It was a slow start for the Canadian men’s basketball team. However, Canada had a much better second half and ended up winning the game 97-91. Credit goes to Greece, who were missing a lot of their players in the Olympic qualifiers and put up a valiant fight.
Canadian Men’s Basketball Team wins because of a strong second half
Three keys to the game
Full Game Summary:#CanadaBasketball offence helped Canada win the game.
Canada played some great defence in the second half against #Greece.
Canada won the battle on second-chance points in the second half against #GreeceBasketball. #CANBBall | 97-91 | #FIBAOQT
— Raheem (@bashirra) June 30, 2021
Big Performances from Players like Andrew Wiggins and Nickeil Alexander-Walker
Nickeil Alexander-Walker was the player of the game. Some people might say Andrew Wiggins or RJ Barrett was the player of the game. However, what Alexander-Walker did in the second half was vital to Canada’s win over Greece. He had fourteen points in the second quarter.
This was critical as Canada was struggling to create an offence in the second quarter. His offensive contributions kept Canada in the game when they were not clicking on all cylinders. Alexander-Walker ended up having 18 points, three rebounds, and three assists.
When looking at stats though, Wiggins and Barrett had better stats. Wiggins led Canada with 23 points. He also had three three-pointers, six rebounds, and two assists. This is while Barrett had a strong second half. He had 22 points and five rebounds against Greece. Barrett played really well in the second half and had an excellent field goal percentage.
The Defence Stepped Up in the Second Half
LU DORT DÉFENSE ENCORE!!! 🇨🇦 #OuiPapa @luthebeast
— Peter Yannopoulos (@PeteYannopoulos) June 30, 2021
Luguentz Dort was excellent on defence for Canada. There are two examples in the fourth quarter. He made a good defensive play at the 8:43 mark of the fourth quarter. Dort got a steal that led to two points for Canadian Dwight Powell. He would create another defensive play at the end of the game to force a Greek turnover and seal the win for Canada.
Dort also had two steals for Team Canada. Alexander-Walker, Cory Joseph, Anthony Bennett, and Wiggins had one steal each. They also limited Greece to only 41 points in the second half. A large part of that was Canada’s defence on the three-point line, which is something Canada did not take care of in the first half.
Canada had More Second-Chance Points in the Second Half
A big reason why Greece was winning after the first half was that they had seven second-chance points in the first half. Canada had zero second-chance points in the first half.
This statistic flipped in the second half. Greece only had four second-chance points in the second half while Canada had nine second-chance points. This started in the third quarter, where Wiggins got a rebound from his own shot. He tipped it in to give Canada its first second-chance points. Alexander-Walker also got two points from an offensive rebound in the third quarter.
This momentum continued in the fourth quarter as Canada continued to get second-chance points. Canada also did a better job getting defensive rebounds in the second half. Wiggins and Barrett both had the most rebounds for Team Canada with five rebounds each.
Canada vs. Greece Overview
🇨🇦 @22wiggins went to work!
Andrew Wiggins helped @canbball edge @hellenicbf 🇬🇷 to open the #FIBAOQT in Victoria!
— FIBA (@FIBA) June 30, 2021
This was going to be a tough game to win even with all the injuries Greece incurred. It was the tale of two halves. Greece was the better team in the first half and Canada was the better team in the second half. The problem for Greece was that Canada was only trailing by four points after the end of the first half. Alexander-Walker of Team Canada played a major role in making that happen.
The Greek men’s basketball team will now play China on July 1 at 7:05 p.m. ET. The game can be watched on LiveBasketball.ca. Greece will have to win that game to keep its Olympic dreams alive. This is while Canada will play China at 7:05 p.m. ET on June 30.
A win for Canada means they qualify for the knockout round of the Olympic qualifiers at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, British Columbia. The game will be televised nationally in Canada on CBC. The game can also be watched on DAZN and Live Basketball.tv.
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