Davis leads U.S. to easy win


VIDEO: USA-Slovenia recap

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – The U.S. National Team wrapped up its exhibition schedule on Tuesday with an easy 101-71 win over Slovenia in Gran Canaria, Spain. Next stop: Bilbao, for World Cup pool play, which begins Saturday.

Anthony Davis was, by far, the best player on the floor, registering 18 points, nine rebounds, three steals and five blocks in less than 19 minutes of action. He controlled the paint and snuffed out Slovenia’s pick-and-rolls. Basically, if he was in the area, they couldn’t complete a pass or make a shot.

It was a 10-point game at the half, but the U.S. scored 27 points on its first 13 possessions of the third quarter to go up by 31. The highlight of that run was a lob from Kenneth Faried to Davis on a roll to the hoop.

The U.S. finished 4-0 in exhibitions and still hasn’t lost a game (whether it counts or not) since the semifinals of the 2006 World Championship.

Here are some notes from Tuesday’s action …

  • So … many … fouls. The officiating in this game was a stark contrast to that of Friday’s game against Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden, when both sets of guards got away with a lot of contact on the perimeter. Hand checks were called on Tuesday, with the two teams combining for 53 fouls in 40 minutes.
  • The U.S. was the bigger beneficiary of the whistles, getting to the line 46 times. But they shot just 29-for-46 (63 percent), leaving several points at the stripe. They had shot 81 percent through their first three exhibition games.
  • At the other end of the floor, the U.S. paid for its aggressiveness on the perimeter. Stephen Curry fouled out in the first minute of the fourth quarter after just 14 minutes of playing time. Klay Thompson picked up two hand-check fouls on the first possession he was on the court. And Kyrie Irving and James Harden each picked up three fouls apiece. The Americans have depth in the backcourt, but not as much as they’d have if they hand’t brought four centers on the roster. The guards are going to have to do a better job of adjusting to the way games are being called.
  • We got a basic look at the U.S. rotation. Derrick Rose (or Irving when Rose starts), Thompson and Rudy Gay were the first guys off the bench. DeMarcus Cousins backed up Davis, and DeMar DeRozan was the 10th man. Andre Drummond and Mason Plumlee only played garbage time.
  • The U.S. starters had huge plus-minus marks, while the reserves were a mix of low pluses and minuses. In fact, in 14:23 with four or five U.S. starters on the floor, the score was USA 45, Slovenia 8. In the other 25:37, with three or fewer American starters in the game, Slovenia outscored the U.S. 63-56.
  • Thompson shot well (3-for-5 on threes) and Gay was active on the offensive glass, but the bench was otherwise disappointing.
  • Rose did not play well. He showed flashes of his quickness, but did not finish plays. He shot 0-for-3 and committed three turnovers in 20 minutes of action.
  • The U.S. halfcourt offense still needs work. There was some real sloppiness on Tuesday, especially in the fourth quarter.
  • Goran Dragic had his moments – he went around-the-back to get past Rose on the break – in limited minutes, but his brother was the star for Slovenia. Zoran Dragic scored 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting and grabbed six boards.

13 Comments

  1. Roger Tornga says:

    I thought the author was overly critical of the bench, saying that only Thompson and Gay did anything.

    Seems to me that Cousins had a pretty good showing: 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in 14 minutes.

    Pretty Solid.

  2. sesi says:

    What is Rose doing on this team. A dude who does not play for 2 years gets picked over Lillard?
    See the +/- from this game? Irving +39. Rose -4.

  3. FIBA World Cup says:

    Finals: USA-Spain (easy prediction) with the US deciding the game in the 4th Q

  4. ml carr says:

    I miss watching Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. My all time favorite super 3. Hohum……..

    • thespectator says:

      dont those 3 still play in OKC?

      • harriethehawk says:

        Yes they do. I’m just making a statement that the USA Basketball is boring to me and although I’m glad we are doing well so far, I would much rather watch the Thunder, my favorite team. Does that answer your question?

  5. kobe says:

    Nice win for USA but I was expecting that Slovenia was going to loose by a bigger margin. This is one of the weakest rosters that Slovenia has had in a long time. There are no real centers on the squad. Three best big men are missing (Erazem Lorbek, Mirza Begić, Gašper Vidmar) and there is no one that could play with his back to the basket. USA on the other hand could really use another guard instead of a center because you can get into foul trouble quicker (5. foul disqualified) Rose isn’t 100% and they could use more 3pt shooting (Lillard or Korver). That being said I still think USA is by far the best team in the world cup with its defense and athleticism. Sincerely Slovenia fan (Goran Dragič all the way).

  6. Antwon says:

    What were cousin’s numbers like?

  7. Saul says:

    It is all because of Coach K’s favoritism. What on earth is Mason Plumlee doing on the team? He is solid but only a role player at best on his regular NBA team, never mind playing with the elite on Team USA. How does Damian Lillard get left out? That is scoring and guard depth we really needed, especially since nobody knows what Rose can provide. A stupid move. As we saw USA’s guards had trouble with fouls, and that or injury could be trouble.

  8. Chuck says:

    Forbidden to criticize DRose, but he has not looked quick, but perhaps expected. This team does not have good penetrators and is weak at the three. They will need a super-human game from AD and great outside shooting to beat Spain, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were spanked when they meet.

    • trollhunter says:

      Weak at the three.. hahahah but seriously the 1 on 5 basketball they played works against Slovenia because their parameter guys were easy to beat and no rim protector. If US doesnt get better offensively soon a match against spain will look like heat spurs- heat relying on individual offensive moves, spurs working ball for easy shot

    • thespectator says:

      who cares, we waiting for the regular season to start. this aint the olympics