Tuesday, 31 August 2010

France 68, Canada 63

Another valiant effort by the Canadian group in a game which ended on what many feel was a questionable decision by Denham Brown attacking the rim down 3 with only seconds remaining.  One theory (mine) is that Denham thought there was more time on the clock than there was and wanted to take a layup and then foul quickly.  However, his shot was blocked and Canada's fate was sealed.

Coach Leo Rautins group continues to play hard and play together and have been in every game; unfortunately Canada has been unable to find that player who can make the big shot when it is most needed.  Today, Canada had 4 wide-open looks at 3's to tie the game with about 1 minute remaining and could not get a shot to drop.  This particular group unfortunately lacks the quality depth needed when playing deeper top opponents, especially with how condensed the schedule is. 

Canada played without 6'5" Andy Rautins who was in street clothes and the available minutes may have been the catalyst for the coming out party of 6'9" Kelly Olynyk who played with the poise and confidence of an international veteran.  Olynyk scored in several different ways including a blow by take from the wing, a baseline drive and power layup over Boris Diau, a pair of threes including an ice-water-in-the-viens shot right in a French defender's eye.  He also got his hands on several rebounds at both ends and was not overmatched guarding the more athletic French wings.  He played with the swagger of a player who had no doubt he should be there - a great sign for a 19 year old.  Congratulations to Olynyk, who is the son of former U of T Varsity Blues and Lethbridge Pronghorn Head Coach Ken Olynyk, the current AD at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

Canada's two bigs 6'9" Levon Kendall and 6'10" Joel Anthony were effective as Kendall knocked down a couple of early perimeter jumpers and worked hard inside while Anthony was effective swatting and altering shots on the defensive end.  Brown continues to look to share the ball and play within the context of the offense but occasionally reverts back to breaking things off early - still it is very apparent that he is doing his very best to do what is best for this team, which is a credit to his maturation as a player and the mentoring he has received over the years with Canada Basketball.  6'1" Jermaine Anderson needs to play virtually all 40 minutes for this team to flourish and unfortunately for him, fatigue can set in, especially as the tournament progresses - most of Canada's late misses from downtown were front-rimmed.

Canada's two CIS players, both from Carleton Ravens, contributed to the game as 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp started and played alot, doing his thing defending, rebounding and usually keeping the ball moving on the offensive side (one of Canada's issues in my opinion is that some players can hold the ball a little too long especially when teammates make open ball cuts, usually leading to one-on-one or ball screen action late in the shot clock).  6'4" Ryan Bell made a mid-range jumper in the second half on a nice find by Doornekamp to keep Canada in the game however he turned the ball over on several occasions and unfortunately did not look comfortable when trying to start the offense.

Canada is now 0-3 and needs to defeat New Zealand to potentially move into a three-way tie for fourth spot but with the Tall Blacks dominating win over Lebanon today Canada needs a margin of victory near 40 over New Zealand to be in the discussion for any tie breaker.  Of course, with a win over Tall Blacks and an upset over Spain on the final day of preliminary play, Canada could get in without the tie breaker.  (Doug Smith has more in his article - link below).

Canada gets New Zealand tomorrow.

Doug Smith's article in the Toronto Star

Globe & Mail Canadian Press article

Toronto Sun article

National Post article

Excellent Mike Ganter article on Canada Basketball's progress to date

Doornekamp digs deep (Mike Ganter article on Aaron battling injuries)


Anonymous said...

Why r you not questioning Aaron Doornekamp shooting the ball two or three times inside a minute against Lithuania...and one of those was an airball!!

John said...

Probably because Doornekamp is a very good perimeter shooter and having a shooting cold streak in the middle of a game is a very different thing from having a complete mental lapse and forgetting a basic, late-game strategy.