Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Lethargic Canada Hammered by Argentina

Over the course of a long international tournament with tough games on virtually a daily basis, teams usually experience a roller-coaster ride full of emotional and physical challenges. Canada Sr. Men fought through these challenges yesterday with a character-building victory over Uruguay however having to come back 24 hours later against a much-stronger and better-rested Argentina side, the tide turned dramatically against the Canadians. In a game that was over almost as quickly as it began, Argentina took a 30 point lead into halftime, holding Canada to only 16 total first half points and coasted to a 85-70 victory to remain undefeated at 5-0. Unlike Monday, Canada, which drops to 2-3 in the tournament, played a first half characterized by being a step slow defensively, no offensive continuity, questionable shot selection, carelessness with the basketball, allowing way too many second chances, losing virtually every battle for a loose ball, and getting no second chances themselves. After the gut-wrenching victory against Uruguay, Canada could not muster any emotional energy and played by far their worst half of the tournament. Unfortunately they ran into an opponent that is probably the second best team in the tournament, rounding into top form. Canada fell into a 22-4 hole off the start of the game, going 2 for their first 14 from the field and watched as 6'6" Toronto Raptor Carlos Delfino (15 points/6 rebounds) knocked down 3's and got to the rim while 6'10" Houston Rocket Luis Scola (23 points/6 rebounds) got going inside and in the mid-range. Scola's banker from 15 feet at the buzzer gave Argentina a 26-8 lead after one and the route continued immediately in the second quarter as Argentina added a 19-5 run to lead 46-16 at the half. Although Canada came back in the second half to make the score respectable, play turned into something just better than a glorified pick up game as the result had long since been decided. Canada got 13 points from 6'5" Dave Thomas and 10 points apiece from 6'2" Jermaine Anderson and 6'5" Carl English, who also had 5 turnovers. 6'10" Samuel Dalembert had 9 points and 16 rebounds for Canada. All is not lost for Canada and hopefully a game like this will not cost the group the confidence and togetherness they gained and showed on Monday as they must come back strong against the Nolan Richardson-coached Mexicans, a team that will press full court for 40 full minutes and again play with wreckless abandon and plenty of emotion. The game gets started at 3:30 ET. Canada vs. Argentina Box Score

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