Friday, August 28, 2009

'09 FIBA Americas: Canada 95, Mexico 40

Day 2 of FIBA Americas play saw mostly blowouts, and this game's 55-point margin was highly unexpected.

No doubt the best offensive display by Team Canada that I can remember. Came out of the gates sharp offensively, drilling jumpers all over. And Canadians never let up. Canada shot a ridiculous 19/33 from 3pt. land for the game.

Can. outscored Mex. 30-13 in the 1st Q. on 12/24 shooting, 5/9 from deep. Ex-Utah Ute PG Tyler Kepkay added an exclamation point to Canada's dominating 1st quarter with a 3/4-court buzzer-beater.

We've documented Team Canada's offensive struggles in the past. So this game was a welcomed surprise for Team Canada. Maybe Coach Rautins has figured out a better system (creating shots with player/ball movement instead off the dribble) for his talent, or this was just an aberration (Canada was idle Wednesday while Mexico had to play the late game vs. Puerto Rico). We pointed out in our preview that Canada has a fleet of perimeter shooters. And it seems Leo wants to emphasize this strength this year.

Quick, crisp ball movement was on the menu today--terrific job moving the ball side-to-side. 30 of Canada's 35 made buckets were assisted. Coach Leo has done nice job installing more movement into the offense this summer. Leo has no one who can consistently create offensive or demand doubles/extra attention from the defense. Relying less on dribbling and more on ball movement is a smart move by Coach Leo.

Ex-Hawaii star Carl English really heated up in the 3rd, scoring 14 of 17 pts in the quarter. English was pure from the perimeter, draining 5/7 3pts. Some of his makes came off quick dribble pull-ups. Syracuse deadeye Andy Rautins outdid Carl from long-range by hitting 6/9 behind the arc. Jermaine Bucknor got the surprise start at PF, and stepped up with three 3pts. of his own.

Canada has stayed competitive the last few years thanks to a commitment to taut team defense. They help each other and are always anchored by a strong interior defense that protects the rim.

Miami Heat's Joel Anthony was solid defensively, causing problems for Mex. near the rim. Anthony even showed off refined offensive skills with a couple short jumpers and few post moves, including a slam off a quick baseline spin move. Joel ended with 11 pts, 5 rebs, 3 stls, & 2 blks in only 16 mins.

Anthony teamed up with Jesse Young & Levon Kendall in commanding the painted area. Kendall & Young combined for 20 rebs, and their usual brand of physical interior defense. This trio of bigs always give workmanlike effort. The always strong-rebounding Canucks pounded the Mexicans on glass 47-30.

The wing trio of English, Aaron Doornekamp, & Olu Famutimi hounded Mexican go-to-guy Romel Beck into a putrid night--Beck was 1/9 from the field. Forced Beck into a bunch of off-balance, challenged runners. The whole Maple Leaf brigade had hands in the face of Mexican shooters all game. SF Noe Alonzo was the only Mexican to find even a sliver of success vs. Canada, with three 3pt. makes.

The strong defense & rebounding should continue for Canada. Will the continuity on offense continue? Grabbing a qualifying spot is heavily reliant on their outside shooting.


At 8:54 PM, Blogger John said...

Oh dear! This whole FIBA Americas has gone totally crazy with Venezueala losing to Panama and my team Argentina going 0-2 already after losing to Venezuela and Brazil (please check out my match report).

It's crunch time when they take on Panama in their next game which is a must win. Or else it's gooodbye to soon for them. I'm very concern about this. Though we improved and played better against Brazil, the presents of Barbosa and Verajao was just too much. Scola is doing a great job but it is all too clear that he needs the rest of the team to step up to the plate.

This is just insane!!!

Should we fail to qualify on merit from this tournament, I think we could still go to Turkey as one of the wildcard berth based on their strong FIBA world ranking.

At 10:49 AM, Blogger M. Haubs said...

Take a deep breath, John! If anyone in the world deserves a wild card, it's Argentina. They'll be in Turkey no matter what, and deservedly so. No doubt.

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