Ed’s Note: Raul’s at the games. Like, he’s actually there. Follow him on Twitter.

After fighting in a close game for 35 minutes, Canada fell to Brazil in their debut at the FIBA Americas in Mar del Plata. The final score was 57-69. It was a low scoring game for the Canadians that had Jermaine Anderson as their leading scorer with just 9 points. As a team, they shot 33% from the field with just 7 assists. Those numbers reflects the problems that the team had sharing the ball. Their best offensive players, Carl English, Andy Rautins and Denham Brown combined for 5/20 from the floor.

After taking the lead at the start of the fourth period, Barcelona’s PG Marcelo Huertas took over the game, making plays, scoring, and imposing a great deal of defensive pressure on Canada’s ballhandlers, who struggled to cope. Brazil made a game-killing 15-0 run in the final quarter to finish off the contest. Brazil won the final quarter 22-11, and Huertas finished with 17 (10 in the last period) 5 rebound and 6 assists.

The most promising player on the roster, Spurs draftee and Ontario native, Corey Joseph started at the PG position and finished with 8 points, producing a 4/10 shooting line. At times he was wasteful of the shotclock and was a victim of his own over-dribbling, often waiting for 14 to 20 seconds before making simple decisions. However, he showed some interesting moves on offense, especially a couple great 1-on-1 sequences to close the half.

It’s a real shame that the other Toronto native and Cavs’ fourth overall pick Tristan Thompson didn’t came to the tournament. The pick behind him, Enes Kanter and the fifth, Jonas Valanciunas are both playing right now at the Eurobasket, so it would have been a good measure to evaluate his potential. They play Dominican Republic tomorrow. A team that won their two games and have three NBAers on the roster: Al Horford, Francisco Garcia and former Raptor, Charlie Villanueva. With Brazil, the Dominicans are the best team in the group. They play a similar style to Canada, both are running up-tempo teams so it should be an interesting game.

Some comments from Jermaine Anderson and coach Leo Rautins.

Anderson:

“We knew it was going to be a tough game. Every time we play Brazil it’s very physical. For about 30 or 35 minutes we stay according the game plan but we have a couple mental lapses. We’re pleased with the way we play for 35 minutes but we have to find a way to play smart, to play together for 40 minutes”.

Rautins:

“Brazil is a very good team, one of the most solid teams in the tournament but for the most part we played a solid game. We had two five minutes stretches, one in the first half and one in the second that really hurt us. Overall, defensively we play well enough to win but it’s tough to win games when you score 57 points. I’m not taking anything away from Brazil and their defense, but we just broke down in terms in what we wanted to do offensively and you can’t do that in this tournament. The only thing that matters now is the next game.

  • Quirk

    Fire Leo. Time to bring back Jay.

    • Annbill Findlay

      This is the thing that kills me, lets fire Leo and replace him with the guy most Raptor’s fans wanted fired as well. The fact is out team is just not that good right now. Our best NBA player is a zero threat on offense and with no legit scoring threat he hurts the flow of offense. Leo made a gutsy decision with his starting line-up last night and it worked early in the game, too bad no one stepped up, but we are just not that deep of a team. 

      Leo may underachieve if he had a talented roster, but right now he is getting what he can out of a limited bunch of players. 

      • Nilanka15

        Perhaps Triano is more valuable as a coach on the international scene…

      • Theswirsky

        while Leo may have absolutely nothing to do with how good or bad the team is…..

        ….. he’s still a giant d-bag with a big head.  Fire Leo.  If even just so I don’t read or hear what he says as often.

      • Toshmon

        does anybody know if he has ANY coaching experience?

        I can’t find a record of one

  • Nilanka15

    It’s a shame Thompson, Nash, Dalembert, and Magloire aren’t on the roster.  We might’ve had a semi-decent team…

    • Quirk

      Or Myck Kabongo and Kris Joseph? What about Matt Boner? Didn’t he become a canadian citizen?

      • WJF

        Bonner has not been given citizenship

        • Nilanka15

          Bonner claims the trapezoid keys make him dizzy 😛

      • that guy

        Matt Boner not available, in a whorehouse.

      • Kevin

        Would be nice to see Kabongo play he’s my favorite prospect going into the NCAA season but I think preparing for school is a bit more important for him right now.  Thompson on the other hand has nothing to do and with many NBA players joining the tournament this year due to the lockout I don’t see why he wouldn’t participate.

  • Iboros

    Link to basket live streaming videos (and other sports to):

    http://www.lshunter.tv/basketball-live-streaming-video.html 

  • Marc

    Lack of talent be damned, I put 7 assists TOTAL directly on the coach.  Crisp and constant ball movement is the result of well-drilled players and well-planned plays.  The offensive discipline out there was extremely lacking. 

    Joel Anthony should never leave the low-post on O.  I couldn’t count how many times he received the ball in the high-post or near the three-point line and killed the shotclock looking for someone to pass to.  Great defender, great rebounder, but never run the offense thru him.  Even Spoelstra knew that and he’s no Phil Jackson.

    Fire Leo.  Hopefully some Euro club will pick him up and we can be rid of him for good.

    • p00ka

      Whatever Leo’s deficiencies, 33% shooting isn’t on the coach. Nor are clumsy dribbling and bad passing.

      • WJF

        Finally a voice of reason!

      • Marc

        Yes, the players ultimately have to make the shots, but it’s the coach’s job to put them in situations where they are most likely to succeed.  The ball-stopping was out of control and it begins with Joel Anthony being a part of the offense, which he should never be.  The only thing he should be doing on O is crashing the boards and setting screens off the ball.

        If FG% (the most important stat in basketball, besides Points) isn’t on the coach, what is?

  • Employee

    I read a breakdown of FIBA teams somewheres that said Leo prob runs the least amount of pick n rolls out of all the teams.  And for a team with no one that can create their own offense, that’s pretty brutal. 

    • WJF

      The thing with the Pick and Roll is that there are so many options that you need a talented big man to run it with. Right now running pick and roll with Anthony is a waste, he can’t step out to Pick and Pop, the defense can always go under to stop penetration and the play become ineffective, not to mention that even if you get Anthony on the roll he is not a great finisher. International teams run a lot of Pick and Roll because there bigs are generally good shooters of decent offensive threats, Canada just does not have that. 

      • Employee

         Well ya gotta do something. I totally agree the post players are bad offensively, but if that’s the case they’re getting way too many post-ups. The only thing Canada has going for them (offense wise) is they have some pretty good shooters. A whole lot more off ball screens would be nice to free up shooters.

      • Marc

        That new young big guy (forget his name) might be useful in the PNR/PNP.  I don’t know how good his hands are but he certainly has a nice looking jumpshot

      • Theswirsky

        you hardly NEED a ‘talented’ big man to run the pick and roll… simply because there are so many options out of it.

        Sure a diversely talented big man is best suited for it (as they are every single aspect of offense), but it is not a necessity.  A good screen gives the pg numerous options himself… all the big has to do then is roll to the bucket after that. 

        Dwight Howard runs the pick and roll all the time and he NEVER pops.  Tyson Chandler ran more pick and rolls (actually I don’t know that for a fact, but watching Dallas he seemed to be the prime PnR guy) than Dirk and Chandler NEVER pops.

        • WJF

          THose are NBA examples but we are talking about a FIBA game where true zone defense is allowed. The defense makes the PNR are completely different animal. 

  • http://twitter.com/Raul_Ruscitti Raúl Ruscitti

    Remember I’ll be tweeting live from the arena in about half an hour. Dominican Republic – Canada