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Argentina Avenges Loss to Canada at Marchand at Qualifier

Scola and Argentina are pinning Canada's hopes of qualifying for the World Championships on the glass.  <em>(Hans Deryk, Reuters)</em>
Scola and Argentina are pinning Canada's hopes of qualifying for the World Championships on the glass. (Hans Deryk, Reuters)

The Can Ball Report takes another blinders look at Canada's game against the Scola led Agentina team.  Our three keys as far as the third eye could see (we mean reading the stats) ...


Today was a great day in big bad city with the sun finally shining and no call for rain for the first time in a long minute.  Of course I was at work so I was nowhere near a TV, or at least nowhere I could sit and watch TV for a few hours.  So seeing that I missed the first of Canada’s quarter final games yesterday I am left to give you another game report with the blinders on.  That being said let me get right into it then, the Can Ball Blinders report.


Canada lost the game to Argentina by double digits in its opening game 67-51.  This did not at all surprise me to tell you the truth.  Argentina is a very good and experienced international team and they know how to play the game at this level.  In spite of missing Ginobili and three other NBA players, this team does not fall off too far without them.  Canada had a great game against them in the Tuto Marchand but unfortunately this was not that game. 


So what did happen in the game for Canada?  I didn’t get to watch the game I did the rundown on the stats so here is what was evident. 


First, Canada shot horribly from the three.  The Road Warriors are team that really relies on the outside shot to set up their inside game.  The outside game in the first round for Canada was on fire, even in that blowout loss to Puerto Rico (where Canada shot 50% incidentally).  Canada only made two threes in the game on 16 shots.  This is a team that could throw up ten treys from the bench with all the skilled gunners on the roster.  Since I didn’t watch the game, I can only assume that the Argentineans played amazing defense.  Regardless, the shots didn’t fall and Canada needs them to fall for a chance to win games at this level. 


Two, they turned over the ball.  What cannot be continually harped on is the need to protect the ball.  Coach Leo said it’s one of the keys to winning games at this Tournament.  Unfortunately, fatigue must be setting in with this being the fifth game in six days because Canada gave up the rock 23 times.  That is potentially two points for every turnover, or a foul, or both.  That cannot happen at this level for any team, particularly a team looking to swim with the big boys on the world stage. 


Third, they only got to the free throw line four times.  Four times!  Now I’m not a genius by any stretch but I know that getting to the charity stripe only four times in a game usually means that the other team wins.  Now mind you, Argentina only got to the line seven times themselves but that’s no excuse.  The line is where Canada can help equalize any offensive deficiencies. After all they are unguarded shots at the basket meaning they should be easy points.  But to get those free shots, you first need to get to the line.  Canada has some players that are athletic enough to get to the rack and finish and they need to be getting to the hole to at least draw the foul shots to be successful in this tournament.  Oh yeah, and of the four foul shots only one went in.  That just won’t do.


So that is the long and short from what I could surmise.  Canada will be on game six in seven days and will need to shore up real quick if it is to have a chance a salvage this tournament.  Tomorrow’s opponent is Brazil, the undefeated Pool B qualifier, led by Leandro Barbosa, Anderson Varejao and recent NBA first rounder Tiago Splitter.  The Road Warriors will have an uphill battle on their hands if the ball isn’t protected and an even longer night if the threes aren’t falling.  Look for this game to be played in fast forward if the Brazilians control the tempo. 

* The game is set for a 1:00pm tip off and can be caught on The Score *