Smack / Aug 22, 2010 / 12:01 am

Team USA struggles early, beats Lithuania late

Russell Westbrook (Nike, USA Basketball)

On paper, a team whose best player is Linas Kleiza shouldn’t get anywhere within 30 points of a squad that features five NBA All-Stars. But that’s why we love the uniqueness and unpredictability of international tournaments like the Olympics and World Championships. In yesterday’s pre-WC exhibition, Kleiza and Team Lithuania gave Team USA all they could handle, taking the lead after a terrible first quarter for the U.S. (3-for-21 shooting, six turnovers) and staying right with them until a costly flagrant/technical foul combo — was Nenad Krstic in the building? — sparked a 17-0 run in the second half that pushed the U.S. to a 16-point W … As has been the trend, at least two guys who are in danger of getting cut made strong cases for why they shoudl stay. Russell Westbrook (12 pts) and Eric Gordon (9 pts, 3 stls) were key during the big run, while Stephen Curry played on his sore ankle but didn’t do much. Kevin Durant was the high scorer with 15 points (4-14 FG), and Kleiza led Lithuania with 12 points … And another good big man has dropped out of the World Championship picture. Nene will not play for Brazil, citing inflammation of the legs. We could’ve sworn Anderson Varejao had a problem with that a few summers ago; so either somebody needs to check out the water in Brazil, or that’s just their internal code for “He doesn’t feel like playing,” or “He’s gotten chunky.” … We’ve talked about Chauncey Billups being an undercover MVP for Team USA, and with the Carmelo situation up in the air, he may find himself being The Man in Denver before he knows it. Billups says that he wants to play four more years — he’ll be pushing 38 by then — and “in a perfect world” he’d stay with the Nuggets for the duration. But Chauncey also said he wants to go out a winner, and who knows what that team will look like following a ‘Melo trade? … You’ve seen where Shaq‘s career has gone as he hits 38. What kind of player do you think Chauncey will be at that age? … NBA Twitter junkies will be glad to know Brandon Jennings is back tweeting after months-long absence. He’s now going by @BLKICE3, after his new Under Armour Black Ice signature shoe that hit stores Nov. 1. The other night we hit up an exclusive launch party for Young Money, which we’ll recap on DimeMag.com tomorrow morning … The Dime crew was all over the playground basketball scene this weekend. In New York City we had the Nike Tournament of Champions, the annual bragging-rights bowl where the winners of NYC’s most competitive summer leagues face each other in a one-day, winner-take-all challenge. Congrats to Hoops In the Sun (HITS) from the Bronx for taking the crown … And some of the Dime crew hit the road this weekend, shooting down to Washington D.C. for the last stop on the Red Bull 2on2 Revolution tour. Emerging from a pool of some of D.C.’s asphalt legends, the Philly duo dubbed “No Mercy” won their second straight Red Bull title … On the way to D.C., somewhere around Delaware, we passed a road sign that said “Aberdeen Proving Ground.” We imagine it’s just a random empty parking lot, and when you pull your car up there’s one dude standing there waiting for you like, “So what’s up? We doin’ this?” … We’re out like Twitter hiatuses …

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  • Chise

    Dime stay taken the whole day off lol.

  • i luv ur mummy

    milfitry is an art….it takes one time to hone the skills need to b tru to the meaning. experience and practice..make perfecto

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    Oh shit, Aberdeen Proving Ground, 5 minutes away from my house! Sheeeeeit

  • cb4

    “while Stephen Curry played on his sore ankle but didn’t do much” — He still did way more than rose.

    Rose needs to get cut from this team asap, the announcers need to stop riding his d**k because he surely hasn’t shown anything, other than he can’t defend European players or score in the half court.

    This team is stacked at pg, there is no need keeping an unproductive, bad decision making, poor defending, terrible shooting guard.

    If guys would get off his nuts for a minute they would clearly see that he is a terrible fit, and by far the worst guard on the team.

    ps. wtf are the announcers talking about rose is “so strong and powerful” like hes some sort of adonis. The only guard on team usa hes stronger than is steph curry, the anorexic version of tayshon prince.

  • ab_40

    derrick rose = steve francis. 23 5 and 6 max.
    Hey I’ma be watching today spain usa. if usa comes out like this they’ll be smacked around by team spain.

  • Mavs All The Way

    Russel “rock steady” Westbrook.

  • Pat

    If you watch the games, it seems the team usa is playing a different type of basketball vs the fiba rules trained europeans. Team usa needs to realize that talented teams in the tournament that can use the rules to their advantage can beat them unless they can start playing team ball.

    Never thought Nenad was a thug…very interesting and entertaining.

  • Robmo35

    What kind of player will Billups be at 38?
    The retired kind

  • asmaticasiatic2

    Derrick Rose seems to be playing too passive and defering to his teammates too early and often.Its cool that he lets the game come to him but needs to be more aggressive. I think its a mental thing sometimes when playing on all start type teams….Shaq still has some game, apparently he’s “seeing” hoopz from flavor of love. Guess money makes up for age at times….

  • Twon

    @asmaticasiatic2 yeah you right about Rose,he is too Passive but he always do what the coaches tell him to do.i think he should start today against Spain.i never seen him come off the bench before in his basketball career.i think he’ll do better as a Starter.

  • Heckler

    if people watch closely, they will realize that Russell Westbrook is a better basketball player than Derrick Rose

  • Heckler

    if Chauncey Billups wants to play to 38yrs old, he might can do it. but he surely won’t be making $14mil a season.

    more like the vets minimum. Denver can extend his contract this season. at best, he would get a chris duhon-like contract: 4yrs and $20mil

  • http://usabasketball.com TEAMUSA2010

    if you ask me ROSE is playing TOO FAST in half court set. it’s bad enuff you got all those sponsor decals on court making it slippery. ROSE/USA is playing like D WADE & co. did in 04 olympics. that FIBA traveling rule. the bad USA body language (pause) no communication, scoring champ in the states and 5-15 in EURO play. WHEN THE HELL ARE WE GONNA SEE A SCREEN CHANDLER? what kills me is when ppl & players talk about hostile environments haha MOST OF THE TEAM GREW UP & PLAYED STREET BALL in the INNER CITIES. THE NBA HAS MADE US SO SOFT. 80s & 90s NBA was really physical. What about this years NCAA TOURNEY that was more physical than USA-LITHU game. WAKE UP BASKETBALL IS BASKETBALL, EUROPEANS play our current college style mixed our 90s NBA style. that’s why MJ will forever be the greatest. He did all that in the handchecking, triple team era. who in the NBA since has seen a regular diet of dbl & trpl team defenses not even KOBE. MAN IF USA WAS GONNA CUT A PLAYERS THROUGH THE ENTIRE TOURNAMENT, WE WOULDN”T LOSE A GAME. btw, being that our team is SOLEY relying on defense these games are not gonna be pretty.

  • That’s What’s Up

    if people watch closely, they will realize that Derrick Rose has a better haircut than Russell Westbrook

  • flegman

    Spain, Greece, Argentina, all can beat this team usa, even in a best-of-whatever series. Packed zone, team usa killed.

    Tyson “only true center” Chandler had zero points, five rebs in twenty minutes. Nice.
    why the hell do you start billups together with rondo?
    why the hell let you play your only true shooter SG Curry (2-2, 1-1, 5 pts) 3 mins only?? Will you cut him? sure you will, cos you suck.

  • Young C

    Rose needs to play like he’s from Chicago and Durant needs to play like he’s from the DC area and stop crying about the international game. It’s kinda like playing in the streets from what I see, minus the rules.

  • http://www.NYtoCALI.com Aaron THe Great

    I really don’t know about this team, I have a hard time believing they will come out on top.. I don’t see much “toughness” from this team, and that is a problem.

  • tall order

    for some reason russell in the photo above looks like a boxer, not a basketball player

  • K Dizzle

    Spain takin it to em.

    Milk carton: Dre Iguodala…

  • b$

    chauncey doesn’t have to worry about “playing for a winner.” his team will win. he’s a winning player.

  • S-SiN

    I agree with a poster that says D-Rose needs to be cut. I still think he’s a good baller, just doesn’t seem to want it as much as Russell and E-Gordon

  • Ace_One

    all the [d-rose needs to be cut/blahblah is better than rose] posters are idiots..

  • D Roc

    D-Rose shut all you fools up. He and Durant stepped up when the game got tight, that’s what all stars do. Go USA

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    @the idiots screaming cut DRose

    Hindsight is 20/20…. f^king tards.