USA White Rides Second-Half Surge To 128-106 Win In 2013 USA Basketball Showcase
– All 24 Players Score In Game That Featured The Next Crop Of Young, USA Stars –
Thanks in part to a game-high 23 points and seven assists from Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), the USA White team outscored the USA Blue squad 75-55 in the second half to earn a 128-106 win on Thursday night in the 2013 USA Basketball Showcase at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev. Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), a 2012 U.S. Olympic gold medalist, paced the USA Blue team with 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting and seven rebounds.
The 2013 USA Basketball Showcase, played in front of a crowd of 9,513 fans and featuring 12-minute quarters and international rules, culminated three days of national team training camp for 28 players hoping to earn a future roster spot on the USA Basketball Men’s National Team.
“The guys were terrific all week. I think we made a good first good step in this four-year period,” said USA Basketball Men’s National Team head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University). “I think as good as Anthony (Davis) was last year, he’s stepped it up another couple levels and that was exciting to see. He got better throughout the week and put on a heck of a performance tonight.
“Kyrie (Irving) is one of the special players in the NBA. Both of these two guys (Irving and Davis) are exceptional talents and as talented as both of these guys are, they are so easy to coach and they’re really good guys. They had great games, it was fun to watch and they’ll be a big help to us,” added Krzyzewski.
USA Basketball chairman and USA Men’s National Team managing director Jerry Colangelo, echoed Krzyzewski’s comments about the mini-camp.
“We had a great camp, it was great to be back in town and we got a lot accomplished,” said Colangelo. “We got a chance to see a terrific bunch of young players vying to get a spot going forward with one of our rosters, so it was a great week.”
In addition to Irving, the victorious White squad’s effort was aided by Jrue Holiday’s (New Orleans Pelicans) 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists; Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies) added 11 points; Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons) recorded 11 points and six rebounds; Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets) added 11 points and seven boards; DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers) finished with 10 points and nine rebounds; and Paul George (Indiana Pacers) contributed 10 points and six boards. Additionally, Ty Lawson (Denver Nuggets) recorded seven points and a game-best nine assists.
“It was a great experience. I had fun. It was a fun three days. Competing at the highest level is what I love to do,” said Irving, the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year.
“We just had to pick up our intensity on both ends of the floor. I thought our team had too many turnovers in the first quarter; we had about 10. Going into the second quarter everybody kind of got settled in, got used to the basketball. Me personally I was just trying to have faith in myself and my teammates, and that’s what it’s about. Like I said, everybody got settled in. Nerves were a factor in the beginning. The Blue team got up 8-0 and we had a few too many turnovers, but we did a great job and picked it up on the defensive end first and the offense took care of itself.
“I think the camp went really well,” stated Davis, the No. 1 draft choice of the 2012 NBA Draft. “A lot of guys stood up and competed. Usually when you go to camps, not just USAB (camps), but guys really don’t compete and take it serious. And for guys to show up and actually compete the way we did to make each other better, to play together … Guys played hard, shared the ball.”
The USA Blue team received 18 points from Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), while Greg Monroe (Detroit Pistons) accounted for 10 points and six boards, and John Wall (Washington Wizards) scored 10 points.
The USA Blue team, coached by USA National Team assistant coach and Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, jumped out to an 8-0 lead at 9:14 before the White squad, which was led by USA assistant coach and New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams, responded.
With the White team whittling down the lead over the next four minutes, Lawson found Denver Nuggets teammate Faried for a dunk at 5:04 that brought the score to 18-17 in Blue’s favor. Blue again widened the lead after five-straight points from Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), and after trading baskets to end the first stanza, the USA Blue team led 30-25.
The White team put together a 21-5 offensive run in the second quarter that included six scorers overall and eight points from Irving to not only gave White its first lead, but a 48-40 advantage at 4:48.
With 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic gold medalists and NBA super-stars Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul watching courtside, the Blue countered with a 7-0 run to cut the White’s lead to just two points, 53-51 at the midway point.
Ten of the game’s 11 lead changes occurred in the third period as neither team created much breathing room.
While the White saw seven players combine to score 18 points over the first 8:33, Davis alone tallied eight points and Monroe scored seven to help USA Blue keep pace, and the score was tied at 71-all at 4:27.
Four 3-pointers, including two apiece from Ryan Anderson (New Orleans Pelicans) and Conley, helped USA White outscore USA Blue 18-8 over the last 4:18 of third, and the White squad built a 10-point, 89-79 lead headed into the final stanza.
Twenty-five bench points for USA White in the fourth quarter were too much for USA Blue to overcome, despite getting 10 points from Wall, and the White team reached its largest lead of the game – 22 points – when Conley sank a 3-pointer at 12.6 seconds left to bring the game to its 128-106 final.
“We are going to start over and build a new (national team) pool,” remarked Colangelo on plans for the 2014-16 USA National Team. “There will be carry-overs. There will be new names added, but that won’t be done until after the first of the year, sometime in January is what we talked about. Bear in mind that there will be 25-28 names, something like that; and we’ve always said it’s fluid, that during the course of our quad they’ll be additions and deletions because circumstances happen; someone might get hurt; you never know what could take place.
For the 2013-16 quad, the USA Men’s National Team will compete in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup (formerly the FIBA World Championship) Aug. 30-Sept. 14 in Spain, and if necessary, the 2015 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD); and if the USA qualifies, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games (Aug. 5-21) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Since Colangelo and Krzyzewski teamed up in 2006, USA National Teams have compiled a spectacular 62-1 record over the seven years, claimed top honors in four of five FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions, and just as importantly reestablished the USA National Team and its members as positive ambassadors for the United States and the sport.