U.S. Men Ready For Clash Against Serbia
The last time the USA and No. 6 ranked world power Serbia clashed on the basketball court was two years ago in Madrid, Spain, in the gold medal game of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The USA, behind 26 points (10-13 FGs, 6-6 3pt FGs) from World Cup MVP Kyrie Irving and 23 points (8-11 FGs) from James Harden, captured a second-consecutive FIBA World Cup gold medal after rolling to a blistering 129-92 win over the Serbs. Irving shot a USA World Cup record 6-of-6 from 3-point, and the USA as a whole finished the game shooting 45-of-78 from the field (.577), and 15-of-30 from 3-point (.500). Eight U.S. players reached double-figure scoring, including Klay Thompson, 12 points, DeMarcus Cousins, 11 points and nine rebounds and DeMar DeRozan with 10.
“Serbia is one of the top international teams,” said USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We played them in the World Cup two years ago for the championship. They’re unbelievably well coached; they’ve been together; in (Milos) Teodosic you have one of the great guards in the last decade in Europe; in (Bogdan) Bogdanovic they have one of the great shooters; and (Miroslav) Raduljica is one of the best big men. Then they are tall and deep and they’ll be huge challenge for us and we respect the heck out of them."
Serbia earned its berth into the 2016 Summer Games after capturing the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia.
While Serbia & Montenegro appeared in the Olympics in 2004 and finished 11th, 2016 marks the first Olympic Games for Serbia as an independent country after breaking-up from Montenegro in 2006.
Serbia enters the game against the United States with a 1-2 record, having pounded Venezuela 86-62 in the opener, and falling short against Australia (95-80 ) and most recently versus France (76-75).
Over the course of its first three games in Rio, Serbia is averaging 80.3 points a game.
Serb 7-foot-0 center Miroslav Raduljica currently leads his squad averaging 19.7 points a game. Six-foot-6 Bogdan Bogdanovic, whose draft rights are owned by the Sacramento Kings, is scoring 13.7 points per game, and averaged 17.8 points 5.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists to lead Serbia to the title at the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Milos Teodosic ranks third in scoring at 10.7 points, and is tops in assists dishing out 4.6 a contest. Forward Nikola Jokic, who plays for the Denver Nuggets, was named MVP of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament after posting averages of 17.8 points and 7.5 rebounds in Serbia’s four games.
The U.S., which is averaging 110.0 points a game, has won its first three Olympic games by 37.0 points a game, and owns a +13.3 rebounds a game advantage. The 37.0 marigin of victory ranks as the second highest among the seven Olympic teams that featued NBA players. The 1992 Dream Team won its eight game by a margin of 43.8 points a game.
Defensively, the U.S. has limited opponents to 40.3 percent shooting from the field, 30.4 percent from 3-point, while forcing foes into 19.7 turnovers a game.
Two-time Olympian Kevin Durant, 18.3 points per game, and four-time Olympian Carmelo Anthony, 18.0 points a game, pace the USA offensive effort, while Paul George, 13.3 points per game, and Kyrie Irving, 12.7 points per game, round out the USA's double-digit scorers.
DeAndre Jordan leads the American effort on the glass grabbing 6.7 boards, whil Anthony and DeMarcus Cousins are aiding the cause adding 6.0 rebounds per game each. Kyle Lowry, 5.3 assists, Irving, 4.3 assists and Durant 4.0 head the list of USA's assist leaders.
Game time for the USA-Serbia game is 6 p.m. EDT. Catch the game LIVE on NBC TV or streaming online at NBCOlympics.com.