Game Preview: USA vs. Puerto Rico
USA vs. Puerto Rico
Madison Square Garden
New York, NY
7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Earning a dominating 105-62 win over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, the USA Men’s National Team improved its exhibition record to 2-0 and set the stage for what is expected to be a healthy challenge Friday night from a strong Puerto Rico team.
In its two games to date, the Americans defeated Brazil by 17 points (95-78) and the Dominican Republic by 43. The USA offense, which is averaging 100 points a game and making 53.9 percent of its shots overall, is led by Stephen Curry (15.0 ppg.) and Anthony Davis (12.5 ppg.).
Defensively the Americans have shined. Limiting opponents to 70.0 points a game, opposing teams are shooting just 41.7 percent from the floor and a frigid 27.5 percent from 3-point. The USA has also been strong on the glass and in the two games has outrebounded its opponents by an average of 12 rebounds a game.
Tonight’s exhibition game between the United States and Puerto Rico at the iconic Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. EDT) will provide the Americans with a challenge. Who can forget the shocking 92-73 whipping Puerto Rico handed the U.S. in the opening game of the 2004 Olympics? That monumental upset came just 15 days after the USA had pounded the Puerto Rico squad by 25 points (96-71) in an exhibition game in Jacksonville, Florida.
Now a week out from the start of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, both teams view this game as a great opportunity to gain some high level experience. Puerto Rico will play in Group B at the World Cup and is joined in the preliminary round grouping by Argentina, Croatia, Greece, Philippines and Senegal.
Look for Puerto Rico to be paced by current NBA guard Jose Juan Barea (Minnesota Timberwolves), longtime NBA veteran Carlos Arroyo and another former NBA player in Daniel Santiago.
The U.S. still faces the task of figuring out its 12-man roster and while this game will play an important part in the decision process, the USA knows it will get Puerto Rico’s best shot in this exhibition.
The game is being broadcast live by ESPN2.
Just The Facts: Puerto Rico
FIBA World Ranking: #17
How Puerto Rico Qualified: FIBA Americas silver medalist (7-3)
World Cup Appearances: 12
World Cup Overall Record: 37-51 (.420%)
World Cup Finishes: 4th (1990); 5th (1959); 6th (1963, 1994); 7th (1974, 2002); 10th (1978); 11th (1998), 12th (1967); 15th (1986); 17th (2006); 18th (2010)
World Cup Record vs. USA: 1-8 (100-111, 2006; 74-84, 2002; 83-134, 1994; *105-107, 1990; 81-79, 1990; 72-73, 1986; 76-94, 1974; 64-88, 1963; 53-54, 1959)
Last Senior Team Meeting vs. USA: 2007 TOA (91-135)
2013 Head Coach: Francisco Olmos
2013 Key Players In FIBA Americas Championship: Renaldo Balkman (18.7 ppg., 8.9 rpg.), Carlos Arroyo (15.8 ppg., 2.8 rpg., 4.1 apg.), Jose Barea (15.5 ppg., 3.8 rpg., 4.2 apg.).
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