Tough times for Team Canada at the FIBA World Championships. The Canucks played Lebanon and Lithuania this past weekend in Turkey. In both cases they had strong leads in the 3rd quarter and in both cases they watched those leads evaporate en route to losses.
Canada, which led by as many as 17 points in the second half, fell 70-68 to Lithuania Sunday to fall to 0-2 in Group D. In Saturday’s opener, Canada led 58-57 after three quarters before falling 81-71 to Lebanon.
Canada needs to win at least two of its next three Group D games — against New Zealand, France and Spain — if it hopes to advance to the second round.
Odd, considering Andy Rautins is on the team. You would think that an Andrius-led Canadian team would cut through the rest of the world like a hot knife through butter. Alas, as he is apt to do during Team Canada games, Andy is injured.
Andy played twenty minutes and scored ten points in the loss to Lebanon. The injury seemed to re-aggravate itself in the Lithuania game. Though Leo tried his best to slow Andy down, Little Rautins doesn't take those kind of orders kindly these days.
Canada’s ace shooting guard Andy Rautins, nagged all summer by a knee injury ahead of a rookie season with the New York Knicks, winced and limped throughout the hard-fought game, and won’t likely be at 100 per cent for France on Tuesday, New Zealand on Wednesday, and defending world champion Spain on Thursday. "Andy started limping in the first half," his coach and father said. "I probably shouldn’t have played him in the second half."
The problem is, his son is a warrior who doesn’t want to leave the game. "We can’t make excuses," said Andy Rautins, shrugging off his injury. "You have to play even when it hurts. I don’t want to come off the floor."
It's unknown whether or not Andy will be available for Tuesday's critical game against France. The Canadians beat France twice in exhibitions earlier this month, but most expect the French to be improved since then.
Here's Andy talking after one of those exhibition wins over France a couple weeks back: