Just when you began to wonder if Kevin Durant was getting too much hype this summer, he went out and proved he’s worth every bit of it. After dropping 33 points on Russia to lead Team USA to the World Championship semifinals, yesterday KD went off again on Lithuania, hanging 38 points (14-25 FG, 5 threes) and 9 boards on the previously-undefeated squad to lift the U.S. to the gold-medal game with another double-digit W … Durant (who wrote 9/11 messages on his shoes) was on fire early and carried the U.S. offense throughout. He scored 17 in the first quarter, sticking walk-up threes and basically getting to whatever spot he wanted for whatever shot he wanted. Obviously FIBA is a different ballgame than the NBA, but have the last two performances made you buy into these MVP odds any more than before? … Andre Iguodala had a couple dunks, but his biggest impact was on the defensive end, where he put Linas Kleiza in a tiny box (4 pts, 1-11 FG) and picked up four steals. But then during halftime of the Georgia/South Carolina football game, we heard one of ESPN’s studio heads call him, “Andre Igg-oh-doola.” … Derrick Rose spent most of this game on the bench, playing only 12 minutes and shooting 0-for-4. Rose is the most talented PG on his roster and no international guard can handle him 1-on-1, but kind of like Rajon Rondo, his game isn’t exactly the best fit for this setting. Or it just doesn’t mesh with Coach K‘s style. Steph Curry only played 2 minutes, as Chauncey Billups mostly ran the point. It’ll be interesting to see who gets PT at the one during the gold-medal game … Speaking of sitting bench, Danny Granger went from zero minutes in the Russia game to one minute against Lithuania. He’s officially the Carlos Boozer of this squad … Play of the game, courtesy Russell Westbrook (as usual): Lithuania’s Mantas Kalnietis was on a breakaway and just when he went for a finger roll, Westbrook spiked it off the glass. It’s one of those plays you see LeBron or Josh Smith make 40 times a year, but remember Westbrook is only 6-3 … Team USA will face Turkey for the gold medal. CRAZY finish to Turkey/Serbia, and in a gym that was louder than Ohio State’s stadium. With about 17 seconds left, Turkey went up by one when Semih Erden took a drive-and-kick pass and dunked plus the foul. After he missed the free throw, Milos Teodosic (the hero from the Spain upset) snaked his way into the lane to set up a bucket for Serbia to get the lead back. Turkey inbounded from midcourt, and a breakdown of the Serbian D gave Kerem Tunceri a wide-open layup with 0.5 on the clock. The place went NUTS after that shot, then Erden blocked a good-looking alley-oop by Serbia that could have won it at the buzzer … Russia beat Slovenia in the 7th-place game. Slovenia was up 14 in the second half before Vitaliy Fridzon (18 pts, 4 stls) took over, scoring 15 in the fourth quarter and leading the comeback. Timofey Mozgov (19 pts) hit the go-ahead free throws in the final minute and a half. Boki Nachbar led Slovenia with 20 points … Some people gave us a hard time for putting Allen Iverson in the lowest tier in our 2010 Free Agent Tracker, but we weren’t saying A.I. was on the same level as a player as, say, Joe Alexander; we’re saying there was a very good chance Iverson wouldn’t get signed at all, that he’s on the verge of not being in the League at all next season. And as it’s turned out, nobody seems interested in Iverson. So it was only a matter of time before he started hearing rumors like the one that surfaced yesterday about A.I. signing with a team in China. Just do us a favor, NBA TV, and air the game where Iverson goes head-to-head with God Shammgod … We’re out like The U …
Smack / Sep 12, 2010 / 2:10 am
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