Dillon Brooks and Canada approach every match as if it’s Game 7 in NBA

2023-08-25T20:16:47+00:00 2023-09-11T15:58:43+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

25/Aug/23 20:16


After hearing MVP chants for the first time in his career and helping Canada blow away France, Dillon Brooks talked about how he and his teammates approach the World Cup to win the gold medal.

By Antonis Stroggylakis / astroggylakis@eurohoops.net

Jakarta, Indonesia – Canada swingman Dillon Brooks revealed the kind of mentality that he and his teammates carry into the 2023 World Cup in order to reach success when all will be said and done.

“We actually look every single game as if it’s Game 7 in the NBA,” Brooks told reporters after the impresive blowout win of his team against gold medal contender France in the World Cup opener. The Houston Rockets‘ wing was pivotal beyond his numbers (12 points, four rebounds) thanks to his high-octane, physical defense and overall energetic play.

“France is a good team but we knew that we just had to come out hard,” Brooks added. “Play hard and we just have to… you know… play a physical game.”

Among Brooks’ defensive feats was helping contain Evan Fournier, the most dangerous scorer of the French national team, after the break. After having 18 points at halftime, Fournier finished the game with 21 on 8-19 shots.

“We got our ass kicked,” Fournier candidly commented in the post-game press conference.

What Brooks and his teammates achieved in the World Cup premiere was overall a major stunner. Not when it comes to the outcome itself but as to the proportions of the victory since the Canadian side won by a whooping 30.

The result ended an outrageous 37-year drought for Canada against European national teams in World Cup Group phase. It was 1986 when the Canadian team last beat an opponent from Europe, a win over the Netherlands.

Canada veteran center Kelly Olynyk was so surprised when I told him that he decided to throw me a compliment.

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“That’s a long time,’ Olynyk said. “You weren’t even born then.” The Utah Jazz big man finished with 18 points, being the second-leading scorer of the team behind a Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and his star performance of 27 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.

Olynyk openly admitted that the win over France is a kind of statement of the team’s gold-medal ambitions and capacity, considering that Les Bleus enter the tournament as contenders to win it all,

“Yeah. that’s [the gold] the plan,” Olynyk mentioned. “That’s always been the plan. But we’re taking it one game at a time. We won this game. Now, we’re looking forward to the next one.”

The game vs. France didn’t begin well for Canada that trailed 18 – 14 at the end of the first period. Canada began turning its engines on to close halftime 43 – 40.

It was just the warmup. Canada became fully unleashed in the third quarter, spitting fire to dominate 25 – 8 and turn what was supposed to be a thrilling clash between two World Cup powerhouses into a display of strength by one.

“Once people started setting into the game, shots started to fall, we began sharing the basketball and our defense was leading to offense,” Brooks explained on Canada’s triumph.

“There’s always point differential so we have to not approach the games lightly,” Brooks added. “Keep building and keep growing as a team.”

Near the end of the game and while he was shooting free throws, Brooks heard MVP chants by fans in the Indonesia arena who were generally seemed to be really pro-Canada during the game.

Jakarta fans fell in love with Brooks and he reciprocated the feelings.

“That was the first time ever in my career that this happened,” Brooks said. “I got my love for Jakarta, my love for Indonesia. I’ll keep playing hard for the fans out there.”