, was on the last Canadian team in the Olympics in 2000.
The younger Barrett did his share in their historic win over Spain. He finished with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and added five rebounds in one assist before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
Canada Survives RJ Barrett Fouling out Late
The Knicks small forward started the game on fire, with 11 points in the opening quarter, as Canada and Spain were caught in a deadlock, 21-21, after the first 10 minutes.
Barrett, however, cooled off after picking up his third foul in the second quarter. He only had five points on 2-of-7 field goals the rest of the way before fouling out with 1:32 left and Canada trailing by only one, 78-77.
“We just dug deep — I mean Dillon [Brooks] hit a huge 3-pointer and Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander] iced the game, hitting all the free throws. We just dug deep, man. We hit some adversity down to about 12 [points] in the fourth, and we just had to stay together,” Barrett said of their biggest win in the tournament so far.
With Barrett unable to finish the game, Canada leaned on All-NBA guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander down the stretch to complete their comeback from a 12-point deficit at the onset of the final quarter. Gilgeous-Alexander had a hand in Canada’s final 11 points.
The Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star assisted Dillon Brooks for a 3-pointer that tied the game at 80-80 before drilling the go-ahead mid-range jumper with 44 seconds left. He finished the job with steady shooting at the free throw line, converting six straight to thwart Spain’s last-ditch rally.
Gilgeous-Alexander led Canada with 30 points, while Brooks added 22. It was a solid bounce-back game from Canada’s trio after their coach, Jordi Fernandez, called them out in their stunning loss to Latvia the other day, putting them in a must-win situation against Spain.
Canada will face the Luka Doncic-led Slovenia in the quarterfinals.
Knicks Preseason Games Announced
The Knicks basketball will be back shortly after the FIBA World Cup.
The Knicks will host the Celtics on October 9 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time at Madison Square Garden, then will visit them on October 17 at 7:30 p.m. live on NBA TV.
Bunched in between those two rivalry games are home games against the Minnesota Timberwolves on October 14 live on NBA TV at 7:30 p.m.
The following night, October 18, the Knicks will wrap up their preseason schedule at home against the new-look Washington Wizards at 7:30 p.m.
All games will also be aired over at MSG Network.