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With a brilliant Kelly Olynyk, Canada dismissed Brazil at home
LAVAL (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers) — Kelly Olynyk was inspired, transmitted his enthusiasm to his teammates, and Canada is steady on their path of being at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.
With a solid demonstration of Olynyk as the spearhead of the group, Canada had six double-double players and countered all their rivals’ attempts to be in the game, thus defeating local team Brazil, 85-77, in the duel that took place on Thursday at Laval's Place Bell.
Olynyk was phenomenal, with 20 points, 19 rebounds, four steals and three assists for Canada, who sustain their leadership of Group F with 6-1, the same record as Venezuela — but with a better difference in points.
Point guard Cory Joseph contributed 16 points and 1 assist, Melvin Ejim did 14 units, and Aaron Best contributed 12. Tristan Thompson (10 points and 12 rebounds) and Kevin Pangos (10 points and eight assists) also stood out for the North American side that has five consecutive victories in the Americas Qualifiers.
As for Brazil (5-2) Leandro Barbosa was calling the shots, with 18 points. Marcelinho Huertas excelled with 14 points, 10 assists and five rebounds. Augusto Lima added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the South Americans, who have lost two of their three recent commitments in the Qualifiers.
Canada took control for 30 minutes and never yielded during the last quarter. Brazil tried to shorten distances, but a proactive Olynyk did not allow it. The small forward added a three-pointer to widen the gap for his squad, 70-59, with 8:24 in the game.
The visiting team continued insisting that the locals not take him out of the court. Huertas made a two-pointer and later on, Rafael Mineiro did the same from a distance to stay in the game, 73-64. However, the Canadian powerhouse was difficult to contain.
An assist by Joseph eased a three-point by Ejim and a free throw by Olynyk after cutting and receiving a fowl, thus taking to the leadership to the double-digits once again and calling the result.
Brazil will try to recover when they receive the US Virgin Islands on Sunday, at Goiania. Meanwhile, Canada will try to keep up their good streak when they visit Chile on Monday, at Valdivia.
After an initial five minutes that were mostly equal, Canada showered the points in, 19-11. Alongside their veterans Barbosa and Anderson Varejão, Brazil stayed in the game and with a two-pointer by Barbosa, the visitors closed in, 22-19 to close the quarter.
In the second quarter, a score by Joseph and a slam-dunk by Thompson gave life to the rivals, 26-19, with 7:42 left on the clock. But, once again, the visiting team's veterans went in and got the job done. With four points by Barbosa, a three-pointer by Yago Mateus (thanks to an assist by Varejão), the scoreboard was equaled, 26-26.
Canada stayed calm thanks to their key figures. The fine assists by Joseph and eight points by Olynyk gave the locals the lead, 36-28, with 3:36 left on the clock.
A two-pointer by Huertas left Brazil closer, 38-32, but three points by Brady Heslip placed Canada on a good lead, 41-33, before the rest.
Canada tried to define the third quarter early on. A three-pointer by Pangos, four consecutive points by Joseph, and a lay-up by Thompson put the North Americans back in control, 50-37. The South Americans used the wisdom of Huertas, Barbosa, Varejão and Lima to keep the game in track. Consecutive doubles by Lima and Huertas reduced the difference, 56-47.
The reaction was contagious for the Brazilians, who now played with more inspiration. A basket by Leonardo Meindl brought Brazil closer, 58-53, and then a three-pointer by Mateus made the game interesting, 60-56, with 55 seconds left in the quarter. However, Canada did not bow down — a dunk by Thompson and a two-pointer by Ejim gave them some air, 64-56, with 10 minutes of action.