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Hours After Heartbreaking FIBA Defeat, Shaquille O’Neal Hits Fans With the USA’s Disappointing Rank

Published 09/04/2023, 7:10 AM EDT

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There is a period of basketball drought that usually sets in when the NBA season comes to an end. This time around, things are a bit different, though. The FIBA Basketball World Cup has attracted millions of viewers as this level of competition has rarely been seen on the International stage. And that was in full effect yesterday as the USA lost to Lithuania and the Luka Doncic-led Slovenia suffered an embarrassing loss to Germany. Following these results, NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal reposted a list that has been going viral online with two surprising names at the top.

The USA has often dominated these International tournaments but the trend seems to be changing now. While the biggest names didn’t show up for this World Cup, many other nations have the services of NBA stars themselves.

FIBA World Cup’s power rankings

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The 2023 World Cup is turning out to be far more entertaining than one might have thought as fans have witnessed a ton of surprises this year. The USA might have been the favorites coming into this year’s tournament, but things took a turn yesterday against Lithuania.

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Shaquille O’Neal put some light on ‘basketball forever’s‘ power ranking in which Germany and Lithuania have taken the top two spots. Lithuania defeated the USA in impressive fashion, edging them out in the fourth quarter. The nation with the population of 2.8 million have been the dark horses of the tournament. They have put down every opponent they have faced so far.

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On the other hand, Germany booked a quarter-final spot as well after dismantling Slovenia 100-71. The European nations were followed by Canada and the USA, who took up the 3rd and 4th spots, respectively.

While the USA gears up to face Italy in the quarters, there will be immense pressure on the young stars of the team. After the disappointing 7th-placed finish in the last World Cup, anything less than a medal will be heavily scrutinized.

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Lithuania upsets the USA

In a game between the unbeaten teams, Lithuania stunned the United States 110-104. Jonas Valanciunas was the standout performer with 12 points and 7 rebounds. Many would agree that the recent loss was a major wake-up call for the USA, who have dominated the international basketball scene for long.

Their paths might cross once again in the Final if they manage to reach that stage. And if it comes down to that, one thing is for sure, expect major fireworks.

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What are your thoughts on the power ranking shared by Shaq? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Aaditya Negi

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Aaditya is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports and has been following the game for a number of years. He is an avid fan of the NBA and follows what’s happening in the league on a daily basis. Having worked as an intern in the sports domain, his passion for writing arose from his fondness for the intricacies of the game.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth