Around the Association: Canada edition (March 1st-March 4th)
We had reduced NBA drama this past week given the fact that teams have not been in action since Thursday night in preparation for Sunday night’s All-Star game in Atlanta. Nonetheless, Canadians across the Association had some fruitful performances as per usual.
We start things off with a casual 24 points on 57% FG from Jamal Murray on Monday who, along with Nikola Jokic’s 39-point performance, fueled a Denver Nuggets’ win 118–112 in Chicago.
The following evening, Memphis Grizzlies’ dynamic duo of Mississauga native Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke from Van-city showed out for their Grizzlies in a 125–111 dub against Bradley Beal’s Washington Wizards. The former finished with 20 points and the latter with 14 on a very efficient 6/9 from the hardwood. Both Canadians finished with their team’s two best +/- at +25 and +28 respectively. Murray scored another 24 on back-to-back matchups to see past the Greek Freak’s Milwaukee Bucs in a blowout, 128-97.
In midweek the Toronto Raptors’ extremely undermanned squad suffered a blowout loss at home to former Toronto head coach Dwayne Casey’s Detroit Pistons. Despite the defeat to Detroit, Chris Boucher tried everything he could to get his team back into it with a strong 18-point, 8-rebound display. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort’s OKC Thunder beat Luka Doncic Magic and the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night 87–78, behind SGA’s team-high 15 points.
26-year-old Golden State Warrior Mychal Mulder from Etobicoke finished with 6 points while Andrew Wiggins added his usual strong contribution with 14 points, albeit both performances were not enough to win it in Portland in a nail biting 108– 106 loss. On the other hand, former Raptor Cory Joseph tallied a team-high +/-, at +16, during an impressive win by his Sacramento Kings at home to Lebron James and the Lakers.
We finish things off with an extremely busy Thursday schedule. Boucher’s Raptors suffered back-to-back defeats in Boston. Notwithstanding, Montreal’s very own had a career-defining night with 30 points on an astoundingly efficient 11/15 FG, including 5 three-pointers. His Canadian comrade Tristan Thompson contributed to the Celtics’ W, racking up 13 points and a team second highest +/- at +11.
The New York Knicks ladies and gentlemen, continue to impress this season and head into the short hiatus standing at 5th in the East. They finished the first half of the season off on a high note with a win at The Garden over the Pistons 114–104, behind RJ Barrett’s 21 points on a methodical 9/13 from the field.
The Grizzlies fell just short at home to the Bucs in heartbreaking fashion with Jrue Holiday hitting the go-ahead jumper in the dying seconds of the 4th quarter, final score 112–111. Dillon Brooks tried everything he possibly could to try to help his team beat Milwaukee with 23 points including a perfect 8/8 from the charity stripe. Clarke on the other hand had a decent 6-point, 8-rebound outing.
Kelly Olynyk out of Toronto put on a clinic and shot 7/8 from the field to finish with 18 points Thursday as Miami beat Nickeil Alexander-Walker and the New Orleans Pelicans in the Big Easy. Alexander-Walker’s cousin, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, along with Lu Dort, were back to their best for the Thunder as they were able to see off Demar DeRozan’s San Antonio Spurs 107–102. The two totaled 33 and 15 points respectively.
It’s too bad that we won’t have the privilege of admiring some of these impressive young Canadian talent showcasing their abilities during what would normally be the Rising Stars game this weekend, because unfortunately there will be no game in Atlanta due to the Coronavirus situation. Indeed, half (5/10) of the Team World roster named earlier in the week consisted of players out of the North: Alexander-Walker, Barrett, Clarke, Dort and Mulder would have featured in the match. They would have had the chance to show out against the likes of Zion Williamson and former Rookie of the Year, Ja Morant for Team USA. Basketball fans will definitely be looking forward to next seasons Rising Stars game!
Check back in next week, same place, same time for some more of Canada’s best and brightest across the Association. Until then, let’s enjoy some All-Star action Sunday night and do everything we can not to get too bored until our favorite teams finally come back to battle it out on the hardwood.
Written by Thomas Debost