After falling to Puerto Rico in the 2013 FIBA Americas tournament Saturday, the Canadian National team returned to play Sunday against Brazil. Once the final buzzer rung in Caracas, Venezuela Sunday, San Antonio Spurs guard Cory Joseph had put behind his struggling game against Puerto Rico (4 points, 3 assists, 2 turnovers) and exploded with 28 points to lead the Canadians to a 91-62 beat down of Brazil.
Along with his team-high 28 points on 8-of-10 shooting, Joseph also added 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and did not turn the ball over once in his 33 minutes of play. Joseph did all this while holding the highly respected Marcelo Huertas of Brazil to 3 points (1-of-5 shooting) and 3 assists.
Brazil came out as the aggressor in the first quarter with a 22-19 lead early on, but Canada's defense would be the story of the night as they held Brazil to consecutive 12-point quarters in the second and third, and then capped the win off by holding Brazil to 16 points in the final period.
Though Brazil is usually known as a powerhouse in South American basketball, this year they're missing much of their top-talent as Joseph's Spurs teammate Tiago Splitter, Washington Wizards forward Nene, Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, and NBA guard Leandro Barbosa are not participating with the team this summer for various reasons.
Through three games, Joseph is leading Canada with 16.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Canada will have one day off Monday before finishing Phase 1 against Uruguay on Tuesday.
In going 2-1 through the first three games, Canada currently stands in second place in Group A with 5 total points behind leader Puerto Rico (3-0), who has 6 points. In order to advance, a team must finish in the top 4-of-5 of their group.
Through three games, Canada is showing they're a force to be dealt with for opposing teams.
This is nice to see. That said, the up and down nature of CJ's play during these games does not breed confidence in me that he is capable of handling backup pg duties for the Spurs. TP has a ton of mileage on those legs. God forbid he goes down this season for a prolonged period. We need someone reliable-like when we had Speedy Claxton coming off the bench in reserve. Good game, but taking the whole body of work from summer league through the present, consistency is a big problem for Joseph. At this stage in his career and with his experiences, consistency should be one of his traits. He is a hard worker, but there are holes in his game that reveal themselves when he has some of these head scratching performances against competition he should be rolling. I don't expect the kind of numbers he put up against Brazil every performance-but just regular, solid, workmanlike numbers night in and night out would be great. I think the Spurs feel the same or they wouldn't be interested in a Sebastian Telfair and every other point guard since the beginning of summer they have been linked to in terms of interest.
Joseph is starting to remind me of Jason Kidd the way he has an all aroudn game. I've always loved this kid and hope he can become the next man for the spurs. He certainly seems to put the work in.