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African champions Mali drop reigning champs Canada at 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup

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Team Mali African Champions Drop Reigning Champs Canada At 2019 Fiba U19 World Cup

In what will go down as a massive upset, African champions Mali defeated defending Champions Canada 71-70 at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Heraklion, Greece.

Trailing 39-33 at half-time Mali took the game to Canada in the third-quarter by getting the Canadians in early foul trouble and bonus situation to ripped off a 20-0 run after Canada led 45-37 and take a 57-45 lead and control of the game.

Team Canada was able to cut the margin of deficit to single digits at 57-50 by holding Mali scoreless for the last 4:27 of the third quarter.

Karim Mane Canada Loses To Mali 2019 Fiba U19 World Cup
Canada’s Karim Mane drives to the hoop as Canada falls to African Champs Mali at 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup – Photo: FIBA

Dan Vanhooren’s troops continued to battle but still trailed 70-63 with 3:10 to play — Two triples down the stretch by AJ Lawson and Karim Mane cut the lead down to one point with 1:13 to play. Canada forced Mali into three straight turnovers including a illegal screen foul that sent point guard Joel Brown to line. The Brewster Academy play-maker missed the first and tied the game at 70-70 with 28 seconds left.

Mali’s Hassan Drame got fouled on his way to the basket and knocked down one-of-two freethrows to put them ahead at 71-70. Canada failed to complete the comeback as AJ Lawsons triple came-up short.

Canada struggled to contain Mali on the glass all-game allowing Mali to pull down an impressive 27 offensive rebounds on their way to a 64-49 advantage.

Further to Canada’s rebounding issues, Mali forced the Canadians into 19 turnovers a terrible 41.2% shooting from the foul-line — going 7-of-17.

Team Mali African Champions Drop Reigning Champs Canada At 2019 Fiba U19 World Cup
Team Mali, African Champions, drop reigning champs Canada at 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup – Photo: FIBA

Siriman Kanoute paced four Mali players in double-figures with a game-high 22 points and four rebounds. Hassan Drame added a big double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Twin brother Fousseyni Drame also racked-up a double-double with 12 points and game-high 15 rebounds.

Must Read:  France slips past Canada at 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup
Keon Ambrose Hylton Two Hand Throw Down Against Mali 2019 Fiba U19 World Cup
Keon Ambrose Hylton two hand throw down against Mali 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup – Photo: FIBA

Keon Ambrose-Hylton 16 points and 5 rebounds strong play off the bench led Canada. Karim Mane 10 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists and AJ Lawson 11 points and 3 rebounds combined for 8-of-24 shooting.

Just two years ago Canada hammered Mali 91-42 at the 2017 U19 World Cup in Cairo Egypt.

Canada (1-1) will closeout group B play against Latvia (0-3).

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FIBA

Canada draws tough group for 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifier

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canada draws tough group for 2020 fiba olympic qualifier
Khem Birch and Team Canada to face stiff competition at FIBAOQT - Photo: FIBA

Canada’s Senior Men’s National Basketball (SMNT) faces a tough road to the 2020 Olympic tournament after drawing stiff competition at the official qualifying draw in Switzerland.

No. 21 Canada will play in tough group A in Victoria, British Columbia against No. 7 ranked Greece and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Team Canada will also face rising No. 24 China. Group B features No. 43 Uruguay, No. 10 Czech Republic, No. 15 Turkey.

Canada will need to win the last minute Olympic qualifying tournament at home to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic games.

The top two teams in each group advance to the semi-finals in a crossover game. The tournament runs from July 23-28. The top four teams from each tournament will advance to Tokyo and will join an already impressive field that includes hosts Japan, Argentina, Australia, France, Spain, Iran, Nigeria and the United States.

2020 fiba olympic qualifying tournaments
2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

The Czech Republic finished in sixth-place at the recently completed 32-team World Cup in China with a record of 4-4 — with losses coming to the USA 88-67, Greece (84-77), Australia (82-70) and Serbia (90-81). Greece missed out on a top 10 finish after a disappointing 3-2 showing. Turkey showed flashes of brilliance finishing a spot below Canada at 22 with a 2-3 record — losing a close 93-92 group game against the USA.

China also finished with a 2-3 record dropping close games to Poland (79-76), Venezuela (72-59) and Nigeria 86-73. Uruguay, the lowest ranked team of the six is the only team that didn’t qualify for the World Cup.

greece giannis antetokounmpo 2019 fiba world cup basketball
Hellas’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is coming to Canada for the 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament – Photo: FIBA

The six teams coming to Victoria this summer all feature proven NBA star-power, headlined by the Hellas’ Giannis Antekonmpo. The Czech Republic has crafty Chicago Bulls point guard Tomas Satoranksy and Turkey also boasts power forward Ersan Ilyasova of the Milwaukee Bucks, point guard Ceidi Osman of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Furkan Korkmaz of the Philadelphia 76ers.

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Despite the growing global NBA player presence – it is Canada that features the most international players in the world’s best league. After a disappointing 2-3 showing at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Team Canada is expected to put together it’s best roster in years’ — already garnering early official social media commitments from two of Canada’s rising stars. Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray and OKC Thunder Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have officially announced their intentions. Dillon Brooks of the Memphis Grizzlies, Khem Birch of the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans’ guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker have also made it clearly evident that they will be on hand to help Canada end it’s 20-year summer Olympics drought that dates back to 2000.

Must Read:  Canada announces final 12-man roster for 2019 FIBA World Cup

Canada will kick-off the tournament against Greece on June 23rd and will play China the next day with a rest day in-between — before the semi-finals on June 27.

2020 fiba olympic qualifying tournament competition format
2020 FIBA Victoria Olympic qualifying tournament competition format

One thing to keep in consideration is the proximity of the qualifying tournament to the NBA Finals. Game 1 on the 2020 NBA Finals is set for Thursday June 4th 2020 and if stretched the distance it will run until Sunday June 21st leaving only two days before the start of the crucial tournament. Both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors are amongst the favorites to win the Eastern Conference and should they reach the NBA finals it will be interesting to see how it will affect player turnout and other last minute decisions.

Canada’s coaching staff is led by Raptors’ head coach Nick Nurse, Greece recently appointed former Kentucky Wildcats head coach Rick Pitino.

Canada failed to reach the 2016 Rio Olympics via the FIBA qualification tournament, falling to eventual fourth-place finisher France in a hard-fought 83-74 battle in Manila, Philippines.

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FIBA

Lance Stephenson Makin’ ‘Em Dance In China

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lance stephenson makes em dance in china
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Remade in China.

From playing with LeBron and the Lakers last season. To getting an early start in the Far East for this one. Getting in opponents faces like he used to do when he went up against the King. Blow in his face all you want…but its just hot air.

Lance Stephenson is back baby!

Like you’ve never seen him before. Running his town in China for the Liaoning Flying Leopards.

To quote Charlie Murphy talking about Prince in an infamous Hollywood stories episode of Dave’s ‘Chappelle Show’, “this cat can (still) ball man”!

GOOD!

To those who think a couple of strings have popped off Stephenson’s guitar then just watch him play and strum along. Lance is still makin’ ’em dance with the NBA’s most famous celebration…except the league just lost it and one of their premier performers and fondly favourite, cult celebrities in the amazing association of epic entertainment.

Turns out the Lakers should have held on to their veteran big name meme team a little longer. Although they did re-up with pure point Rondo running the show and the centre who should start in JaVale McGee. But in not keeping one of their biggest bench presence spark plugs of camaraderie and chemistry since the days of Rony Turiaf or even Mad Dog, Mark Madsen, this is almost as heart-breaking as losing all the kids in the Hollywood divorce for Anthony Davis. But we love reunions almost as much as we love redemption in this league and with BIG3 MVP Joe Johnson inking a deal with Detroit that is going to see the Motor City Pistons assembly line cut former Laker Michael Beasley. We may just see this fellow wild card, big contributing star head back to the Chinese league he finished out the season with like he hasn’t just flown home already. We know one Leopard who would welcome him with back open paws and any other player with a name beyond a meme, not caring if he never changes his spots.

Just when you thought Ice Cube’s inspired BIG3 was the only prescribed route for former NBA players to EA get back in the game like museum exits via the gift shop then check out this exhibit. You only have to check a FIBA feed and see how France French kissed the United States out said tournament a year before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan to see that this game is truly global. It’s far more than just the United States. It’s the whole wide, watching and welcoming world. And one of the biggest hubs like everything in this world from business, to commerce and innovation is in China. Now that’s some development even the G-League can’t give you old man.

Must Read:  Hot shooting Venezuela cools down Canada at 2014 FIBA World Qualifier cools down Canada at 2014 FIBA World Qualifier

Coney Island’s own legend Stephon Marbury became an icon here, remaining after he retired…and this guy was a superstar under the Times Square, World’s Most Famous Arena lights of being a New York Knick in the Madison Square Garden of hallowed hoops Eden.

Are you listening Carmelo?

You too Dwight…give it a couple of months.

With 35 and 10, double decadence in the playoffs, Lance just put an end to San Miguel like last orders at the bar and now next rounds on him as he mime guitars until the fat lady falsettos in her stilettos to everyone raising a glass in toast.

Cheers!

The all dunking and big shot scoring player looks like he’s stepped into a rejuvenation machine…until you see just how much he afforded with his spare chance minutes last year on the biggest stage in Hollywood. He looks like he’s having a Swayze. And Chinese Basketball in turn the time of its life.

All Stephenson needed was another chance. And boy is he taking it right now. At this point Lance will be back in the league before you can say “it’s opening night at the STAPLES Center.” But at this point would he even want back, causing big trouble in a not so little China?

(As a matter of fact after press Lance Stephenson lead his Leopards over Seoul to win both the Terrific 12 and the tournament MVP…like Jay what more can we say?)

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