Make that two wins in as many days for the Canadian Men's Senior National Team, which earned a 109-79 win over China on Wednesday night.
🍁🍁🍁🍁 pic.twitter.com/kyqZEGgRVV- Canada Basketball (@CanBball) July 1, 2021
For the second game in a row, Andrew Wiggins led the way for Canada, this time finishing with 20 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Wiggins was one of seven Canadians to finish in double-figures, with RJ Barrett scoring 16 points, Andrew Nicholson adding 14, Dwight Powell scoring 12 points and three others adding 11 on the night.
For more on how it went down, here are some takeaways from the buzzer…
1. Two wins away
Following the win, Canada shifts its focus to the Semifinals, where only four teams will remain and it's win or go home.
The margin for error becomes much much slimmer, as just two wins separate Canada from its first Olympic berth since 2000.
2. Same five
Head coach Nick Nurse clearly saw something that he liked in the opener against Greece, as he rolled with the same starting unit against China.
🇨🇦 Starting 5️⃣ vs. China 🇨🇳 #FIBAOQT pic.twitter.com/9YX5zpCSY1- Canada Basketball (@CanBball) June 30, 2021
In addition to Wiggins, Barrett and Powell, Cory Joseph and Trey Lyles were again part of the starting unit.
As the stakes get higher, it's encouraging to know that Nurse has found a five that he's comfortable with starting games with. Whether or not he'll continue to go with this lineup moving forward remains to be seen, but the consistency is a good sign.
3. Methodical dominance
It wasn't a wire-to-wire victory and China made life difficult at times, but Canada methodically asserted its dominance and pulled away with time.
As the more talented group, Canada was able to make more plays and make China uncomfortable at times to force turnovers which both limited China's opportunities and, of course, provided Canada with more opportunities to score.
As this Canada team continues to learn how to play with one another, getting wins like this is a very important step.
4. Equal opportunity offence
Everybody got their fair share of opportunities on the offensive end, with a number of encouraging stats.
Let's start with the ball movement itself.
Led by seven assists from Cory Joseph, Canada assisted on 30 of its 36 field goals, a whopping 83.3 percent. Among those unassisted field goals was an impressive putback dunk from Luguentz Dort, but we'll get to that momentarily.
After Joseph, both Barrett and Nickeil Alexander-Walker also flexed their playmaking muscles with five assists apiece, making way for so many players to get on the board.
Now, onto the scoring.
As mentioned above, seven players finished with 11 or more points, as Alexander-Walker, Dort and Lyles were the aforementioned trio of 11-point scorers. This team has a number of talented scorers, that are capable of stepping up offensively, which should be scary for opponents.
5. Canada gets going from deep early
It's amazing how the 3 ball can open a game up.
Canada got going from beyond the arc early, shooting 11-for-24 from distance in the first half alone. As CBC so eloquently stated in its halftime tweet, it was almost like a 3-point giveaway for Team Canada.
"You get a THREE, you get a THREE, you get a THREE"- CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) June 30, 2021
- Nick Nurse, probably 🇨🇦🔥
🇨🇳 46 - 59 🇨🇦 at the half with 11 threes for Canada 🙌@CanBball #FIBAOQT
WATCH: https://t.co/EpFTk4KNq8 pic.twitter.com/6hzDcKogCo
Canada finished the night shooting 17-for-43 from deep, with Alexander-Walker, Barrett, Dort and Wiggins each knocking down three triples.
6. Second chances
You dominate the glass, you create more opportunities. Such was the case for Canada on Wednesday night.
Not only did Canada outrebound China 55-37 for the night, but it also dominated on the offensive glass, pulling down a total of 20 offensive rebounds. Those 20 offensive boards? Well, they resulted in 30 second chance points, including a loud putback dunk from Dort.
Lu Dort rises up for the put-back dunk! 🇨🇦@CanBball | #FIBAOQT pic.twitter.com/EiXpPwsen6- DAZN Canada (@DAZN_CA) July 1, 2021
A reminder that you don't always have to have the size advantage to make your mark on the boards.
7. What's next?
After playing on back-to-back days, Canada will get two much-needed days off before the Semifinals, which begin on Sunday, July 3.
As Canada still awaits its opponent, stay locked in with NBA.com for more information on the next round, and we'll catch you then.
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