It came down to a split-second, head-scratching decision by guard Denham Brown, but after a third consecutive game with a poor finish, the Canadian team at the FIBA World Championships find themselves at 0-3 and an almost inescapable hole after a 68-63 loss to the French.
The Canadian team has been bad in the fourth quarter this tournament. We can sugarcoat it as much as we like; 'It's a young team,' 'It's all a learning experience' and 'Heck--we weren't even supposed to be here anyway!'
Those are all valid points against Lebanon or Lithuania, where Canada fell into either foul trouble or poor shooting, but against France, with just seconds to go and down by three, Brown drove to the hoop for a layup instead of kicking the ball outside for a three-point play that would have tied the game. Perhaps Brown was thinking he could draw the foul, hence his awkward delivery.
It did not help that Canada was just 6 for 20 from beyond the arc in the game, including 0 for 6 in the fourth quarter, or that the team failed to make a field goal in the last 2:45 of the game, where Brown threw down a layup to give the Canadians a 60-59 lead.
An, err, out of shape Boris Diaw made a clutch three pointer for the French, and they held it together with better shooting from the line as the seconds ticked away.
For the geeks, here are the boxscores from Canada's first three games:
[Canada 63 - France 68]
[Canada 68 - Lithuania 70]
[Canada 71 - Lebanon 81]
By the time you're reading this, Canada will probably be playing against New Zealand. That will be on TSN2, and is Canada's best chance for a win down the stretch.