USA Men’s National Team Caps Exhibition Slate With 101-71 Win Over Slovenia
Gran Canaria, Spain
• VIDEO: Anthony Davis Highlights
• VIDEO: Coach K Post-Game
• VIDEO: Phantom Cam
The final exhibition game for the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s National Team (4-0), which was a 101-71 win over Slovenia on Tuesday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Gran Canaria Arena in Gran Canaria, Spain, also was the team’s first as a 12-member unit, and the USA’s depth was on full display as 11 U.S. players scored, including six in double figures.
“Yes, it's a game of adjustments,” said USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University) on whether he was satisfied with the USA’s game. “We just got here (Sunday), and we played against a very good team in front of a great crowd. I thought overall our effort was good, we can do things better, but overall it was good.”
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans) led the way with 18 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots in 18:34 of action; while Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets) added 14 points and eight boards; Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers) finished with 13 points; Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings) and Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) tallied 11 points apiece; and Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) added 10 points.
Playing on his 25th birthday, James Harden (Houston Rockets) added nine points and a game-high four assists.
“We're definitely clicking at the right time,” said Davis. “We make sure that we talk on defense, we make sure that we always communicate no matter what it is. It could be a little thing as far as making a pass, we just want to make whatever we do, we do it together because we know its going to be tough.”
Nearly leading from start to finish, U.S. drew 32 fouls from Slovenia and won the rebounding battle 50-37, while its defense forced 21 turnovers.
“We're still very versatile with what we can throw out on the floor,” Curry said. “Having six bigs that can rotate at the four and the five gives us that presence. We're very deep, so we still have the opportunities to go small and play fast. But the way those guys can defend the paint, rebound, block shots and then turn that to easy offense by the way they run the floor, it's pretty hard to score on us and defend on the other end. Definitely a good look, we still got some jelling to do.”
In the first few minutes, the USA led 10-7 before putting together an 8-2 run to take a 18-9 advantage when Gay scored at 3:15. Back-to-back 3 pointers from Slovenia followed by a made free throw, however, cut the U.S. lead to two points 18-16 at 1:35. After a U.S. free throw and a score from Slovenia, Davis closed out the first quarter with five straight points to make it 24-18 at the first break.
That U.S. run extended through the first four minutes of the second quarter as the USA strung together 10 more unanswered points to push its lead to 34-18 at 6:03. The teams traded baskets for the next two minutes before the Americans made four straight free throws to take their largest lead of the first half, 18 points, at 2:17. Slovenia responded by outscoring the USA 10-3, including two 3-pointers to trail 46-35 at the half.
The Slovenia coach was whistled for a technical foul as he headed to the locker room, so the USA started the second half with free throws and possession of the ball. That helped the USA start the quarter with an 8-2 run, and after a score from Slovenia at 8:13 that made it 54-39, a 3-pointer from Curry ignited a 15-0 U.S. run that made the score 69-39 at 4:50 when Davis made a free throw. Overall the USA outscored Slovenia 33-19 in the stanza to put the game out of reach.
“I think at first we were rusty, missed a couple of free throws, but we were able to take control of the game,” Rose said. “Those free throws can easily be fixed so we're not worried about that. We know we just have to play hard and come out here and just play together.”
The only signs of struggle for the U.S. team were at the free throw line, where the USA shot just 63.0 percent (29-46 FTs). There were a few bright spots at the line, however, as Davis shot 8-of-11, Irving was 7-of-8 and Curry made both of his attempts.
Zoran Dragič led Slovenia with 16 points.
Rounding out Krzyzewski’s USA National Team staff as assistant coaches are Syracuse University and Naismith Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams.
The U.S. squad, which was named as the 2014 USA World Cup Team on Aug. 23, will travel on Aug. 27 to Bilbao, Spain, where it will conduct its last two training sessions before opening FIBA World Cup preliminary-round play. The USA debuts in the 2014 World Cup on Aug. 30 against Finland at 3:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN.
Since the first FIBA World Championship was held in 1950, the USA has won 11 medals – four gold medals, three silver medals and four bronze medals – while compiling an all time 114-27 win-loss record. Led By Krzyzewski, the Americans are defending World Champions having claim gold in Istanbul with a 9-0 record.
STATISTICAL NOTES: During its four exhibition games, which the USA won by an average of 29.0 points a game, the USA defense limited its opponents to 41.7 percent shooting from the field overall, and just 33.3 percent from 3-point…The U.S. shot 42 more fee throws than opponents, and made 34 more from the charity stripe…The Americans out rebounded their foes by 39 rebounds, 9.8 per game.
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