The United States played inspired basketball to beat Russia, 89-79, to advance to the semifinal round of the FIBA World Championship. Prior to their quarterfinals match, there were exchange of words between US coach Mike Krzyzewski and American coach David Blatt that reopened wounds of the US loss to Russia in 1972 at the Olympic games that was quite unusual in the post-Cold War era.
Kevin Durant led the US attack with 33 points, with 19 points scored in the first half wherein the Americans took the lead from a 30-35 deficit. Chauncey Billups and Russell Westbrook provided the much needed support with 15 and 12 points respectively. Team USA turned up their defense in the second quarter to lead at the half, 44-39.
The Russians were missing forward Andrei Kirilenko of the Utah Jazz. Kirilenko was the team’s Most Valuable Player when they won the 2007 European Championship. They got good contributions though from Sergey Bykov, Andrei Borontsevich and the New York Knicks’ Timofrey Mozgov.
The United States basketball squad faces Lithuania in the semifinals on Saturday. Lithuania defeated Argentina in the other quarterfinals match to earn a semifinals spot.
FIBA World Championship 2010 Features USA vs Russia – The quarterfinals of the FIBA World Championship 2010 fits USA against Russia. The Russians would be one of the hardest test for the United States campaign to reclaim the FIBA World Championship, a title they had not held since for very long.
If the United States game with Angola had been a blowout, for sure this game would not be as easy as that one. The Russians are bigger than the Americans. Take the case for example of Mozgov who is matched up against starting center Lamar Odom. Mozgov is five inches taller than him plus he is very agile and is a very good finisher.
Another Russian player, power forward, Andrey Vorontsevich of CSKA Moscow, is four inches taller than his match up player from the USA, Andre Iguodala. The added burden is that this guy can be a poweful 3-point shooter and also an inside player.
Most of the Russian players are relatively unknown outside Russia and prefer it to be that way so that their opponents cannot obtain the data about them and about how they play.
The game for a semifinals slot at the FIBA World Championship between Russia and the USA will surely be a show of strategy on both offense and defense. The best team who can execute well will surely be the winner.
The FIBA World Championship 2010 Russia vs USA commence at 18h00 (GMT+3), Thursday, September 9.
Here are a preview of the two teams during their Eight-Finals game:
USA vs Angola Eight-Finals
Russia vs New Zealand Eight-Finals
Team USA advances to the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Championship in Turkey by beating Angola 121-66. The United States men’s basketball team is composed of NBA players but none of them bear the names Kobe, LeBron, Dwayne, Melo or Dwight. Still, the expectations are high out of the American squad. They have not been impressive in their group qualifier matches, barely edging Brazil 70-68 after a Leandro Barbosa miss at the buzzer.
On Monday, the Americans showed some of the things why they should be installed as tournament favorites. Coach Mike Krzyzewski got more mileage from the bench this time and the team forced their opponents to turnovers that they converted into fastbreak points.
Team USA showed from the get-go that it was a mismatch playing the Angolans. Chauncey Billups played shooting guard despite being a natural point guard in the NBA, contributing 19 points. Kevin Durant, who has been their most consistent player, had 17 points. Eric Gordon and Rudy Gay also added 17 points apiece, providing balanced offense for the US squad.
Team USA beat Brazil 70-68 on Monday at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey. The United States stayed unbeaten three games into the FIBA World Championship but Brazil showed that this team of NBA stars is not invincible. The game was in fact decided at the last second when Leandro Barbosa of Brazil missed his final shot that just rimmed out.
This recent win puts the United States on top of Group B. However, it exposed some things that the Americans need to work on.
Brazil was supposed to utilize its size advantage with Nene, Anderson Varejao and Tiago Splitter against a smaller US lineup. Injuries to Nene and Varejao forced Brazil to adjust and use speed instead in giving the Americans a run for their money. Brazil led most of the time in the first 30 minutes of the game until Lamar Odom gave team USA the lead on a dunk with about seven minutes left in the ballgame.
It was clear that the US squad could not pull away from a tough Brazilian team. It took another big game from Kevin Durant who scored 27 points and veteran Chauncey Billups
The United States may have tougher times ahead in their quest for a FIBA World Championship.
The United States basketball team emerged on top of Group B with five wins against no loss. They are undefeated so far but their first few games have exposed their lack of experience, chemistry and leadership.
They face Angola on Monday as they begin play in the knockout round. Expectations are high but many doubters feel that this present crew of NBA players will have a very tough uphill climb to achieving gold. Team USA has not won a World Championship for 16 years now.
In their group game against Brazil, the Americans had to thank a Leandro Barbosa miss at the buzzer that would have forced overtime. Despite an undefeated record, they have struggled in the opening round.
This young team of NBA players is obviously inexperienced, with no legitimate NBA superstars like Kobe, LeBron, D-Wade, Dwight Howard, CP3 or even Melo. These young players are still adjusting to FIBA rules. They have not been consistent and “chemistry” seems like a difficult subject in the league of “differential and integral calculus”.
We are hoping that Chauncey Billups can provide the leadership, being the most experienced and senior among the team. Durant has been the most consistent performer so far but he may not have Billups’ leadership experience.
The United States basketball team may not bear the names of NBA superstars we would root for but they still represent the colors and the country where the sport came from. It would be such a shame if Team USA continues to underachieve at the world championship knowing that these are the highest paid and so-called best basketball players in the world.