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‘Caring’ Canada set new Basketball World Cup assists record

Melvin Ejim (centre) of Canada shoots over Lebanon's Ali Haidar. Photo: Adek Berry / AFP

Canada head coach Jordi Fernandez said “sharing is caring” after his team set a new Basketball World Cup single-game record of 44 assists in a blowout win over Lebanon on Sunday.

The Canadians thrashed their opponents 128-73 to underline their title credentials after opening their campaign with a statement win over France.

All 11 Canada players who saw game time against Lebanon registered at least one assist, and the team’s total of 44 was the highest in one World Cup game since the data was first officially recorded in 1994.

That beat the previous best of 37 held jointly by Canada and Serbia, and Fernandez said he was proud of his players’ unselfish attitude.

“It just shows that sharing is caring and these guys were ready to play the right way, play with a pass,” said the Spaniard.

“In games like this, teams have the tendency for players to do it on their own and try to dribble too much.”

Trae Bell-Haynes led the way with eight assists, followed by Nickeil Alexander-Walker on seven and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kelly Olynyk and Phil Scrubb on five each.

RJ Barrett led the team in scoring with 17 points — one of nine players to hit double figures.

Canada laid down a marker with their opening 95-65 win over France and Bell-Haynes said he was “super-excited that we kept our momentum” against Lebanon.

“We talked about making sure that there wasn’t any fall-off, and I think we did a good job,” he said.

“Guys’ confidence is high and you could see that everyone was playing well, playing free.”

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