Even more than the Lakers, Celtics, Duke, and Bob Hurley Sr.‘s kids at St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey; we can’t think of a team that is more heavily scruitinized than USA Basketball’s senior national group. Only during a Team USA summer do you hear “unimpressive” and “22-point win” put next to each other, which was the case from a lot of critics following yesterday’s 99-77 win over Slovenia at the World Championship … Sure, there was stuff to gripe about: Derrick Rose guided an offense that committed 17 turnovers, and Slovenia shot 33 free throws, and Coach K had some questionable subbing patterns, yanking Kevin Durant at times when it seemed he was about to single-handedly blow the game wide open. But at the end of the day, a rout is a rout, and Team USA’s 2-0 record right now looks a lot better than Spain’s 1-1 or Canada’s 0-2 … Durant put up 22 points in just 22 minutes, getting out to a hot start before Coach K took him out early. Just like the Croatia game, it was close until the second quarter, when the U.S. went on a 14-3 run to stretch the lead to 14 at halftime. Then with Durant on the court to start the second half, another big run pushed it into 20-piecing territory … As much as we love Rajon Rondo‘s game, we’re glad Russell Westbrook is on this squad. He should have been booked for felony humiliation after what he did to the guy guarding him in the Croatia game, and against Slovenia, Westbrook made the highlight reel again by pulling a Nate Robinson-on-Yao move when he swatted a shot by 6-foot-11 Hasan Rizvic … The ’08 Draft class is actually reppin’ pretty hard in Turkey: D-Rose starting at PG, Westbrook becoming a highlight machine, Eric Gordon raining murder from outside, and Kevin Love pulling down double-digit rebounds every game (“That’s how I make my money,” Love told reporters afterward). Remember when people thought K-Love would be a bust in the League? Haven’t heard many of them lately … The game of the day was Argentina vs. Australia. Luis Scola posted 31 points and 9 rebounds, but the Argentines needed a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter to finally take the lead. With three seconds left, Argentina was up two when they threw the ball away on an inbounds. Australia got it back and got off a good-looking three, but it rimmed out. Patty Mills had 21 points and 5 assists for the losers … Other stat lines from Day 2 of the WC tourney: Spain got back on the winning track, knocking off New Zealand behind Marc Gasol‘s 22 points and 3 blocks, and Ricky Rubio‘s 8 points, 11 assists and 3 steals; Mickael Gelabale continues his breakout with 18 points in France’s win over Lebanon; Hedo Turkoglu scored 14 in Turkey’s win over Russia; Leandro Barbosa put up 21 points, 6 boards and 4 steals as Brazil beat Tunisia; Linas Kleiza had 18 points and 10 boards in Lithuania’s win over Canada; Yi Jianlian scored 26 in China’s win over Ivory Coast; Jan Jagla‘s 22 points led Germany in a double-OT win over Serbia; Vassilis Spanoulis lit up Puerto Rico for 28 points in Greece’s win; and Hamed Haddadi dumped 27 points and 9 boards on Croatia in a loss for Iran. Tough blow to all those people saying Croatian center Ante Tomic is the next Pau Gasol and better than some of Team USA’s bigs. Just saying … If the latest rumors are true that the Nuggets are trying to trade Carmelo Anthony to the Kings, Nets or Wolves, this could be the next salvo in the power struggle between players and executives. ‘Melo and his people are trying to force the Nuggets to trade him, so instead of doing ‘Melo a favor by sending him to the Magic or Rockets, they’d send him to a terrible team or to a city he’d most likely hate. At the same time, we don’t see why Sacramento or Minnesota would give up the farm for ‘Melo when there’s zero percent change he re-signs next summer … We’re out like ‘Melo in ‘Sota …
Smack / Aug 30, 2010 / 3:11 am
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