With World Cup hopes already dashed and put on hold until 2023 — Canada turned it’s focus on earning a 2020 Olympic spot via the classification round by closing out the Group phase with a much needed 82-60 win over an improving Senegal — picking-up their first win of the tournament.
The win is Canada’s first World Cup victory since beating Venezuela 98-97 on September 3rd at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis to finish 2-3 after a 0-3 start. Canada went 0-5 at the 2010 World Cup — their last appearance since this years’ showcase.
Another slow start for Team Canada
Senegal got off to a great start burying two three-pointers to jump on top 8-3 and further extended the lead to 13 points at 22-9 with under a minute to go in the quarter on another made triple by Xane Dalmeida. Canada once again had a difficult time generating any offense — struggling with 5-of-20 shooting, 1-of-8 from downtown to trail 22-11 after the first-quarter.
Senegal stroked 8-of-14 shots, 3-of-5 three-pointers on six assisted baskets.
Canada’s defense settled in by limiting the Senegalese to single possessions, translating to a 12-4 run to get back in game at 26-23 on a made dunk my Khem Birch with 6:23 on the clock — forcing a Senegalese timeout. Back-to-back three pointers by Kevin Pangos and Brady Heslip put Canada ahead for good at 31-28 with 4:06 remaining and a slim 33-32 half-time lead provided the necessary mental fortitude to execute better in the second-half.
Cory Joseph best game of World Cup
Cory Joseph scored 11 of his game-high 24 points in the first four minutes of the third-quarter as Canada opened-up a 50-42, lead taking control of the game by outscoring Senegal 28-14 in the in the middle frame for 59-46 edge with 10 minutes to play.
Canada limited Senegal just 28 second-half points, winning the final quarter 23-14 for the comfortable 22-point victory — one of their largest ever at a World Cup.
“Senegal is a good team, they are long, athletic. At the start we had to get used to their length, they played good defense. Second-half we just talked amongst each other and Nick, telling us to execute better and that’s what we did.” – verbalized Cory Joseph during post-game procedures.
“Went out there played a better defense, and our defense transitioned our offense to easier buckets.”
Kevin Pangos back on track
Kevin Pangos bounced back from a tough outing against Lithuania with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists. Melvin Ejim got the starting nod and contributed with his best game of the World Cup adding 11 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal. Khem Birch continued to showcase his all-around talent with another solid effort with 6 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals and 2 assists.
Canada flexed some muscle
Canada finally out-muscled an opponent – beating the athletic Senegalese 47-32 on the boards to the tone off a 22-8 offensive rebounding advantage and shared the ball with a higher rate with 20 assists on 28 made field-goals.
Team Canada knocked down 28-of-74 shots (38%) and buried a tournament best 12-of-36 (33%) triples.
Mouhammad Faye paced Senegal with 14 points, 3 rebounds, 12 of those in the first-half. Lamire Sambe 10 points and 5 assists. Xane Dalmeida added 7 points, 2 rebounds.
Canada (1-2) finishes in third-place in the tough Group H and moves on to the 17-32 classification bracket where it will face Jordan and Germany in their next two upcoming games.
2020 Tokyo Olympic hopes still alive
Canada’s 2020 Tokyo Olympic hopes remain alive – and should they manage to get past both Jordan and Germany they will earn an automatically spot in one of four, six-team Olympic qualify tournaments next summer. Even, if it fails to secure a 17-23 finish in the classification side of the World Cup – Canada also stands in relatively solid grounds to potential earn a one of two wild sports to one of those Olympic qualifiers.
España FIBA Campeon Del Mundo
When Spain won the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa almost a decade ago this writer was in London seeing a friend from Seoul, South Korea. From Oxford Circus to the fountain tops of Piccadilly Circus there looked like a million Spanish people lining the streets that all lived here in the Big Smoke (F### Brexit! Multicultural is beautiful). And despite the honking horns and raised glasses it was the most peaceful, beautiful sports celebration I have ever seen. No hostility, just community. A Spanish man fell to his knees in front of me like he’d just scored and grabbed my hand with both of his in prayer. The most beautiful Spanish woman I’ve ever seen in her nations strip and scarf walked past me whilst trailing her fingertips across my arm and asked me flirtatiously whilst giggling, “who won the World Cup!”
Just an old memory to reminisce as we begin.
No Muleta could ever stop this raging red Spanish bull.
Ever since way before Kobe and Pau went from teammates to rivals every Summer, Spain have been one of the biggest nations in Basketball and certainly the most complete team. And now even without the older Spanish G.O.A.T. Gasol watching at home in his uniform and with Team USA given freedom by the bronze placed France, Spain proved once again that they aren’t only the most consistent and best team in Europe…but the greatest in the whole wide world.
Right now and forever more on the way to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
This FIBA tournament has been something else in its self. And if this writer wasn’t about to start his own road to Japan he would have been able to enjoy it even more. But shout out to editor Edilson Silva’s wrists for keeping us in touch with the tournament on Twitter.
Even without the power of Pau, or many big names in the legendary legacy of the last decade of the Spanish side (no Sergio Rodríguez, Juan Carlos Navarro, Nikola Mirotic, or Serge Ibaka), the Spanish team still ruled like soccer or their basketball brother team Barcelona. As legends like Rudy Fernandez, Ricky Rubio and of course Marc Gasol cut South America’s Argentina down to 20 point blowout, 95-75 size like Luis Scola’s trademark hair (but what a run of play for a member of the team of the tournament).
Marc made his mark as the second player in history to be an NBA Champion and a FIBA World Cup one in the same year, although unfortunately fellow Toronto Raptor Ibaka couldn’t join him. But what a Summer for the first player to do this since the Lakers Lamar Odom almost a decade back in 2010. Only a year after Marc Gasol’s draft rights were traded by the purple and gold for brother Pau.
“The rest of the world have been caught up for quite some time”, like Kobe Bryant said. “The days of the ’92 Barcelona Dream Team are gone”.
Now that’s as true as the U.S. coming in fourth place like half the States had a dance recital.
Congratulations to the real Dream Team…yeah I said it.
Ricky Rubio had 20 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists and no one deserves it more.
Marc Gasol had 14 and 7 in both rebounds and assists.
Sergio Llull had 15.
Rudy Fernandez 11, 10 and 3.
And both Juancho and Willy Hernangomez both had 11 too.
Now what more can you possibly say like reacting to that practice pregame half court heave underarm…from behind the back like a Globetrotter?
Gabriel Deck led the way for Argentina with 24 whilst the likes of old rivals and friends Kobe Bryant and Tony Parker watched from courtside in a sold out arena in Beijing. Whilst Scola scored 8. Argentina were valiant in the final like they were the whole terrific tourney until they were slain by Spain.
Now expect Spain to control the Japanese Olympics in Tokyo next year like a matador.
France Say Au Revoir To United States In FIBA World Cup
From ‘Dream’ to ‘Redeem’, call it what you will but last night in Dongguan, China was a nightmare for Team USA as the United States were sent packing from the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
And it was France who gave Greg Popovich team it’s last kiss last night…and Tony Parker was nowhere in sight, apart from some applause emojis on Twitter in celebration.
A year before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and many teams (including the U.S. and Canada baby!) clinching their berths for the Japan games in this tournament, this tourney was more than just a precursor or appetizer for the main event to come in a calendars time. It was a competitive game of brackets for all or nothing in its own right. Not to mention a showcase of just how talented the world’s game is, their teams and the individual talents of players themselves. If you haven’t been tuning in like the media networks with no coverage you’re really missing out and the point like TP9. From Giannis Antetokounmpo showing just how much he gives his body up for club and country. And the Hustle of Memphis Grizzlies Japanese G-League regular Yuta Watanabe showing that when it comes to the Olympics next year it’s not just a Washington Wizards top pick who will be big for Japan. Call him up!
And then of course there’s former Parker backup and Spurs man Patty Mills clicking and lowing the boom with his ruling Aussies as his New Zealand neighbours do the Haka that could even put The Rock’s ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ fast and furious movie Samoan war dance in a hard place. But when it came to Popovich’s countrymen they just couldn’t pop against France as red white and blue beat the stars and stripes 89-79. Ending a 58 non exhibition game winning streak that Dream Teams have kept awake for longer than the wonderful women’s U.S. soccer team.
If you ignorantly thought that Basketball had no borders outside America (and really? It’s 2019! Who does apart from Trump? Besides this is a Canadian site), then you really won’t now. France made a statement and those (Laker fans) who social media say that the Walker, Tatum, Brown and Smart Celtics couldn’t even beat France and Kyle Kuzma wouldn’t let this happen shouldn’t take this away from the nation who beat them, fair and block to dunk square.
And besides young to veteran superstars with exuberance and (Rio 2016) experience like Donovan Mitchell and Harrison Barnes respectively and respectfully couldn’t get it done either.
The U.S. played well and will be back to their best next year (but need to bring more big guns and names to the Olympic Games), but France just played better. Much better. From the stifling Eiffel Tower of Rudy Gobert with 21 points, 16 rebounds and 3 beautiful looking blocks from the view up there. Beautiful but brutal as Mitchell and Kemba Walker in the clutch can attest.
“We came here to win Gold,” Gobert told press postgame for a team who wants to lift more World Cups than their soccer counterpart. Between four point plays from Nicolas Batum and a team leading 22 from Evan Fournier on a 50 percent 4 for 8 from three from way back in Paris, this side didn’t even need Spurs like Parker or Boris Diaw. Especially when they had MVP and Knick, Frank Ntilikina. All that side needed was heart and they had it in abundance as France looked better than those Jumpman Paris St Germain black hoodies with Jordan in the A.
And anyone who wants to make this more about the U.S. needs to listen to Brooklyn Net and three point contest winner from downtown China Joe Harris, “We certainly didn’t deserve to win that game.”
Let that or Au Revoir be the last word.
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