San Antonio Spurs backup point guard Cory Joseph scored 20 points for Canada in Monday night’s loss to Brazil 77-70 at the Tutu Marchand Continental Cup. Canada finished the warm-up tournament for FIBA Americas with a 0-4 record after losing to Puerto Rico, Argentina and the Dominican Republic earlier.
Before the game Head Coach Jay Triano announced the final two cuts to the roster by confirming Kris Joseph had left the team to take an offer in China and that Kyle Landry would be unavailable due to injury. The final 12-man squad has a Canadian record of 4 current NBA players with Joel Anthony (HEAT), Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers), Andrew Nicholson (Magic) and Joseph (Spurs).
Triano was using this tournament to help make the final cuts to his roster and in the best of international tradition during exhibition games, he held back some of his best players’ minutes. Both Joseph and Anthony had sat out against the Dominican Republic and had big games Monday against Brazil. The veteran Anthony recorded 4 blocked shots as he prepares to be the defensive anchor for Canada when the games start to count this Friday.
Nicholson has been an effective scorer for Canada during these exhibition games and recorded what has become his typical 17 points on 6-12 shooting against Brazil. Thompson played limited minutes and seemed to struggle for the first time as he failed to collect a rebound and finished with just 5 points in 15 minutes.
Point guard Brady Heslip may have been the beneficiary of Kris Joseph and Landry’s departure, but he proved his worth again against Brazil with 14 points on 5-10 shooting. Canada will need Heslip’s zone busting three-point ability before the FIBA Americas tournament is over.
The game was close with several ties and lead changes in the fourth quarter. Canada was down 70-68 with 37 seconds left on a Heslip steal and made basket, but then Brazil hit a three-point shot and Joseph turned the ball over to end Canada’s hopes for a victory.
Canada plays Jamaica on Friday at the FIBA Americas in Caracas, Venezuela.