USA Dominates In Exhibition Win Over Dominican Republic
New York, New York
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• VIDEO: Andre Drummond Alley-Oop
It wasn’t much of a contest for the USA Men's National Team in an exhibition against the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden Wednesday, but more of an opportunity for coach Mike Krzyzewski to toy with his lineup.
With the need to trim the roster for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup from 16 to 12 in the next few days, a different combination of players saw the majority of the action as the U.S. drubbed the island nation, 105-62, in the FIBA World Cup tune-up. DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay were the high scorers for the national team with 13 points each, with USA having a total of six players who scored in double digits.
Kyrie Irving, who started in place of Derrick Rose, was perfect for the night going five-for-five with 12 points.
“We wanted to set a standard tonight and follow our absolutes that we’ve been having throughout the week,” said Irving. “I feel like we’ve had a lot of great days and just wanted to come out here and execute on both ends of the floor and I think we did that tonight.”
Rose didn't play as he rested his knees — something that disappointed the New York crowd as they chanted his name at first wistfully and then more emphatically as the game progressed.
Krzyzewski emphasized that Rose's absence was more about taking a look at other players in game play and is not injury based.
“We told a few guys that they just weren’t going to play tonight so we could get extended minutes and that worked out,” said Krzyzewski. “We’re still evaluating the team.”
Blossoming leader James Harden also made an impact by coming out aggressive and netting 12 points in only 15:45 playing time.
“From the beginning I thought we played extremely well,” said Harden. “Well means we played hard. It doesn’t mean we’ll make every shot, but the pressure can be there every single time. The guys did a great job these past two games.”
Andre Drummond had the most worthy of the highlight reel play of the night with a one-handed jam off a feed by DeMar DeRozan. Drummond made his best case for a roster spot on the floor Wednesday, scoring 12 points and ripping down five rebounds.
Big man Anthony Davis, who was so dominate against Brazil with 20 points, had a quieter night with seven points in limited playing time but still solidified himself as one of the team's best players while quietly deflecting praise.
"I am just trying to do what Coach K, the staff and USA basketball wants," said Davis. "I feel a lot more comfortable than I did two years ago."
High scorers for the Dominican Republic were James Feldeine and Houston Rockets forward Francisco Garcia with 14 each. Garcia also gave a little extra trash talk to the U.S. bench as the score differential grew desperate, but was quickly quieted.
The Dominican team was without Atlanta Hawks’ center Al Horford who is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle.
And while this was technically a USA team send-off, there was also a very loud and proud Dominican Republic contingent present, creating atmosphere in the MSG stands with every bucket despite the lopsided score.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was also present to take in the action and addressed the media alongside the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, before the friendly.