Game Preview: USA-Turkey
USA vs. Turkey
3:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN
Fresh from its convincing opening day 114-55 victory over Finland, the USA continues 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup preliminary round play facing 1-0 Turkey on Sunday in a game being broadcast live at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN.
The USA and Turkey have met one prior time in World Cup play and it was in the 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medal game that the USA won 81-64 (Box score). Behind Kevin Durant’s 28 points, 15 more from Lamar Odom and 13 points from Russell Westbrook, the USA led 42-32 at half and rolled on for the win.
In yesterday’s win over Finland, while scoring 114 points and shooting a red-hot 58.9 percent from the field for the game, it was the USA’s defense that raised eyebrows.
The USA forced Finland into 31 turnovers, limited their shooting to 27.7 percent from the field and frigid 19.0 percent (4-21 3pt FGs) from 3-point. The Americans outscored Finland 29-to-2 in the second quarter and harassed the Finns into 0-for-17 shooting in the second quarter as their two points came from the free throw line.
Leading the USA charge offensively was Klay Thompson with 18 points on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point. Anthony Davis added 17 points in only 14 minutes, while Derrick Rose tossed in 12 points and Rudy Gay added 10. DeMarcus Cousins narrowly missed a double-double and finished with nine points and a game best 10 rebounds (USA-Finland box score).
In other Group C action in Bilbao, Spain, on Saturday, Turkey rallied in the fourth quarter’s final four minutes to defeat New Zealand 76-73 in its preliminary round opener. Seven-foot center Oguz Savas led Turkey with 16 points, forward Emir Preldzic added 14 points and six rebounds, while 6-foot-10 forward Baris Hersek tallied 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting from the field. Turkey turned the ball over just 14 times and forced New Zealand into 18 turnovers.
“I did watch the game (Saturday’s win over New Zealand) and I’ve always been impressed with Turkey, they play great basketball,” said USA coach Mike Krzyzewski, who now owns 25-3 in FIBA World Cup games. “We had a great game against them in ‘10 in Istanbul. I think they are well coached, (today) they didn’t seem to hit shots and then all of sudden they showed great heart. I mean to come back from 11 points down with four minutes to go and win that takes a lot.
“Hopefully, we’ll be ready for them, we certainly respect them and they have some really good players. (Amer) Asik didn’t play as much this afternoon but we expect him to play a little bit more tomorrow.”
In the other Group C opening day action, Ukraine outscored the Dominican Republic 45-35 over the third and fourth quarters to capture the 72-62 win.
Since the first World Championship in 1950, the USA has won 11 medals – four gold medals, three silver medals and four bronze medals – while compiling an all-time 115-27 win-loss record.
Just the Facts: Turkey
FIBA World Ranking: #7
How Turkey Qualified: FIBA Wild Card Selection
2013 FIBA Europe Finish: Tie 17th (1-4)
World Cup Appearances: 3
World Cup Overall Record: 18-8 (.692%)
World Cup Finishes: 2nd (2010); 6th (2006); 9th (2002)
World Cup Record vs. USA: 0-1 (64-81, 2010)
Last Senior Team Meeting vs. USA: 2010 WC (64-81)
2012 Olympic Finish: DNP
2013 Head Coach: Bogdan Tanjevic
2013 Key Players In FIBA Europe Championship: Kerem Gonlüm (12.4 ppg., 6.4 rpg.), Ersan Ilyasova (12.2 ppg., 5.0 rpg.), Ender Arslan (11.6 ppg., 3.6 apg.), Emir Preldzic (8.8 ppg., 3.8 rpg., 3.8 apg.).
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