Recap: Team USA Dominates Again Against Slovenia
Team USA and the Green Team continues to cruise along in Turkey at the FIBA World Championships after an impressive 99-77 victory over Goran Dragic and Slovenia. Coach K’s squad overcame an extremely sloppy first half where at one point they turned the ball over 12 times in 21 possessions. Team USA finished with 17 turnovers overall for the game after having only 7 total in yesterday’s game against Croatia. While taking care of the ball is clearly important for the team, they once again showed that their athleticism is just too much for other teams to deal with. The second half was never close and Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love all had big games tonight to lead the red, white and blue to the 22 point victory. Team USA continues their quest to bring home the FIBA Championship for the first time since 1994 tomorrow against Brazil at 12:30 EDT and then Wednesday against Axis of Evil member, Iran. Both games will be televised on ESPN.
My further thoughts and observations after the jump:
- My favorite thing about watching Team USA during these games is that there isn’t one player that I just flat out don’t like. Nobody that I have to pretend to cheer for despite the fact that I am secretly wishing they miss every dunk and tear their ACL. I would like to personally thank Rajon Rondo for being kicked off leaving the team.
- Piggy backing on that point, I just want to publicly proclaim that I have a giant man crush on Kevin Durant. There, I said it. There isn’t a player on an NBA team (not located in Orlando and not named Jermaine Taylor) that I enjoy rooting for as much as KD. Not only is he a great scorer, but he now is doing all of the little things at elite levels … passing, defending and above all, he is just an absolutely terrific teammate. I know it’s been said 100 times, but in the Summer of Self Absorption, this can’t be praised enough.
- I can’t help but notice the total joke of a performance that these FIBA Officials are putting on. While Team USA continuously gets called for traveling for simply pump faking and getting their man in the air, I see the guys from Croatia and Slovenia doing the Cupid Shuffle out there and hear no whistle. Does. Not. Make. Sense.
- Andre Iguodala is starting to get some of his confidence back but is still struggling with his outside shooting. Luckily, his ability to play strong defense and throw down monstrous dunks is all we need from him. And he is doing that extremely well.
- I’m finding it difficult to comprehend why the worldwide leader in sports is incapable of getting the play clock onto its on-screen graphics. I understand that they are picking the feed up from another broadcaster, but they’ve somehow been able to get the clock on towards the end of both games. Figure out the work around and stop making me guess if there is 3 minutes left or 9. Thanks.
- Fran Fraschilla, the ESPN color commentator for the FIBA games, is going to struggle as these games go forward. A person can only recycle the same points so many times before insanity sets in. We get it. You love international players, you think every level of basketball should have the 24 second shot clock and you think Colangelo and Coach K have done an outstanding job at keeping continuity. On to the next one. Please.
- I started pondering during the game if casual international basketball fans ever make dumb statements about basketball like Americans do with soccer. Do you think Brazilians ever proclaim that they would have the most dominant basketball team in the world if Kaka and Ronaldinho grew up shooting threes rather than striking shots on goal? Probably not.
- Kevin Love was a beast again for Team USA backing up Lamar Odom. He finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds against Slovenia and his ability to pull down offensive rebounds has clearly supplanted him as the backup center on the team behind Lamar Odom. Not to mention his outlet passes are purely pristine. The mere site of his arms lifting over his head as Derrick Rose steaks over midcourt can make grown men swoon. Too much?
- No, this is too much. I was waiting the entire game to see a Gay-Love hookup. Never happened. The closest we got to them connecting was Love pulling down a rebound after a Rudy Gay missed three and then putting it back up for the and-1. If a man can’t watch a professional basketball game and openly wish for a Gay-Love hookup then I think the terrorists may be winning. #immaturity
That is all. Tune into ESPN tomorrow at 2:30 as Team USA takes on Brazil.
You can view the box score for today’s game here.