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Wiggins, Joseph, Thompson, Olynyk represent Canadian talent in NBA playoffs

TORONTO — A thrilling final day of the NBA regular season featured a battle between Canadians Andrew Wiggins and Jamal Murray for a spot in the post-season. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves went on to edge Denver in overtime in the regular-season finale, handing Wiggins his first playoff appearance, but robbing the post-season of one of Canada's brightest young stars in Murray.

Wiggins is one of four Canadians and a record-62 international players on post-season rosters. The others are veteran Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson, Indiana Pacers guard Cory Joseph, and Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk.

Australia and France lead the way with seven players apiece. Every team in the playoffs has at least one international player. The Toronto Raptors have six.

Here's a closer look at the Canadian foursome:

Andrew Wiggins

The enigmatic 23-year-old from Vaughan, Ont., once nicknamed Maple Jordan, is averaging 17.7 points a night, his lowest offensive output since his 2014-15 rookie season. The T'Wolves, with the No. 8 seed in the west, hope their former No. 1 draft pick can raise his game when they face the top-seeded Houston Rockets in the opening round.


Cory Joseph

The 26-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., is one of two Canadians — Thompson is the other — to have won an NBA title, when he was in San Antonio. Joseph played two seasons with Toronto but was traded to the Indiana Pacers last off-season. He's averaging 7.9 points and 3.2 assists off the bench. The fifth-seeded Pacers face a tough opening-round task against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.


Tristan Thompson

The 27-year-old from Brampton, Ont., has played for Cleveland all seven of his NBA seasons, helping the Cavs to an NBA championship in 2016. Thompson has played a career-low 53 games this season, and started in just 22. He's averaging 5.8 points and 6.6 rebounds a night. Thompson will face close friend Joseph and the Pacers in the opening round. 


Kelly Olynyk

The 26-year-old from Kamloops, B.C., played a big role in the Boston Celtics' playoff run to the conference final last season. He signed with the Heat in the off-season, and the seven-foot centre is averaging career highs for both points and rebounds — 11.5 and 5.7 — for the Heat. The Heat have an unenviable opponent in Philadelphia for the opening round. The surging 76ers finished the regular season on a 16-game winning streak.

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

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