Saturday, 18 August 2007

Brazil Upends Canada

Canada's hopes of a championship at the Tuto Marchand Cup in Puerto Rico ended this evening as Brazil defeated the previously-undefeated Sr. Nats 74-61 in front of 5,000 fans in San Juan. With the win plus the 13 point margin of victory, Brazil (2-1) moves into first place in the tournament standings with a +17 points for/against figure while Canada (2-1) is currently in second place with a -5 points for/against. Argentina (1-1) can capture the tournament championship by defeating the host Puerto Ricans (0-2) by 16 points or more. The only way Canada can finish second is if Puerto Rico defeats Argentina, otherwise Canada finishes third. Brazil and Canada will meet again this coming Wednesday, August 22nd at 8:30 ET on the opening day of the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament in Las Vegas and both teams appeared to be using the match as a tune up without showing each other alot. Canada did not dress 6'10" Samuel Dalembert or 6'5" Carl English and 6'2" guard Jermaine Anderson, the hero in both of Canada's earlier victories in the tournament played only 10 minutes. Both of Brazil's upper-echelon NBA players 6'3" Leandro Barbosa and 6'11" Nene saw their first action of the tournament and played relatively sparingly. Barbosa, who rides shotgun with Steve Nash on the Phoenix Suns, played 20 minutes, scoring 9 points on 4-7 shooting while Nene, coming off a season-long injury from last season with the NBA's Denver Nuggets, played 10 minutes, scoring 6 points and grabbing 4 boards. 6'11" Tiago Splitter (pictured), who confounded NBA general managers by pulling his name from the NBA draft for several seasons, finally being drafted by NBA champions San Antonio Spurs with the 28th pick in the draft and will join the Spurs this coming season after 4 seasons starring in the Spanish league, had 9 points and 9 rebounds in 25 minutes for Brazil. Canada jumped out to an early lead however Brazil came back to lead by 11 at the half, extended the lead to 13 after 3 quarters and coasted the rest of the way. 6'5" Andy Rautins led Canada with 13 points (2-7 3's) in 29 minutes and 6'5" Olu Famutimi also had 13 in 27 minutes. 6'6" Juan Mendez saw his first extensive action of the tournament after being plagued with foul trouble against Puerto Rico and sitting out the Argentina game, going for a 10 point/11 rebound double/double. All 11 players who dressed saw action for Canada with no player getting more than 29 minutes. 6'8" Marcus Vinicius, who had a cup of coffee with New Orleans Hornets a couple of seasons ago, led Brazil with 14 points while sharpshooting 6'4" Marcell "Marcelinho" Machado and 6'10" Paolo Lopez added 12 each for Brazil. Wednesday's game between Brazil and Canada will be available on television in Canada on the SCORE beginning at 8:30 PM and will also be carried on NBA-TV.

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