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Canada eliminated from contention in FIBA World Cup with 23-point loss to Lithuania

Lithuania v Canada: Group H - FIBA World Cup 2019

DONGGUAN, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: #17 Jonas Valanciunas of Lithuania celebrates a point during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, first round match between Lithuania and Canada at Dongguan Basketball Center on September 03, 2019 in Dongguan, China. (Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images)

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Canada started with so much promise, a whopping 17 NBA players on its FIBA World Cup training-camp roster.

In the end, only two Canadian NBA players – Cory Joseph (Kings) and Khem Birch (Magic) – made the trip to China.

The talent drop showed. The Canadians were eliminated from World Cup contention with a 92-69 loss to Lithuania on Tuesday.

Unlike Team USA, which faced similar issues but has a nearly limitless supply of NBA players to pick from, Canada didn’t withstand the losses.

Canada also had little margin for error in a tough Group H. The Canadians lost to Australia in the opener. They still play Senegal on Thursday, but at 0-2, they can’t catch Lithuania (2-0) or Australia (2-0) for the top two spots in the group.

Former Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas led Lithuania with 13 points and eight rebounds.

Basketball was gaining popularity in Canada with Toronto’s NBA title. Though this is a setback, the Canadians can still reach the 2020 Olympics through the qualifying tournaments.