Canadians round into form


Like Team USA, the Canadian national basketball team is tuning up for the FIBA Americas Championship, which begins Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Canada started 2-0 at the Tuto Marchand Cup tournament in Puerto Rico despite being without two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash, who has declined to represent his country.

The squad is led by former Hawaii star Carl English and the Philadelphia 76ers' Samuel Dalembert. English scored 30 points in an 84-78 victory over Argentina, and Dalembert had 13 points and 13 rebounds in a 65-63 win over Puerto Rico.

The Canadians played Brazil in their final game Saturday and are expected to arrive in Las Vegas today.

Argentina, missing many of its NBA players, was 1-1 going into Saturday's game with Puerto Rico. Brazil, still piecing together its FIBA Americas roster, also is 1-1.

But the Brazilians got a big boost in the form of 6-foot-11-inch center Nene, who was cleared to play after the Denver Nuggets paid for his insurance. Brazil is awaiting medical insurance clearance for Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao and Utah Jazz center Rafael Araujo.

Mexico is playing a number of club teams at home to prepare for the FIBA Americas.

Team Mexico, which is coached by Nolan Richardson and includes former UNLV forward Romel Beck, had won seven in a row going into Saturday's game against Argentina's Boca Juniors. The two teams will play again today, with the Mexican squad set to arrive in Las Vegas on Monday.

Uruguay has also been tuning up in Mexico for the FIBA event, playing several club teams. The Uruguayans were 1-1 on their four-game tour.

• CHANDLER HEADACHE -- Center Tyson Chandler got smacked in the head Saturday during the U.S. national team's scrimmage against the NBA Select squad at Valley High School and sat out the rest of the day's activities as a precaution.

Chandler had a headache but no concussion. He is expected to practice Monday. The team is off today and will work out at both Valley and the Thomas & Mack Center on Monday.

• GOING TO SCHOOL -- Members of Team USA will visit the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy on Monday.

The team originally was to practice at Agassi Prep but shifted to Valley High because it needed more room.

• KRUGER SIGHTING -- UNLV coach Lon Kruger, still on the mend following open-heart surgery two weeks ago, attended the first part of Saturday's practice.

• ON TV -- ESPN Classic (Cable 322) will televise the semifinals of the FIBA Americas Championship live on Sept. 1 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and the Sept. 2 finals will be televised live at 4 p.m. on Fox Sports Net (Cable 49). NBA TV (Cable 318) will televise 40 games from the tournament.

 

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