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Team USA Survives Test from Turkey
After stomping Finland in their first match by 59 points, the United States received a much needed challenge from Turkey, who finished 2nd to the Americans in this tournament four years ago. Tied after the first quarter, Turkey capitalized on a disjointed American offense to take a 5-point lead at the half. Turkey’s only NBA player, Omer Asik (who was Dwight Howard’s partner in the Rocket’s frontcourt before being dealt to New Orleans in the offseason) gave the Americans plenty of trouble on defense. He blocked 3 shots and grabbed 8 rebounds to go along with his 6 points.
Team USA didn’t grab the lead until the 3rd quarter, and led by just 6 going into the 4th. But they finally overpowered Turkey, outscoring them 32-17 in the 4th to give them a 21-point win. The Americans were led by the energy of Kenneth Faried, who scored 22 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and played great defense (3 steals, 2 blocks). Anthony Davis was also crucial for the US in the second half, where he scored all 19 of his points. He also had 2 blocks and 2 steals. James Harden added 14 points and 7 assists, while Kyrie Irving had 13 points and 5 assists. USA will have the day off with the rest of Group C tomorrow before resuming group play on Tuesday versus New Zealand.
France rebounded from yesterday’s two point loss to Brazil by edging Serbia for a one point victory in a crucial win for France’s hopes of getting out of Group A. France trailed by eight at halftime, but rallied in the second half and won the game courtesy of a free throw from Joffrey Lauvergne, who plays professionally in Russia, in the closing seconds. Boris Diaw, the 6-10 Frenchmen who plays center for the Spurs, showed off his passing and ball-handling skills, playing the point for several successful second half possessions. He scored only 4 points but had 5 assists and 5 rebounds. Lauvergne led the way for France with 19 points, and Antoine Diot, who plays in the French league for Strasbourg IG, scored 15. Serbia was led in scoring by former Milwaukee Buck, Miroslav Raduljica, who scored 21 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.
Brazil built on their victory over France with a comfortable 29-point victory over Iran. Alex Garcia led Brazil with 12 points. Brazil trailed Iran by a point after the first quarter, but outscored Iran 23-8 in the 2nd to gain control of the contest. New Golden State Warrior acquisition Leandro Barbosa also added 11 points for Brazil, while Spurs’ center Tiago Splitter had 10 points and 6 rebounds
Spain cruised to victory against Egypt, as they aim for a chance to knock off USA in the finals. Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka made his presence felt, with 18 points and 8 rebounds, along with some thunderous dunks along the way. Real Madrid guard Rudy Ferdandez scored 18 points, while new Chicago Bull Pau Gasol added 12.
Here’s a look at the Group A standings with 2 out of 5 group play matches played:
Group A continues tomorrow with
Iran v. Serbia
France v. Egypt
Spain v. Brazil
After battling through the individual performance of Andray Blatche yesterday, the Croatians once again found victory despite big production from an opposing big-man. Pacers’ forward Luis Scola put up 30 points and 9 rebounds, but his Argentine side couldn’t close a 12-point deficit in the 4th quarter to win a second straight game at the World Cup. New Brooklyn Nets signee Bojan Bogdanovic had 16 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists for Croatia. While youngster Dario Daric, whose draft rights were obtained by Orlando in June, had 16 points and 9 rebounds.
Puerto Rico: 75
Senegal rebounded from yesterday’s loss to Greece with victory over Puerto Rico, who now falls to 0-2 in group play. T-Wolves’ center Gorgui Dieng was impressive inside, with 18 points and 13 rebounds for Senegal. Former Georgia Tech player Mouhammad Faye led Senegal in scoring with 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting while hitting 4 three-pointers. Knicks’ center Renaldo Balkman led Puerto Rico with 21 points and 7 rebounds, while J.J. Barea added 15 points, 5 boards, and 4 assists.
Greece rode a strong first quarter to their second straight victory while the Philippines lost again despite a 2nd straight double-double from former Nets’ center Andray Blatche. He had 21 points and 14 rebounds but it wasn’t enough to catch the Greeks. Georgios Printezis, two-time Euroleague champion with Greek club Olympiacos, had a huge game; 25 points, and 8 rebounds for Greece, who move to 2-0 in group play.
Here are the Group B standings after 2 games:
Group B continues tomorrow with:
Croatia v. Senegal
Argentina v. Philippines
Puerto Rico v. Greece
Dominican Republic: 76
New Zealand: 63
After falling to the Ukraine yesterday, the Dominican Republic got their first win of tournament with 13 point victory over New Zealand. Houston Rockets’ Francisco Garcia led the way for the DR, with 29 points and 6 rebounds. For New Zealand, they were led by Thomas Abercrombie, who had 22 points and 4 rebounds.
Finland trailed at halftime, but used a 3rd quarter rally to get the win after getting routed by 59 to the United States in yesterday’s opener. Finland was led by Shawn Huff, who had 23 points and 8 rebounds. Ukraine lost despite solid play from naturalized American, Pooh Jeter, who had 24 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds.
United States: 98
Here are the current Group C standings:
Group C play resumes Tuesday with:
Ukraine v. Turkey
USA v. New Zealand
Finland v. Dominican Republic
South Korea: 55
Australia rebounded from their 10-point loss to Slovenia yesterday by dominating in a 44-point blowout of South Korea. Joe Ingles led the way for the Aussies with 17 points, and Free Agent Aron Baynes (who played last season for the Spurs) had 13 points to go with 10 rebounds. Cavaliers’ point guard Matthew Dellavedova has 8 assists and 7 points.
Slovenia grabbed their second win in as many attempts as they cruised by Mexico. Suns’ guard Goran Dragic had 18 points and 6 assists, but his brother Zoran led Slovenia with 22 points. Mexico’s Gustavo Ayon, a Free Agent being pursued by several NBA teams scored 23 for Mexico, but got little offense from his teammates.
Lithuanian center Jonas Valenciunas, who plays for the Toronto Raptors, had 11 points and 13 rebounds as his team improved to 2-0 at the World Cup. They also got 12 points out of Nuggets’ player, Donatas Motiejunas. Angola was unable to carry over the momentum from their win over South Korea, despite 14 points and 9 rebounds from Eduardo Mingas.
Here are the Group D standings after 2 games played:
After a day off, Group D resumes Tuesday with:
Angola v. Mexico
Australia v. Lithuania
South Korea v. Slovenia