Around the Association: Canada edition (March 21st-March 27th)
Multiple Canadians around the Association were on the move this week before the NBA’s trade deadline. They put in some strong performances nonetheless and here we are once again to give you all the information you want to know about Canada’s finest in basketball this past week.
Let’s begin with a game-winning performance by Luguentz Dort Sunday March 21st. The Oklahoma City Thunder were in Houston to play the Rockets and the man from Montreal not only dropped a team-high 23 points but also won his squad the match by flying in from behind and swatting John Wall’s layup attempt in the dying seconds. OKC would win by 2 without their star man Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Still on Sunday, Denver beat New Orleans 113–108 behind a clinical 23 points from Jamal Murray on 9/16 shooting (56.3%), this despite Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s best efforts with 20 points on the board as a starter for the Pelicans. RJ Barrett on the other hand lost a heartbreaker by just one point at home to Philadelphia despite racking up 19 on 9/17 FG.
At the turn of the new week, Gilgeous-Alexander came back from injury as though he had never stepped off the court and tallied 31 points, including a clinic from beyond the arc with 4/6 made buckets from deep to help OKC win it 112–103 in Minnesota. The Grizzlies were also able to grab a dub against the struggling Celtics, behind a monstrous double-double from former Raptor Jonas Valanciunas with 16 points and 19 boards on 70% shooting, while Canadian Dillon Brooks racked up 24 in the win.
On Tuesday, New York came back to winning ways in a blowout at home against Washington. Julius Randle was in his incredible All-star season form and dropped 37 while his Canadian teammate RJ Barrett poured in 21 on 8/18 shooting and was +16 when he was on the floor. Alexander-Walker started once more and gave a major helping hand in NOLA’s win at home to the LeBron and Anthony Davis-less Lakers with 18 points on 50% FG.
In midweek, Nate Darling made more history. After having become the first ever Nova Scotian to play in the NBA, he became the first ever to score points in the league by getting 3 in his Charlotte Hornets’ win in Houston, 122–97. Dillon Brooks was masterful with Memphis and engineered a win in Oklahoma City with 25 points on a highly efficient 8/13 from the hardwood (61.5%) and a game-high +25 when he was on the court Wednesday night.
Now onto Thursday evening’s matchups. Barrett, in his Knicks’ second game of a double header against the Wizards, finished with a team high 24 points while grabbing 10 boards in a 106–102 win. The Golden State Warriors on the other hand lost in Sacramento, despite Andrew Wiggins’ impressive 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Friday night was extremely action-packed and some more Canadians delivered when it mattered most. Let’s commence with Jamal Murray who did his thing and got 23 points and 11 assists in Denver’s 113–108 win in New Orleans. The Pelicans were right there for the entirety of the game, no less thanks to Alexander-Walker who tried his best with 14, 5 and 5.
Another stellar outing from Andrew Wiggins with 29 points on a surgical 10/19 made field goals for Golden State could not save the Warriors as they suffered back-to-back losses without Steph Curry. Dillon Brooks on the other hand just kept on rolling despite Memphis’ one-possession defeat in Utah, 117–114. The Mississauga native finished with 22 and a remarkable team-high +21 when he was on the floor. Brandon Clarke was also surgical with 13 points on 6/9 shooting.
Last but certainly not least, we move on to some Saturday night action. In his first appearance since being traded from Miami to Houston, Kelly Olynyk started for the Rockets and surely impressed his new teammates with 16 points on 62.5% from the hardwood. All Houston starters finished in double digits to give the Canadian a win in his new uniform. Nickeil Alexander-Walker also showed out and made 6 buckets from beyond the arc on his way to a 20-piece in New Orleans’ win at home to Dallas, 112–103.
And there you have it folks. Another fruitful week for Canadians across the Association. Don’t forget to check back in next week, same place, same time, for the latest edition.
Written by Thomas Debost