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.
“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”.
“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.