Don’t imagine anyone was legitimately thinking there’d be another Miracle On The Hardwood for Canada against the United States in Sydney this morning and that’s good because there was never a danger of it happening.
In what was a sloppy game between two teams that looked a bit weary of pretend games heading into the World Cup, the Americans beat Canada 84-68 to wrap up the preparation for the big event.
Canada couldn’t make a shot – 32 per cent from the field – and the teams combined for 33 turnovers in a 40-minute game; the NBA Finals it was not.
But no one got hurt and for Canada that’s huge. They did not have Oshae Brissett – the Aussie TV broadcasters suggested he might be out a while, Canada Basketball officials texted me he’s still being assessed without answering a question about the nature of the injury – but they did get Andrew Nembhard and Kaza Kajami-Keane back and Brady Heslip arrived and played his first game of the now-completed Australian tour.
And with Cory Joseph holding a plane ticket to China, if he uses it and gets to the World Cup there are a couple of roster moves to be made.
The game, which ended a 4-3 exhibition season for Canada, was entirely forgettable.
Canada shot 27 per cent in the first half and trailed by 15 at the break, went just 6-for-23 from three-point line and while they did play hard as they have all the time, they didn’t play very effectively.
It’s not that huge a deal, what will matter is how they handle the World Cup opener next Sunday against Australia. They have shown over the five games in Australia that the offence can be effective and the shots will fall so it’s not as if today’s performance was the usual.
Kyle Wiltjer had 21 points for Canada and Khem Birch 13 with Jaylen Brown leading the United States with 19
The United States?
We’ll have more breaking down the tournament later in the week but let’s just say, after having watched them in all three friendlies in Australia this week, that they are very, very good but I’m not going as far as great quite yet.
I do think this will be the most wide-open and unpredictable World Cup since 2008 in Greece, when the Americans sent a B Team thanks to an NBA lockout and there are a handful of teams that I think could win.
The USA’s got talent, no question. Tons of it and if they defend like they did for large chunks of this morning, it’ll be tough for anyone to score consistently on them.
But if I’m Serbia or France or Greece or Spain, I’m certainly not overwhelmed by the task of beating them in a one-off playoff game.
The mail worked out pretty well yesterday and since we’re staying on three days a week here for at least another week, let’s start gathering for next Sunday now.
And since I already know that day begins with a 3:30 a.m. Canada-Australia game and I’m going to busy through the night and early morning, getting as much done way ahead of time as possible is best.
Just go to email@example.com and do what you do, please.
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Was an awfully fun run for Brooke Henderson over the weekend at the CP Women’s Open, really didn’t get much going on Sunday but tied for third is still dang good.
Not sure she’d have caught winner Jin Young Ko anyway, the world No. 1 was marvelous and played the entire tournament without so much as a single bogey. Try doing that some time.
But Henderson thrilled ‘em all with Saturday’s 65 and handled all the pressure and attention and expectations tremendously.
The kid really is something special, I think.
And now we move on to the U.S. Open tennis and Bianca Andreescu in our Summer Of Canadian Women.
I was astonished and more than a little miffed at the idiots – and, yeah, I am calling them names – who had the temerity to feel even a bit wronged or put out or angry when the NFL quarterback Andrew Luck decided Saturday to announce his retirement from the game.
How dare they?
Fans, commentators, media screamers who want nothing more than to have gigantic egos satisfied can’t possibly know what’s in Luck’s mind, why he wanted to leave the sport and I don’t know what’s worse, the dopes in the stands booing him as he left the field for the last time or the know-it-all media types who some equated a 29-year-old’s decision to retire as some sign of weakness.
Look, if the guy doesn’t want to play anymore, that’s a good and personal decision and I think fans should have thanked him for what he did rather than rip him for leaving.
And, frankly, a guy not wanting to risk his health and his future any more and getting away so he can travel the world, be healthy enough to spend the rest of his life with his loved ones seems to me to be a guy with a his mind in absolutely the right place.