Team USA beat Greece badly in their last tune-up game before the 2010 FIBA World Championships. It looks like Team USA is ready for FIBA play, and, if the ending of Wednesday’s game was any indication of where the team is, Team USA could be looking at dethroning Spain. The 2010 incarnation of Team USA has been working its way around the world and has been playing different countries that will participate in the 2010 FIBA World Championships. It’s all in the methodology to get them ready for International basketball, and the process might have worked.
In the last game that Team USA played against Spain, there were quite a few facets of the game where Team USA looked pretty weak. The transition game was leading to far too many turnovers, and it was clear that they might have been trying to play with too much “flash” on the court. On Wednesday, though, they looked much more under control, and even though they still had some silly turnovers, they were looking much more like a team than a group of individual star players on the court. That team mentality is a requirement for any team that wants to succeed at the World Championships.
The final score of the USA vs. Greece game was 87-59 in favor of Team USA, and they also ended up outscoring Greece in every quarter. The announcers of the game were quick to point out that Greece was holding back several players who were trying to get healthy for the 2010 World Championships on the weekend, and that Team USA was holding a bit of their strategy “close to the vest” while the game played out. That probably was the case, as Coach K was playing a lot of the reserves a lot of minutes on Wednesday, a good preparation for the grueling schedule at the World’s. In pool play, teams have to play five games in six days.
The leaders against Greece were Eric Gordon, who scored 18 points off the bench, and Kevin Durant, who scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in just 20 minutes of play. All 12 players on the Team USA roster played at least 10 minutes (a full quarter) of the game, with only two players (Lamar Odom and Tyson Chandler) not scoring a basket. The starters only had five turnovers, but the bench had another 12 who showed there is still some stuff for Coach K to work on.
As for defense, Team USA had 18 steals on the night, with four by Odom and three by Kevin Love. At the end of the day, Team USA got much better, but will need to work out some more kinks if they want to leave Turkey with the championship in hand.
Team USA next plays on Saturday, Aug. 28, against Croatia in the first game of the 2010 FIBA World Championships.