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USA Men Wear Out Turkey, Earn Impressive 114-82 Victory

  • Date:
    Jul 31, 2008

• Box Score

LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets) combined for 37 points on 13-of-15 shooting as the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team (2-0) hounded Turkey for a 114-82 victory Thursday evening in the opening game of the USA Basketball International Challenge in Macao, China.

It was an impressive performance by James, who was selected Player of the Game. After missing the USA’s opening game on July 25 while shaking off a mild sprained ankle, James was back at full speed and scored 20 points and made 8-of-9 shots, including his only 3-pointer, and 3-of-4 free throws, while adding six rebounds, five steals and four assists in 22:31 of action.

Anthony likewise was impressive. Hitting for 17 points, Anthony made 5of-6 shots, 2-of-3 3-pointers, 5-of-5 free throws, while collecting two assists and one steal in 17:14 of play.

"It was good having LeBron back. Having him back I have to as the head coach get accustomed to rotations which we tried a bunch of things today that we didn’t do against Canada. The willingness to give up the ball and share it and the enthusiasm is all there so it was a good opening exhibition in China,” said USA and Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“This type of competition really helps us because Turkey runs very good continuity and for us to have different line-ups trying to defend that that was really good for us.”

The USA jumped out to 5-0 and 22-15 leads, but Turkey assembled a 12-2 run that was capped by a 3-pointer from Ender Arslan that propelled Turkey to a 27-24 lead with 1:42 to play in the first quarter. Dwyane Wade’s (Miami Heat) back-to-back layups earned the U.S. a 28-26 advantage and the quarter ended with the Americans owning a 31-30 lead.

The USA’s full-throttle offense and relentless defense began to pay dividends as the Americans outscored Turkey 23-7 in the second period.

With a 35-34 lead in hand early in the second quarter, the USA got baskets from Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic), Wade, James and Kobe Bryant during an 8-0 spurt that pushed the U.S. lead to 43-34 with 6:42 to play in the second stanza. Ahead 43-37, the U.S. locked up the game with an 11-0 run to close the half up 54-37.  

At the intermission, the USA had forced Turkey into 13 turnovers while making 10 steals. The USA shot a sizzling 63.6% in the first two quarters, and harassed Turkey into 48.1% shooting.

Turkey continued to struggle with the USA’s athleticism and depth. The Americans outscored Turkey 33-22 in the third period to expand its lead to 87-59 and cruised in from there for the 114-82 win.

“Speed and quickness are our best assets and we have to go with that. Someone else is going to try and use bulk and try and punish us on the boards and it’s just, ‘Can we do ours better than they do theirs?’ and that will be the story of the Games,” Krzyzewski said on his team’s style of play that saw the U.S. outscore Turkey 27-10 in fastbreak points.

“I think we’ve realized that we’re not going to blow a team out in the first quarter and just continue to play solid defensively and try and wear a team down. What we are coming off the bench with are Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and etcetera. We have guys who can come in and wear a team down. Once we realize it’s not going to happen in the first quarter, but towards the middle of the second quarter and then towards the end of the third quarter where we can break the game open and that’s what we did. We allowed them to get into a little comfort zone because we tried to blow them out too fast. Our pressure will automatically put pressure on other teams. we did a great job in that second quarter in bumping that lead up.”

Eleven of the USA’s 12 players scored and finishing in double figures in addition to James and Anthony was Dwight Howard, 14points and a game high eight rebounds, Chris Bosh added 13 points as did Dwyane Wade, while Chris Paul finished with 12 points and six assists. Kobe Bryant had another outstanding all-around performance, finishing with seven points, seven assists, five steals and a pair of boards.

Impressively, of the USA’s 41 made shots, 29 were assisted.

Turkey was led by Cenk Akyol’s 22 points. Orlando Magic standout Hidayet Turkoglu did not see action because of a leg injury.

Serving as 2008 USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team assistant coaches are Syracuse University and Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, New York Knicks head mentor Mike D’Antoni and Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.      

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