The Canadian senior men’s national team claimed their inaugural summer win by outclassing the New Zealand Tall Blacks 107-76 in the semi-finals of the DDB Basketball Supercup 2023, hosted at the edel-optics.de arena in Hamburg, Germany.
Breaking free from a tied 16-16 score, Canada launched into action with a quick 5-0 run to jump ahead and never looked back, winning the first-quarter 28-24 and outscoring New Zealand 39-14 in the second-quarter to take 67-38 half-time lead.
The Tall Blacks won the third-quarter by outscoring Canada 24-18 before being limited to 14 points in the final ten minutes as Canada cruised to a 31 point victory.
The Canadians have now defeated New Zealand in five straight, unofficial international friendly contests, dating back to the 2008 Jack Donohue International Classic and hold a 12-5 all-time record over the Tall Blacks since 1982.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 20 points in the first-half in only 13 minutes and added two triples in the second-half to finish with a game-high 26 points, six steals, three assists and one block in 20 minutes.
Kelly Olynyk and Nickeil Alexander-Walker each contributed 13 points, while Luguentz Dort and RJ Barrett added 11 points apiece, rounding out Canada’s five double-digit scorers.
Reflecting on the game, Olynyk shared, “obviously good win, top to bottom, alot of guys got involved, they pressured us, we played a little bit different than our last game, but we just keep building, keep getting better every single day and try to keep pushing towards the [World Cup] tournament.”
Elaborating on the team’s dynamics, Olynyk continued, “everybody’s role here is different than it was the NBA or past teams, we are just trying to build that cohesiveness, that togetherness and try to get a little bit better each day and know how each other plays, how to play with each other, and try to be the best we can.”
Canada’s relentless pressure resulted in 20 steals against New Zealand, translating into 25 fast-break points, 36 points from turnovers, and an additional 52 points from the paint.
Looking ahead, Team Canada will continue its preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 with a match-up against the winner of second game of the Supercup between Germany versus China.