The United States is in the semifinals at the 2010 FIBA World Championships. Team USA beat Russia to make the 2010 FIBA World Championships final four, and are now part of the medal rounds at the tournament. This also puts them just two wins from leaving Turkey with the Gold Medal to their credit, and they advanced on Thursday with some great team play on the court. The final score was more one-sided in favor of the United States than how the first quarter had ended, and it was a testament to the coaching that they were able to overcome a height disadvantage and put away this talented Russia team.
Russell Westbrook provided a lot of energy off the bench in the third quarter that helped Team USA increase their lead to 14 points, and he did it with two steals and seven points in the quarter. Russia was only able to shoot 5 of 13 on the court, mostly due to a much-improved defense that Team USA brought to the court in the second half. Westbrook then started the fourth quarter with an impressive three-point play off a feed from Rudy Gay to push the lead all the way to 17 points. It was clear at that point that a lot of the spirit of the Russian team had been taken away, and that Team USA was playing as a real team.
Other players who had a very nice impact on Thursday’s game were starting small forward Kevin Durant, who finished with 33 points and five rebounds, and starting shooting guard Chauncey Billups, who had 15 points. Westbrook finished the game with 12 points, and the rest of the scoring was very balanced for Team USA.
Over on Team Russia, the scoring was led by Sergey Bykov, who scored 17 points and was helped by 14 points from Andrey Vorontsevich. It was very obvious that this could be a good Russian basketball team against an average roster, but with all of the All Star players that the United States had to put out on the floor in the rotation, it just wore them out as the game progressed.
With the win over Russia, the United States advances to play the winner of the Lithuania vs. Argentina game in the semifinals. That game will take place on Saturday, Sept. 11, immediately following the other semifinal game of Serbia vs. Turkey. Both games will be shown live on ESPN Classic, and presents a great double-header with some of the best basketball countries in the world right now. Can Team USA win their first FIBA World Championship in quite a while? Or maybe Turkey can win it all for the host country? It’s about to get even more exciting on Saturday.
Final Score: Team USA 89 — Russia 79