It was our first match together. We have a lot to work on, but it’s a good way to startsaid RJ Barrett, 21, who just completed his second season in the NBA.
Even without their superstar Giannis Antikonmou, the Greek team presented a challenge to the Canadians in their first game in Group A.
The Greeks, who are sixth in the world, took the lead early in the game to hold it until the second half. Thanks in part to Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s brilliance, Canada managed to slip into the locker room in the first half by four points, with the Greeks leading 50-46.
RJ Barrett and Andrew Wiggins took matters into their own hands on the pitch and helped Canada, 21st in the world, turn things around. The host team advanced in the third quarter and did not lose its position after that.
Wiggins finished the game with 23 points, while Barrett collected 22. Wiggins was particularly effective from the three-point streak as he made three of his six attempts. He also managed to make several difficult shots late in the game to protect his team’s progress.
Dwight Powell scored 12 points for a maple leaf, while Logwentz Dort of North Montreal scored 3 points. Trey Lyles, Michal Mulder and Corey Joseph were other NBA players in the Canadian Brigade.
We have a lot of guys who bring in different things. We have very smart players, strong players, free scorers, specialists in defence. We can adapt to all playing stylesWiggins commented.
Nick Norse’s squad will have to get back to work quickly, as they face China, 29th in the world, on Wednesday night. Preparation will focus on defensive play.
The same is true with birds of prey. All the successful teams will tell you that in order to be good enough to win the championship, you have to think defensively first and foremost.The Canadian coach stressed.
Tonight, we have mistakes in our defensive patterns, in our defensive tasks – mistakes of players and coaches, let’s be clear! We will analyze the video tomorrow. Defense as a calling card, it should be our mentality, that’s for sure, added the nurse.
Canada must win this six-nation tournament to get a place in the Tokyo Olympics. The men’s team has not participated in the Olympic Games since 2000 in Sydney. Uruguay, the Czech Republic and Turkey also compete in Victoria.
The top two countries from each group qualify for the semi-finals on Saturday. The final will be played on Sunday.