Around the Association: Canada Edition April 4th–April 10th
There were some more stellar performances across the board from Canadians this week in the NBA, while one was on the move and another came back from injury. There is plenty to discuss today so let’s dive right into it.
We begin on Easter Sunday. Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke went for 17 and 15 points respectively in an impressive win in Philadelphia against the Sixers. Andrew Wiggins on the other hand also had a strong showing on the road in Atlanta with 16 points, despite the defeat to the Hawks.
Still on Sunday, Kelly Olynyk continued his brilliant start to his Houston days with a great all-around performance during a home defeat to the Pelicans. He finished the game with 26 points and 8 boards on a greatly efficient 9/17 from the field.
Jamal Murray continued to perfect his relationship on the court with Nikola Jokic, as both of them finished with a team-high +15 when they were on the floor during a home win over Orlando. The Canadian tallied 22 in the dub.
Now onto Monday in the NBA. RJ Barrett, despite a gutting defeat in enemy territory against the Nets by just two points, finished with 22 points for New York. Olynyk put in another strong shift with 21 points as a starter, on a practically impeccable 7/8 shooting efficiency during Houston’s home defeat to Phoenix.
On Tuesday evening, the Raptors suffered a blowout loss in Tampa against the LA Lakers, despite the absence of their two stars Anthony Davis and Lebron James. Chris Boucher finished the match with 19 points and 8 rebounds, although he struggled from beyond the arc at just 1/6 from deep.
Not so far away that night, Dillon Brooks was fantastic for the Grizzlies in South Beach as they defeated the Heat behind the Canadian’s team-high 28 points on a clinical 10/16 from the field.
In midweek NBA action, RJ Barrett had an unreal showing despite another heartbreaking one-possession loss for his Knicks, this time in Boston. Barrett totalled 29 points on a highly efficient 10/14 FG, including a perfect 6/6 from three-point land. Olynyk, him again. He finished with a double-double: 10 points and a team high 18 rebounds during a home win to the neighboring Dallas Mavericks.
Dillon Brooks proved himself yet again as he finished with 17 points on Wednesday. Memphis played some impressive team basketball to win it in Atlanta, behind Grayson Allen’s 30-piece and former Raptor Jonas Valanciunas’ 19 on the board for the Grizzlies.
On Thursday night, the Toronto Raptors hosted the Chicago Bulls in what could have been a deciding head-to-head matchup for the elusive 10th spot in the East, the last qualifying seed for this year’s novel play-in tournament. Toronto suffered a blowout loss, but despite the poor performance from the rest of his undermanned squad, Chris Boucher had himself a game. He finished with career-highs in both points and rebounds, with 38 and 19 respectively, including 9 offensive boards. Perhaps his most impressive stat that evening was his +16 when he was on the court, despite the Raptors trailing by 20+ for the vast majority of the game.
Cory Joseph had another impressive performance and has fit in perfectly since reuniting with Dwayne Casey in Detroit. The Pistons won on the road to Sacramento behind the former Raptor’s 24 points and 7 assists as a starter, on a highly efficient 10/14 shooting display.
On Friday night in the NBA, Brandon Clarke and RJ Barrett battled it out at The Garden. New York would finally come out on top and both Canadians collected a 20-piece. Kelly Olynyk finished with yet another double-double performance with 13 and 11 despite the loss in LA to Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers. He has kept putting up numbers with consistency, exactly what the Houston front office was looking for, no doubt.
Last, but certainly not least, on Saturday night, Luguentz Dort finally returned from injury after being out for several weeks. The Montreal native returned as though he never left with 15 points and 5 boards on an efficient 50% from the hardwood, despite the defeat at home to Philly.
Speaking of Montreal, Khem Birch, also out of the 514, has officially signed with the Toronto Raptors and will join the team as soon as possible, hoping to be able to play for them in New York this Sunday. They will gladly take in some fresh legs, on the second night of a back-to-back and still missing several key members from the team. Nick Nurse’s squad is primarily desperate for some rebounding ability, on both sides of the ball, which Birch can certainly provide. Here’s to hoping for a strong start to his Toronto career.
That’s it for this week, folks. Another strong end-to-end showing from all the Canadians across the Association. More to come very soon.
Written by Thomas Debost