Coming into the 2013 FIBA Americas tournament, the Canadian National team looked far from a dominant force as they had just lost four consecutive games in exhibition play in the Tuto Marchand Cup the week before the Americas tournament began.
Fast-forward to the end of Phase 1 of the Americas tournament and the Canadian National team has shown they are a force to be reckoned with, specifically their defense; and one player who has taken a strong leadership role is San Antonio Spurs guard Cory Joseph.
Late Tuesday evening, Canada defeated Uruguay in blow out fashion 93 to 67. Though he wasn't the leading scorer in the game, Joseph was the aggressor from the tip as he scored 10 points in the first quarter for Canada. Joseph would finish with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, and 4 turnovers. One reason for Joseph's increased scoring in the Americas tournament has been his decision to attempt more 3-pointers. He connected on 3-of-4 three pointers Tuesday.
With the win, the Canadian National team will finish in second place in Group A with a 3-1 record (7 points). The only team better than them in Phase 1 was the team that defeated them, Puerto Rico (4-0 for 8 points). Of the 10 teams that participated in Phase 1, Brazil and Paraguay will be going home as they both went 0-4.
Canada will have one day of rest before beginning Phase 2 against Mexico on Thursday. From there, they will play Venezuela on Friday, the Dominican Republic on Saturday, and conclude Phase 2 with a game against Argentina on Sunday.
The points that each team accumulated in Phase 1 will continue into Phase 2. The goal for Canada will be to finish as one of the top 4-of-8 teams by the end of Sunday in order to advance to the Semi-Finals.
After Phase 1, Canada is showing they are one of the top teams in play. They finished tied for the second best offense (84 points per game) and finished as the top defensive team (69 points per game) in Phase 1.