Canada and Turkey are on the brink of elimination in their respective FIBA World Cup qualifying tournaments after two crushing losses Saturday.
Canada lost its second consecutive game to fall to 1-2 in Group X play at the FIBA Americas Championship in Venezuela. The Canucks are 3-3 overall after an 81-74 loss to Dominican Republic on Saturday.
It was a difficult game for Canada, who lost a 10-point lead after the first quarter and found itself in a battle the rest of the game. It was a battle Canada would eventually lose. Putting them in the difficult situation of having to defeat Argentina to advance to the semifinals and the FIBA World Cup. Canada is currently in a three-way tie for fourth place with the game against 3-3 Argentina to wrap up Group X play.
The good news for the Magic is Andrew Nicholson bounced back from his foul trouble against Venezuela. He had his best offensive outing of the tournament. He scored 29 points on 12-for-19 shooting and added four rebounds. He did turn the ball over six times and committed four fouls. The same things that have bugged Nicholson throughout the summer (and even his rookie year) seemed to have followed him. His offensive game continues to expand however.
Clearly, Nicholson leaves this tournament as a reliable scoring option for Canada as that program continues to build and grow. A World Cup bid would be vital for them to continue doing that -- particularly with Anthony Bennett, Kelly Olynyk and Andrew Wiggins joining the fold most likely.
Meanwhile in Slovenia, Turkey is all but eliminated from Eurobasket after an 84-61 loss to rival Greece.
The offense struggled mightily with Ersan Ilyasova scoring 16 points to lead the way for Turkey. The team though shot 42.9 percent from the floor, struggling to crack Greece's defense.
Hedo Turkoglu scored only two points and missed all nine of his shots. Worse yet, he had one assist to four turnovers. This is a sign, as much as any, that Turkoglu's days in the NBA are truly numbered. He is struggling now to do the thing he is supposedly good at -- dominating the ball and running a team.
Turkey's issues were always going to be the team's lack of a play initiator. That is the role Turkoglu seemed expected to help fill. Turkoglu is not filling it. And that has Turkey 0-3 and needing to defeat Sweden and Russia to have any chance of advancing. Turkey will also need a lot of help too.
Finland will also have to lose both of its games in order for Turkey to advance. The odds are slim that we will see much more of Turkoglu.