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Latest News, NBA / Aug 28, 2010 / 2:00 pm

USA 106, Croatia 78: World Championship Instant Analysis

Eric Gordon, Dime #28

Why the U.S. won: Talent. It sounds like over-simplifying, but the fact of the matter is that Team USA’s worst player was better than Croatia’s best player. More specifically, the U.S. was hitting their shots (55% FG, 40% 3PA), protecting the ball (7 turnovers), and taking advantage of their depth. Reserve Eric Gordon led the U.S. in scoring with 16 points, and backup Kevin Love had a team-high 10 rebounds.

Why Croatia lost: They gave up the big run. At the end of the first quarter it was still a two-point game, but five minutes into the second quarter, Croatia found themselves down by 15 and never got back into it. Although Ante Tomic helped Croatia win the rebounding battle, 41-39, they were otherwise beat up and left in the dust. Team USA had a 19-2 edge in transition points, and when Gordon, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose went to the rack, they blasted through the Croatian defense like NFL running backs.

Key numbers: Eric Gordon (16 pts, 4 threes); Kevin Durant (14 pts, 8 rebs); Chauncey Billups (12 pts); Kevin Love (10 rebs); Bojan Bogdanovic (17 pts, 5 threes); Marko Popovic (16 pts); Rebounds (Croatia 41, USA 39); Free-throw shooting (USA 12-22, Croatia 8-19).

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  • http://www.dimemag.com Lucas Shapiro

    Despite the loss, I was impressed with Tomic. I wonder what kind of player he can be for the Utah Jazz.

  • Derik

    “but the fact of the matter is that Team USA’s worst player was better than Croatia’s best player”

    BIGGEST BS EVER!

    I don’t think Tyson Chandler is better than half of the Croatia players…

  • Pareja

    @derik

    Correct. That was dumb statement. Tomic schooled Love, Chandler and Odom multiple times.

  • Busted Douglas

    Are you guys talking about the same Tomic that was 4-of-10 with 5 turnovers? Don’t let Fran Frachilla gas you up; he’s not that nice. Mark my words: He won’t be any better than Darko in the League.

  • vago

    and france just won vs spain… DAMNNNNN didn’t see that coming!

  • B

    That system was made for tomic, if he even makes the rotation in the league then he WILL be getting murdered by those same guys…

  • simon

    Allright. I’m from Croatia and I have to explain something.

    First, Ante Tomic has potential to be next Pau Gasol, and that’s not an overstatement. He’s 21, and still has to work a lot on his body in order to play in NBA. You’ll hear more about him in future years.

    Second, Croatian bball is just recovering from 15 year long black hole. This team is first decent squad we had in years. I know, after a blowout like this it sounds funny, but we all knew that this is a lost game.
    You all saw that in 2q we played horribly. Reason is short bench. We started to play run and gun, let our defense down, and bad things started happening.

    Anyway, congrats on victory, hope you beat the Spain when time comes. Tommorow you got Goran Dragic on schedule.

  • tommy

    Westbrook is by far the best US guard at attacking the basket, like every other game so far he is constantly looking to get to the rim. Also, unlike the other US guards who keep putting up soft floaters, or getting their layup attempts blocked he finishes STRONG. It`s about time that dime gives him credit because hes made a strong case that he should be starting over rose.

    EG is also making a case that he should be the designated shooter, and that Billups and curry should be relegated to the bench. Further, in these past two games Love has shown that a) he is by far the best rebounder on the team, and b) he is the best offensive big. Too bad defense is his weakness, because he should be getting more minutes at center.

  • rickyruss

    I don`t think shooting fade away 10 foot floaters can be considered blasting through the croatian defense like NFL running backs. The real question is, has this tournament become a platform for showering Derrick Rose with undeserved superlatives, despite his mediocre performance thus far?

    I guess its good in a way, because it will make a whole lot of naive, bandwagon riding basketball fans pick rose as their top guard in fantasy league. Leaving the better guards for me.

  • Phileus

    Other interesting FIBA notes:

    Yi Jianlian put up 26 and 14 against a Greek team that’s better than some NBA teams. Maybe he could still be a solid rotation player in the NBA yet.

    Kirk Penney led all first-day scorers with 37 for New Zealand. Has he ever been in the league?

    And my favorite: Spain lost to a mediocre France team that doesn’t even have Tony Parker or Roddy Beaubois, hahaha.

  • ab_40

    kirk penney = jj redick if he had done what’s good for him and gone to europe. Dude can shoot the lights out vs pretty much everyone.

    france beating spain was fun to watch. Now let’s hope spain stops being so cocky and wakes up. us shouldn’t celebrate on the bench like that keep it stricktly businuess. Serbia, Spain and the US are my favorites with greece and argentina being dark horse picks if they get it all together and that’s a pretty big if. The best coach in this tournament is serbia’s coach. Any comments on the total brain fart puorto rico had vs russia?

  • http://usabasketball.com TEAMUSA2010

    thank goodness i didn’t watch the game on ESPN if you guys want superior USA/FIBA coverage check out FIBATV. just one commentator per game but extremely knowledgeable didn’t call players by the wrong name and even interpreted what the coach was saying in the huddle. now that was impressive. i wonder what FRANCHILLA SHERIDAN & THE REST OF THE EURO BUTT KISSING FOOLS have to say about FRANCE upsetting SPAIN. and USA destroying CROATIA
    “SPAIN/CROATIA DIDN’T SHOW EVERYTHING THEY REALLY HELD THEIR CARDS CLOSE TO THE VEST”
    thank you CROATIA for showing US that pick n roll in the 1st frame we are now ready to move on. GO USA

  • Soopa

    Ante Tomic is more or less the best name ever…

  • Darko

    Ante Tomic is a new Paul Gasol. He was injured and didn’t play for a whole month so today he was a little rusty. but watch out for him!

    Serbia and USA will meet in finals. Serbs have youngest team and in next 5-8 years will be force to reckon with.

  • quest???

    I’m so disgusted with how PR lost…

  • http://www.remixcomic.com Nodizzel

    I like how Fran Frachilla says Minnesota traded Al Jefferson to Denver… I was like wow dude how fucking out of touch are you? He’s a joke and a failure as an in game commentator.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    I was watching at a sports bar with no sound, so I was spared the commentary. Fraschilla was saying Al Jefferson got traded to Denver way back during the first televised Team USA scrimmage. It’s been like a month and nobody corrected him?

  • simon

    There ain’t worse commentator than this guy who works in Croatian tv station which covered the game.

    He called Andre “Idala” and Durant – “Duran”, yeah, like that band.

    Westbrook is good, but part of his good performance goes to Rok Stipcevic. That’s the smallest guy in our team, you all probbably didn’t saw him because on defense he would dissapear, letting Russ to do whatever he wanted.

    All in all, USA is good, but I think Brazil will be the real test for you.

  • Phileus

    Ante Tomic looks more like Marc than Pau Gasol, but he does seem like he could become a legit NBA player. Croatia was close in the first but just didn’t have the depth to keep up. Hope the good times come back to Croatian basketball soon though.

  • D Roc

    Its amazing how many Rose haters there are on this site . Rose was the player that got team USA off to a great start against Spain and then capped it off with a solid ending in that game. Since they’ve put him at the starting point this team has taken off to another level.

  • simon

    Yeah future should be brighter for us.

    We have one unbelivable 16y old talent, he destroyed in U16 Euro Cup few weeks ago….you’ll definitly hear more about him in following years

  • matt

    The way westbrook was throwing it down today, I think hes going to lead the tournament in dunks. Someone needs to tell rat face to start westbrook. I’m tired of seeing, boring airball floaters, and rose’s broken jumpshots, let the exciting players play.

  • Darko

    @simon

    Dario Šarić si legit. I hope he plays this year for Zagreb in Adriatic league. I think croatian clubs will be good this year (zagreb,cedevita,cibona,zadar).

  • Pareja

    Penney got himself 2 10-day contracts in the L but didn’t manage to stay. That guy is one of 5 most unstoppable scorers outside the L.

  • scalabrine 4 mvp

    Penney was playing in the d league last season