2023 FIBA World Cup Day 3 Recap: France eliminated, the Dennis Schroder show, and Karl-Anthony Towns defeats Italy

Day 3 of the 2023 FIBA World Cup delivered the first upsets of the tournament as Rudy Gobert and France collapsed in the fourth quarter against Latvia to cap off an incredible day of basketball.

Rudy Gobert and France have been eliminated from the 2023 FIBA World Cup
Rudy Gobert and France have been eliminated from the 2023 FIBA World Cup / Takashi Aoyama/GettyImages

Without Kristaps Porzingis or Dairis Bertans, Latvia still prevailed over France who are now eliminated from the 2023 FIBA World Cup and have more questions than answers about their team before next summer’s Olympics.

Germany beat Australia without Franz Wagner in a decisive game that likely guarantees they win Group E, Japan upset Finland, and Karl Anthony-Towns and the Dominican Republic held on to beat Italy which sets them up for a potential fairytale run. 

Here’s a breakdown of the day’s best games.

Three Points: France was eliminated, and the Dominican Republic and Germany improved to 2-0 in tough victories on day 3 of the 2023 FIBA World Cup

France chokes against Latvia, and their 2023 FIBA World Cup is over

France opened the tournament with a 30-point loss to Canada and went into today’s game against Latvia knowing they needed a strong bounce-back performance here to remind everyone they’re a gold medal-worthy team. 

The exact opposite happened. Fournier finished with 27 points but most of that came in the first half, and his second-half struggles played a key part in France’s collapse. So did Nando De Colo’s ejection. 

France’s biggest weakness is their lack of playmakers. Fournier is a shooter and scorer, who tries for a little bit more creation when suiting up for the national team but it’s not his bread and butter. Elie Okobo is a scorer, and Sylvain Francisco can create for others a bit but not consistently at a high level. 

That leaves France with De Colo, who even at 36 years old now, is their best set-up man. With seven minutes to go in today’s game, he got ejected for a second unsportsmanlike fall, and this was the beginning of the end for France. 

In the final seven minutes, France had as many turnovers (2) as they did made field goals. Gobert matched this energy as well, committing two stupid fouls in the final two minutes that gave Latvia 4 free points at the free-throw line.

Latvia deserves credit for the heart they played with, especially without Porzingis or Dairis Bertans, who missed the entire second half with an injury. 

Point guard Arturs Zagarz, once a golden boy European prospect who got plagued with injuries, lit it up for them today. He finished with 22 points and five assists, and knocked down three 3-pointers as well. 

Roland Smits -- yes, that’s Rik Smits son -- finished with 20 points and Davis Bertans knocked down five 3's for 15 points. 

Latvia and Canada are now 2-0, and France is 0-2. The French are going home very early, and head coach Vincent Collet and his staff will need to do a lot of introspection following this tournament if they want to compete for the gold medal on their home turf in Paris next summer.

Karl-Anthony Towns and the Dominican Republic were at their best to defeat Italy

Karl-Anthony Towns French teammate Rudy Gobert is heading home early, but Towns and the Dominican Republic improved to 2-0 on the day and he looks like he couldn’t be happier with the way he and his teammates are playing. 

We talked a lot about how underrated the Dominican Republic was as a team with a lot of underdog potential heading into this tournament. 

It’s not just Towns and Lester Quinones. They’ve got talented players across the globe and they all fit well together, particularly on offense where they can space the floor and light up the scoreboard with their three-point shooting. 

They did exactly that against Italy today, who they beat, even though Italy opened the game with a 12-0 run. Towns finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and four 3-pointers and was the joint-leading scorer with Andres Feliz, who knocked down seven three-pointers to support Towns. 

Jean Montero looked great for the Dominican Republic as well, he finished with 12 points and 9 assists and literally had the whole team firing on all cylinders. 

Italy battled and didn’t let the Dominican Republic’s hot streak dissuade their efforts. Marco Spissu finished with 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists, Simone Fontecchio had 13, Giampaolo Ricci had 12, and Achille Polonara joined them in double-figures with 10.

But it wasn’t enough, and the Dominican Republic made clear today that when their three-pointers are falling they will be a very difficult team to beat.

FIBA Dennis Schroder is a top _ player in the world?

The marquee matchup of the day was Germany vs. Australia. 

This was going to decide the winner of Group E, and Germany was without Franz Wagner who suffered what appears to be a minor but not insignificant injury against Japan in their opener. 

That wouldn’t be a problem for Germany though, as Dennis Schroder turned into prime Tony Parker and finished the game with 30 points and 8 assists while shooting 5/9 from three. 

It wasn’t all Schroder though, as others stepped up in Wagner’s absence. New Olimpia Milano signing Maodo Lo dropped 20 points off the bench, and Isaac Bonga and Daniel Theis finished with nine points apiece. 

Patty Mills and Josh Giddey kept Australia in it with 21 and 17 points, respectively. Dante Exum was a contributor off the bench again with 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists and Duop Reath knocked down two three-pointers as he continues to fill a gap as a small ball center for the Boomers. 

Germany proved today though that they’ve got multiple ways of beating difficult opponents, which will be crucial for a deep tournament run. This win was not only impressive but likely a sign of how they could prevail in future big games.

2023 FIBA World Cup Line of the Day:

The Chicago Bulls streak comes to an end here, Schroder takes it with 30 points and 8 rebounds in Germany’s message-sending win over Australia.

2023 FIBA World Cup Play of the Day:

Josh Giddey with a poster.

2023 FIBA World Cup Quote of the Day:

Two today, both from France vs. Latvia.

Davis Bertans with a history lesson, and a great quote for the elated:

France head coach Vincent Collet chimes in for the eliminated:

What’s coming tomorrow at the 2023 FIBA World Cup?

Tornike Shengelia and Georgia will face Luka Doncic and Slovenia at 7:30 A.M. ET to determine who wins Group F. Team USA faces Greece at 8:40 a.m. ET in what should be another win for the Americans, but Greece is better than New Zealand who gave Team USA a fight in the first half of their opener. 

Brazil will face Spain at 9:30 A.M. ET, meaning the day will close with the best match-up of the day. Spain should come out on top, but Brazil has the talent to make things interesting. 

We’re going to keep the final note trend going here because Japan deserves a shoutout for getting their first-ever win against a European opponent by beating Finland 98-88 today. 

It won’t get them into the next round, but anytime you trail 71-53 with 15 minutes to go and then close the game with a 45-17 run you deserve a mention somewhere. 

Shouts to Josh Hawkinson, Yuki Kawamura, and Keisei Tominaga who finished with 28, 25, and 17 points each.

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