Canada's Dillon Brooks opens up on Team USA before pre-Olympics exhibition: 'We want the gold'

                        Canada's Dillon Brooks opens up on Team USA before pre-Olympics exhibition: 'We want the gold'
By: CBS Sports Posted On: July 09, 2024 View: 10

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Dillon Brooks is perhaps USA Basketball's top opposing villain entering the 2024 Olympics. He feuded with returning Olympian LeBron James during the 2023 NBA playoffs. He's feuded with first-time Olympian Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors for years now. And last summer, with James and Curry watching from home, Brooks scored 39 points to help Canada defeat Team USA in the FIBA World Cup's bronze medal game. Brooks may not be the best non-American player in a loaded Olympic field, but he is the one best equipped to push Team USA's buttons before and during the tournament.

Sure enough, Team USA will play its first and highest-profile exhibition on Wednesday against Brooks and his Canadian teammates (10:30 p.m. ET, streaming on fubo). And Brooks himself acknowledged the role his bronze medal-winning performance may have had in compelling the best American players to suit up in Paris after Canada defeated what essentially amounted to Team USA's B-Team last summer. When asked if he's more motivated to face Team USA's best this time around, he explained that he's relishing the challenge.

"Yeah, because there's new USA players, you know, that spoke up after (the bronze medal game), and wanted to play," he told reporters Monday. "So, you know, I'm happy that they're playing because, you know, we get to test our talents against theirs. And you know, it should be a fun one." This time, though, Brooks has his sights set a bit higher than bronze. "Our time was last year. And now (it's) our time for this year. But instead of getting bronze, we want the gold," he said.

Wednesday's exhibition will have no bearing on the Olympic competition itself, but it's a measuring stick for the tournament's two favorites. Team USA is a heavy, minus-money favorite to win gold at most sportsbooks. Canada is in second with odds in the +900 range. Though not as star-studded as Team USA, Canada's roster is loaded with star power led by Jamal Murray and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. With Brooks in the mix defensively as well, Canada figures to be strong on both ends of the floor. A win on Wednesday would go a long way in shifting those odds in their direction.

Wednesday will also be the last time these two teams see each other before a potential meeting in the knockout stage in Paris. Canada is in Group A along with Spain, Greece and Australia, but Team USA is in Group C along with Serbia, South Sudan and Puerto Rico. Team USA, along with Serbia, will be heavily favored to advance to the knockout stage from there. Canada will be favored as well, but with three other difficult teams in its group, that will be no certainty. Should both teams advance, they could potentially face off in the quarterfinals, semifinals or even the gold medal game.

For now, though, Canada is taking it one game at a time. "I take it as (just) another game, but me being who I am, I like to make a statement," Brooks said. "So I'll be ready to play. Team Canada will be ready to play, and we're gonna go balls to the wall and watch the film after and see if we got better."

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