Smack / Aug 15, 2010 / 12:01 am

“The Expendables” steal the show in Team USA’s scrimmage vs. China

the expendables

While the World Basketball Festival‘s name implies fun and games, there are some ballplayers on a serious mission in New York City this weekend. Sometime in between today’s exhibition versus Team France and the beginning of the FIBA World Championship, Coach K still has two cuts to make from Team USA — which meant the guys believed to be on the borderline needed to do something impressive during yesterday’s scrimmage against China … In front of an invitation-only crowd at Madison Square Garden that included Kobe Bryant, most of the expendables put in work: Danny Granger scored a team-high 22 points in the 40-minute session, Eric Gordon put up 15, and Russell Westbrook cranked out some breakaway dunks that would have given Nate Robinson a challenge over All-Star Weekend … “I’d definitely say I’m fighting for a spot,” Gordon said afterward. “A lot of other people are. But definitely my position is one of those that’s up for grabs.” Gordon’s jumper was so automatic, whenever he went into his jump-shot motion guys on the USA bench would yell “layup!” … Meanwhile, Jeff Green and JaVale McGee were suited up but never got on the court. It wouldn’t be a stretch to pick those two as the guys getting cut. Kevin Love‘s spot should be safe, but he wasn’t great, either. The only time he really stood out was when Yi Jianlian got a step on him and threw down a dunk that K-Love had better hope won’t pop up on YouTube … The scrimmage was played in four quarters that were scored separately. The U.S. dominated the first three, choking the life out of China’s guards with a full-court press that led to some ridiculous dunks by Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant and Westbrook. But the fourth quarter was close, and in the final seconds, the U.S. led by one before Chinese point guard Liu Wei went to the rack and got fouled. With 1.3 showing on the clock, Wei calmly drilled both free throws, and while Gordon’s fadeaway three at the buzzer was straight, he threw it a little short … Also during that fourth quarter, Durant played center on some possessions. Not exactly as dramatic as Magic Johnson in 1980, but could you see KD really playing the five for Oklahoma City? Maybe against the Warriors. You could put Kevin James at center against G-State and he’d drop about 22 points and 8 boards …

kobe bryant

Coach Kobe

Other than the USA/China scrimmage, Day 3 of the World Basketball Festival was again centralized at Rucker Park. Kobe made a surprise appearance during the Chainlink Fundamentals clinic for kids and did his Pete Bell impersonation (without kicking a basketball), France ran through an outdoor practice, NYC’s top high school and playground stars were in action, and all of this cool stuff was going on … Not long after we said the Pistons were threatening to be the most irrelevant, boring team in the NBA, they’ve gotten pretty interesting. First they signed T-Mac, then Magic Johnson said he’d be interested in becoming an owner in Detroit, and now we might have a point guard controversy. Last year’s backup, Will Bynum, just got a new contract and now he wants a new role. “I don’t think for one second that the money I’m making makes me a reserve,” Bynum told the Detroit Free Press. “I just want to clear that up from the beginning.” Bynum would have to beat out Rodney Stuckey for the job, and although many think Stuckey is more suited to play two-guard, that’s Rip Hamilton‘s spot. Just to go all the way with the drama, how about we get Isiah Thomas a part-time job in the Pistons front office and make Dennis Rodman a color commentator? … We’re out like Jeff and JaVale …

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  • IGP

    Nice Pete Bell reference

  • http://www.more-sports.net andrew macaluso

    One of the best reads all week.

  • Jerry K.

    I was just thinking earlier today about Carmelo’s future and wondered if the “Miami-thrice” decisions to play together in Miami would have a domino effect on the nba?
    For example, Carmelo goes to NY and eventually Chris Paul joins them. If that happens, watch out, because i can definitely see someone like Deron Williams Leaving Utah to go join Dwight down in Orlando.Then someone like Granger going to Portland to team up with Roy and Aldridge. And so on and so on….. It’ll be pretty crazy to see that happen,its a long shot, but i think its a real possibility now that Lebron/Bosh/Wade have joined forces (especially if they succeed)

    -Anyone else think this is possible?

  • http://myspace.com/40sand9s Loc

    They really need to trade Tayshaun and Rip,
    I think all sides would benefit, those guys are so much better suited as role players on good teams and they should certainly be valuable enough to earn some solid young players.

    Can we get a worlds preview soon?
    All this USA business is well and good but you have so many international reads, it would be nice for a worldwide preview, I know Im hella confused about what NBA guys are running not running!

  • Young Gunner

    In all honesty, I wouldnt mind hearing The Worm as a play by play guy. Just imagine the convo between him and Jeff Van Gundy

  • http://thesphericalstudies.blogspot.com/2010/07/lebron-james-is-not-jesus.html haslem

    who’s the dude with the mo hawk in the pic?

  • Kingralf

    It’s Russel westbrook

  • http://www.netz-frucht.de Oo

    russel westbrook.

  • S-SiN

    Rodman would be a great color!

  • http://thesphericalstudies.blogspot.com/2010/07/lebron-james-is-not-jesus.html haslem

    thought so

  • bdk23

    P.S.A. if you are over 18 yrs old and you have a mohawk ur a fruit with too much time in front of the mirror on ur hands !!!! dam whatever happened to niggas rockin the classic one-level!

  • Dillenga

    Definitely, the worm would be awesome as a play-by-play guy.

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    @bdk23

    Its a fad relax. Just like the high-top fades that half of the NBA wore in the 90’s and the jerry curls in the 80’s and afros in the 70’s. Its a fade.

  • Chise

    I agree with @Loc. Can we get a breakdown of somebody elses roster besides USA’s? I just want to know what the competition is bringing to the table.

  • EN FUEGO

    Rather go with Kevin Durand at center not Kevin James

  • brittany

    team usa is gonna lose at the world chamionship

  • sh!tfaced

    Team USA cut Green and McGee?! Leaving Chandler as the only true big man with 5 PGs in the roster. You’d think David Kahn was in charge and not Jerry Colangelo.

  • That’s What’s Up

    I only hope Westbrook shaved his pubes to match