Canada vs Puerto Rico
Less than fifteen hours after losing to Argentina, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would indicate, Canada faced Puerto Rico in their last chance at a birth in the semifinals. Canada started the game flat, allowing Puerto Rico to take a large early lead. They mounted a heroic comeback late in the fourth, but Puerto Rico held on to pull out a 79-74 win. Carlos Arroya played like a champ; finishing with 26 points, 7 of which were clutch baskets in the dying seconds of the game.
NBA recent champion José Juan Barea talked to FIBA on Arroyo’s role in the team:
He’s our captain, the leader, the veteran. He’s been here for so many years and he’s doing a great job leading the team.
Coming off the bench for Canada, Joel Anthony played all of 6 minutes before leaving to the locker room because “He wasn’t feeling very good” according to Leo Rautins; who spared us his usual verbal diarrhea. Sadly, on the final possession of the game, Aaron Doornekamp suffered a punch in the face and left the floor with “probably a broken nose” according to the coach.
Both Andy Rautins and Carl English played a decent game, but their lack of energy after playing Argentina the day before was evident. Rautins finished with 18 for the night, while English and Levon Kendall chipped in 13 and 10 points respectively. Kelly Olynyk followed up his outstanding performance against Argentina with 7 points and 6 rebounds in 20 minutes of play.
Yesterday, young big man Olynyk was the lone bright spot for Canada that lacked any semblance of offence and passion against the best team in the tournament; Argentina. The 20 year old Gonzaga product had a terrific game with 18 points, against a combination of Luis Scola and Andrés Nocioni, who had little success in guarding him. It mattered little as Canada fell 79-53 on a combination of poor offensive execution, poor shooting from the field and an utter inability to protect the ball that lead to 22 turnovers.
Leo Rautins on Argentina:
They are the best team here. They have some many weapons and for us with a game 11:30 tomorrow morning we have to through this game. We did good things, got an opportunity to keep it a close game but the key right now for us is to be ready for tomorrow mourning.
Leo on the tournament:
What I would like to see in a tournament like this is, What’s wrong to adding two more days? One in the middle of the first round and one on the middle of the second. It’s not just for Canada, there’re a lot of talented players here and you don’t want to risk an injury.
Kelly Olynyk on Argentina:
Argentina is a real tough team to play against. Any person on the court can score or pass. I think we play tough for a part of a game but then they got away
Olynyk on playing against big stars at a young age:
It’s a great experience, they are great players but you have to go to the game knowing that you can still do stuff. You can’t go out there thinking they are above you.
Canada now needs to win their last two games to stay in the fight for the fifth spot, that will give them a ticket to next years qualification round for London 2012.
Eurobasket: Spain and Lithuania
Spain beat Lithuania on Sunday, in a duel of undefeated teams, to secure a ticket to London. The Spanish side played a great game, with Jose Calderon leading the charge with 12 points. For Lithuania, Jonas Valanciunas benefited from the injury to Petravicius (the team first’s back up big man who is out of the tournament with a heart condition) contributing 13 points and 2 boards in 16 minutes of extended play against the very deep front-court of Ibaka, Reyes and the Gasol brothers.
Both teams played again yesterday as Spain lost its first game against Turkey with a 5 points 3 rebound contribution from Jose Calderon; while Lithuania beat Portugal by 30 with Valanciunas kicking in 8 points 7 rebounds and game-high 8 fouls drawn from in 27 minutes.
Italy, who were eliminated early as a result of being in the killer Group B, lost their last two games. Bargniani put up solid numbers in both matches, maintaining his #1 status as the team’s first offensive option and the most consistent player (lol) on a very inconsistent team. He dropped 22 points 5 rebounds against France.
In an overtime loss to Israel, that saw Italy come back from a twenty point deficit in the fourth, El Mago put up 26 (10/19 FG) points 11 boards. Bargs finished the tournament as the third leading scorer with 22.8 points per game, trailing only Tony Parker and Loul Deng.