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Tag:Eric Gordon
Posted on: September 10, 2010 3:30 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2010 3:33 pm
 

Lithuania stands between Team USA's shot at gold

Posted by Royce Young

It's not the team the United States expected to play in the semifinals. With Argentina rolling behind Luis Scola, there was almost no doubt that a showdown between the 2004 gold medal winners and the U.S. was coming. You could feel the buildup, even on Thursday morning, before Argentina played their quarterfinal game.

Except there was a problem. Argentina still had to play Lithuania. And by all appearances, they totally forgot about that.

Lithuania didn't slip past Argentina a team that was 6-0 going into that game. They didn't squeak by on a couple questionable calls or some uncharacteristic  hot shooting. Lithuania throttled the Argentinians. Like worked them over.

And while it might not be the game most expected in the semifinals of the 2010 World Championships, Lithuania is not someone to look past. If the U.S. didn't learn that lesson from what happened Thursday to Argentina, then Lithuania may do some more sneaking up.

But the U.S. knows this opponent. A little over two weeks ago in a friendly, Team USA defeated Lithuania 77-61 in New York. However, Lithuania held a 15-7 lead after one quarter and after 30 minutes of play, the U.S. only held a 9-point lead. But even since then, this is a Lithuania team that has really hit its stride. So while Team USA is familiar with its next opponent, there is still some studying to do.

How did Lithuania get here?
In group play, Lithuania cruised to a 5-0 record. Well, I shouldn't say cruised. More like scrapped. Their margin of victory in Group D was, 10 points a game. But that's inflated by 18, 13 and 14-point wins over Lebanon, New Zealand and France. Against Canada and Spain, Lithuania won by a total of five combined points.

In the tournament, they defeated China 78-67 in the round of 16 and then Argentina by 19, dropping 104 points on the former gold medal winners.

Who are their best players?
Lithuania is a pretty proud basketball country with a good history of winning and talented players. And one thing about them, is that they're missing some of their finest players. Sarunas Jasikevicius, Darius Songaila and projected lottery pick Donatas Motiejunas are all sitting out.

In Turkey, Lithuania has relied heavily on former Denver Nugget and new Toronto Raptor Linas Kleiza. Currently, Kleiza is averaging 19.1 points per game, good for sixth place at the Worlds. Against Argentina, Kleiza dropped 17 on 7-14 shooting and in the other big games (China, Canada and Spain), Kleiza averaged 21.6 ppg.

Besides him, Lithuania has three players averaging over nine points a game in forwards Jonas Maciulis and Martynas Pocius and guard Mantas Kalnietis.

What did we learn from the first meeting?
Not a whole lot. It was the first friendly for the U.S. against someone other than themselves and everyone looked fairly rusty. Durant went just 4-14 from the floor for 15 points. The two teams turned it over a combined 40 times and both shot right at 40 percent. Neither team opened up the playbook a ton and neither showed a whole lot.

It was clear from that game though that the U.S. held a pretty huge advantage in transition while Lithuania tried to run crisp in halfcourt sets. Lithuania wants to slow down. The U.S. wants to speed up.

How do they match up with the USA?
Not great. Well, not great for their sakes. Team USA is supremely more athletic. Kleiza will likely get the call against Durant, but even still, that's not a good matchup for Lithuania. Their guards will have a great deal of trouble running with Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon and someone like Chauncey Billups might see a million open shots.

Lithuania isn't afraid to zone and that may be what they do against the U.S. for most of the day. The matchups just don't play to their favor in really any way. They do hold a size advantage with nobody under 6'3 plus a guy that's 7'3, but that size differential hasn't affected the U.S. much to this point.

They can score and shoot though. They are sixth in the tournament in scoring per game at 81.9. They are also in the top 10 in rebounding. (The U.S. is first in both categories.) Against Argentina they shot 53 percent from the floor, 12-24 from 3 and had seven players score 12 or more points. So they're well-rounded and can put the ball in the basket.

Can Lithuania win?
Yes. Absolutely. In any tournament, when you're playing a hot team, it's reason for concern. Momentum and confidence is a strange thing in competition.

Other than the Brazil game, this is the first one Americans should actually fear. Russia put up a tough fight but they never had the horses to really make a push to win. While Lithuania doesn't have the matchups, they do have a reliable scorer than can carry them in Kleiza. If Russia had a player like that, they could've posed a much tougher task for the States.

It will likely be a lower scoring affair as Lithuania will try and slow the game down. I imagine it will be a couple possession game in the fourth, though the U.S. should handle business. But Lithuania is hot and they're hitting shots. If they get the 3 rolling like they did against Argentina and Kevin Durant isn't there to bail out Team USA again, it could be a long day for the red, white and blue.
Posted on: September 9, 2010 1:22 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2010 1:23 pm
 

Team USA fights off tough Russians, 89-79

Posted by Royce Young

After a bogus whistle blew up a U.S. fast break in the second quarter with Russia hanging tight, some might have started to have flashbacks to the controversial gold medal game that took place 38 years ago to the day.

But Kevin Durant and company weren't going to let a repeat of the 1972 Olympic Games happen as Team USA advances to the semifinals with a 89-79 win over Russia. Durant led the way with 33 points on 11-19 shooting with Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook keying a big third quarter with 12 points and three steals off the bench.

Late in the second quarter though, things weren't going well for Team USA. Russia was hitting shots, outrebounding the Americans and held a 35-30 lead. But just the way it was planned, Durant took over igniting a 12-0 that helped the U.S. go ahead 42-35 and secure a lead they would never lose.

The U.S. did a splendid job of taking care of the ball, turning it over only eight times and only three times in the second half. That kind of ball security was necessary too, as Russia was playing smart upset-style basketball. Running quality halfcourt sets, hitting shots and defending at a high level. If the U.S. had gotten sloppy, this could have been a different result.

Westbrook was part of a big third quarter that saw the U.S. take complete control of the game. Westbrook had gambled some in the first half on defense, but in the third came up with three steals, all leading to run-out dunks. He was flying all over the court, stealing passes, firing up teammates and scoring at the rim. Westbrook was a major part in this win, and his main contribution was energy.

Lamar Odom was quietly outstanding on the block, scoring six points and grabbing 12 rebounds. He was called upon to defend Russia's large front line and he did a pretty terrific job of it. Despite the size differential, Russia only held a four rebound edge against the U.S. and only had nine offensive rebounds.

A lot of Knicks fans had their eyes on summer signee Timofey Mozgov of Russia. The 7'1 center was solid, scoring 13 on 6-9 shooting. But it was pretty clear that unless Mozgov caught the ball near the rim, he wasn't scoring. Odom was able to push him away from the block and limit scoring touches for the big Russian. It's easy to get excited about Mozgov because he has nice hands, great size and has played well in Turkey, but as Frank Isola of the NY Daily News pointed out, Hamed Haddadi also averaged 20 points per game in the Worlds. So maybe chill that exciting just a little.

Russia is a well-coached unit that focuses on controlling the game. And Team USA did a good job of playing to its own strengths and not letting Russia dictate tempo of the game. This was a dangerous game for the Americans because Russia was had a game plan going in and they were hitting shots early on. Commentator Fran Fraschilla compared it to an 8-seed versus a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament and he was right - it definitely had that feel.

It was a test that the U.S. passed. The Russians took their best shot and Team USA remained focused, came out with energy and the star players carried the load. Durant held up to the pressure of having to shoulder some weight, putting up big numbers, scoring in key moments and also, by playing a ton. Durant didn't check out of the game until there was 47 seconds left in the third.

As the tournament rolls into the semifinals, the Americans are going to face some adversity. There will be more situations where Durant will be called upon to score, Odom will have to rebound, Derrick Rose will have to create and Eric Gordon will have to hit shots. Today, the U.S. did all of the above. And heading into the toughest part of the tourney, that's what it will take if Team USA wants to come home happy.

Team USA gets the winner of Argentina and Lithuania in the semifinals Saturday.
Posted on: September 7, 2010 4:31 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 4:33 pm
 

U.S. takes on hungry Russians in quarterfinals

Posted by Royce Young

It may have been a cakewalk for the U.S. in the round of 16, but the road to gold in Turkey is about to start getting a little more difficult. Next up is Russia for Team USA (Thursday at 11 a.m. ET), a squad with talent, size and a coach hungry to beat his native country.

How did they get here?
Thus far in the World Championships, Russia holds a nice 5-1 record. They went 4-1 in group play with only a 9-point loss to Turkey being a blemish. Russia dispatched New Zealand relatively easily in the round of 16 with Timofey Mozgov leading the way with 16 points and seven rebounds. Russia beat down New Zealand with tough defense, smart offense and by taking care of the ball. New Zealand shot only 31 percent from the floor and never had any rhythm on the offensive end.

Who are their best players?
Russia's best player, Vik Khryapa hasn't played in the championships yet, and will likely sit out against the U.S. with a nagging injury. So after him, there's a Sergey Monya, a quality 6'9 swingman that can shoot, Andrey Vorontsevich who had 18 points and 11 rebounds against New Zealand, Sasha Kahn who you might remember playing for the University of Kansas and Timo Mosgov who signed with the Knicks this offseason and is 7'3.

Mozgov has been impressive in the tournament thus far, leading the Russians in scoring at 12.5 ppg in just around 18 minutes a game. He's displayed a wide range of ability and has become a major piece to the Russians success. Vorontsevich has hit 9-18 from 3 so far in Turkey and combining him with Monya, the Russians have shooters.

Who is their coach?
Leading the Russians is David Blatt, a duel citizen for both the U.S. and Israel. Currently, he's the coach for Maccabi Tel Aviv. Blatt played point guard for Pete Carril at Prince from 1977-1981. He runs a version of the Princeton offense that uses a bunch of cuts and offside movement to free up passing lanes.

Some bulletin board fodder from aforementioned coach?

Everyone remembers the famous 1972 gold medal game right? The USSR defeated the Americans in what some would call a "controversial" game. Basically the officials stole the game from the U.S. Doug Collins famously left his silver medal in Munich and has never held it. But the current Russian coach thinks the game was fair.

"By the way, there's a wonderful film about that, and I hate to say it as an American, but it looks like the Russians were right," Blatt told Chris Sheridan of ESPN. "The American team was not cheated. Funny things happened, but in reality it was fair. It was fair."

Well, watch the ending of the game and tell me how it could possibly be fair. I'm sure Coach K has relayed this message to his team. If there was any extra motivation needed, Blatt just provided it.

How does the U.S. match up with Russia?
Russia has one of the most apt players to defend Kevin Durant in the 6'9 Monya, but still, even star NBA defenders can't hold Durant down. The Russians will struggle with Team USA's speed and athleticism, though Russia does have size. Mozgov is over seven feet, plus there's Kahn and Alexey Zhukanenko who are both 6'11.

Where Russia will struggle is with the guards. Pressure from Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon will likely force a number of turnovers from Russia, as their guards aren't strong with the ball.

But there will be more focus on Lamar Odom, Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler in this one than any game before because Russia wants to use the post to get open looks for the guards and forwards. Rebounding will be key so we might see more Love early on than we have yet. At least I hope so.

Can they beat the U.S.?
This should be a better game than Angola. Russia has some talent, some size and players that can actually match up against the U.S. Plus, they have a coach that won't allow them to get into a free-flowing affair like Angola did. This is a much better team than what Team USA saw Monday.

But they don't have a chance. Russia will try and make the game ugly by grinding out long possessions and scrapping defensively, but there's just too much of a talent differential. It won't be a 55-point spanking, but it will most likely be at least double-digits. And with Blatt's recent comments, Team USA might make it a point to add a few more buckets than usual.
Posted on: September 6, 2010 1:04 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2010 1:05 pm
 

Team USA dismantles Angola, 121-66

Posted by Royce Young

Some thought Team USA might have been holding something back in group play. Maybe they were, or maybe they're just hitting their stride.

The U.S. obliterated Angola 121-66 in a game that was only close at 0-0. It was 33-13 after the first, 65-38 at the half and in the end, 55 points separated the two teams.

This was easily the Team USA's best offensive performance as the U.S. hit triple-digits for only the second time in the tournament, scored the most points, shot a sizzling 53 percent and knocked down 18 3s on 38 shots. Kevin Durant and Chauncey Billups did most of the damage scoring 17 and 19 points, respectively, with all of Durant's coming in the first half. Rudy Gay and Eric Gordon both added 17 as well.

One of the most impressive and encouraging aspects of the game was the way the U.S. moved the ball. Team USA finished with 28 assists for their 41 made baskets, a pretty incredible number. Plus, the U.S. only turned the ball over four times and didn't have their third until the fourth quarter. It was near flawless offensive execution for the U.S., something that they had struggled with the past three games.

Angola helped some in getting the U.S.'s offense moving though. Angola didn't play hardly any man-to-man defense, but rather deferred to a very soft zone, letting the U.S.'s shooters have almost any look they wanted. Billups, who came in 4-19 on 3s in the previous five games, went 5-7 from deep. Gordon went 5-6 from 3. Derrick Rose hit 3 of 4. It was a shooting gallery for the U.S. and Angola didn't mind.

On top of the soft defense, Angola also never even attempted to control tempo. They were perfectly content with playing at the U.S.'s pace and as a result, didn't have a lot of of offensive consistency. The game was mainly free-flowing, especially on the Angola end. And the Angolans lack of size didn't help either. The U.S. won the boards 43-23 and snagged 19 offensive rebounds.

Angola's top scorer Olimpio Cipriano didn't play because of an injury sustained against Germany, but Joaquim Gomes had a nice night for Angola. He finished with 21 points on 9-12 shooting to lead all scorers.

Moving forward, there's not a ton to take from the game other than it looks like the U.S. is hitting on all cylinders. Which is obviously what you want to be doing heading deeper into the knockout round. The road is going to be much tougher than it was today, with a likely matchup against a quality Russia squad next.

Team USA has off Tuesday and Wednesday and will play the winner of Russia-New Zealand, who play a little later today.
Posted on: September 2, 2010 11:12 am
 

Team USA cruises past Tunisia, finishes 5-0

Posted by Royce Young

Team USA had it completely on cruise control from the outset, coasting through 40 minutes against Tunisia in a somewhat lackluster 92-57 win, or as lackluster a 35-point blowout can be. The U.S. finishes 5-0 in group play.

At the half, the U.S. only led 39-33 and held a two-point lead with two minutes before the break. It wasn't sloppy offense or defense really, just a lack of interest. The intensity was at an all-time low and a general carelessness in taking smart shots or fighting through screens.

Reasons for the U.S.'s lack of focus include, Tunisia is regarded as maybe the worst team in the tournament, plus the game was completely meaningless for the U.S. That's really no excuse for coasting, though the game was nothing more than a scrimmage. One of the fears of the last two games against Iran and Tunisia is developing poor habits going into the knockout round. Though at the same time, Coach K might be fine with Team USA taking things lightly and resting mentally and physically going into the tournament.

The final result was never in doubt and it was only a matter of time until the U.S. flipped the switch and put Tunisia away, winning the second half 53-24. Eric Gordon did the most flipping, hitting four second half 3s and finished with a game-high 21 points. Kevin Durant finished with 14 on 5-9 shooting.

Russell Westbrook provided a few fireworks with a couple of loud dunks in the second half, but other than that, this was about as bland a game as there is. The starters barely played with Team USA's second unit handling pretty much the entire second half.

But the point is, Team USA took care of business all five games, even if some were uglier than others. Some expected a slip here or there against one of these teams and there really never was a question, outside of Brazil. But the U.S. is in charge heading into the knockout round and with a better second half against Tunisia and a well rested squad, everything is set up for a quality run.

Because of Australia beating Angola, Team USA will draw Angola in the round of 16.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 1:51 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 1:53 pm
 

It was a bit ugly, but the U.S. beats Iran 88-51

Posted by Royce Young

In a game that was really decided before it started, Team USA handled Iran 88-51 Wednesday. But despite the lopsided score, there was a bit of a sour taste left after the final whistle.

The first quarter was fairly ugly and the U.S. played relatively sloppy throughout. How does the saying go, you have to walk before you can run? Or something like that? That was Team USA's problem against Iran today, especially in the early going. The U.S. tried to blow out the overmatched Iranians in the first 10 minutes.

It was like they were trying to prove how good they really are in a matter of minutes, instead of just playing within the flow of the game. Everything was rushed offensively, they tried to fast break when it wasn't there, they gambled on passes constantly and forced up a bunch of shots early in the 24. After the first, Team USA only held a six-point lead, 19-13. Commentator Fran Fraschilla compared it well to a 2-seed playing a 15-seed in the NCAA tournament. The final result was likely already decided, but the favored team was just trying too hard.

But eventually the U.S. found its rhythm and started playing its game. What it really took was one player settling down and getting Team USA relaxed and into its game. One would of course expect that to be Kevin Durant, but it turned out to be the other Kevin that provided a much needed spark. In his first four minutes on the floor, Love poured in nine straight points and snagged three boards, as he and Team USA second unit really got the team moving.

The second half was a different story as the U.S. forced turnovers, got in transition and played solid halfcourt offense and defense. Still, it wasn't as crisp as most expect and would like to see, but the fact is Team USA took care of Iran just the way it should. The main positive was the U.S.'s man-to-man defense which was pretty terrific. Iran's slower guards never had a chance to breathe and Hamed Haddadi, Iran's main threat, wasn't able to get many quality touches on the post.

But man, credit Iran. They played as hard as any team I've seen in a double-digit game. Haddadi finished with 19 points and had probably 19 huge smiles. The Iran team had a great attitude throughout and grinded for all 40 minutes. The Iranians deserve a lot of credit for their performance, even if they were on the wrong end of a loss. Iran struggled mightily on offense, shooting only 30 percent and turning the ball over 24 times.

I think most were hoping for a tidy blowout to feel better about the close call against Brazil. And while the U.S. definitely didn't necessarily ease any concerns, in the end it was a 37-point dispatching of an overmatched Iranian squad. The starters didn't play much at all in the second half and after the first two minutes of the second quarter, the game wasn't ever in question. Nobody really stuck out statistically for Team USA as Durant led the way with 12 points, Love 13 and Derrick Rose 11.

Team USA goes to 4-0 and wraps up Group play against Tunisia at 9:30 a.m. ET Thursday.
Posted on: August 30, 2010 4:58 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2010 5:04 pm
 

Team USA slips by feisty Brazil, 70-68

Posted by Royce Young

It took a couple of missed free throws and two missed layups from Brazil inside of five seconds left for Team USA to squeak out a 70-68 victory Monday. The game was close throughout, with Brazil actually leading for a large portion. But Kevin Durant's 27 points and 10 rebounds powered the U.S. past Leandro Barbosa's talented and scrappy Brazil squad.

While obviously a win is what is important, there are a few concerns to point out here. Brazil controlled the tempo of the game and nearly pulled off the win playing without two of its best players in Nene and Anderson Varejao . Plus, we really saw is how vulnerable Team USA can be. While Durant was obviously excellent, there were times in the second half where it was hard to picture where the U.S. would get points from. The crucial possessions became a lot of one-on-one with little ball movement or even really, penetration. It felt like everyone was waiting for a talented teammate to make a play. Team USA scored just nine points in the final frame. The good news is, Brazil only scored nine as well.

It was also interesting how Coach K went with one consistent lineup throughout the entire fourth quarter, and really most of the second half. These guys have played three games in three days since arriving in Turkey and instead of utilizing a really deep bench, the starters stayed in almost the entire 40 minutes. Lamar Odom was clearly fried late in the fourth, Derrick Rose was huffing and puffing and there just wasn't a ton spirit in their steps late. Coach K used Tyson Chandler for a short spell on Tiago Splitter in the third which worked well, but never came back to him. Kevin Love, who was outstanding yesterday, only played a handful of minutes.  There was little Rudy Gay, little Eric Gordon, no Stephen Curry, little Russell Westbrook and no Danny Granger.

But thank goodness for Durant. Without him, Team USA truly wouldn't have had any idea where the points would've come from. Chauncey Billups had 15, but a few questionable pull-ups from him nearly put the U.S. in a tough spot. Example: With about 20 seconds left and time on the shot clock with the U.S. up two, instead of running the offense throughout Durant, Billups handled the ball almost exclusively and hoisted a long 2-pointer. It clanged and gave Brazil a chance to tie or win.

Team USA couldn't get its lightning quick transition game going and therefore, was stuck toiling away in the halfcourt . Billups interestingly ran point over Rose, and honestly, there was just a lot of dribbling, one pass and then a contested shot. It was the kind of offense that surely Jay Triano (the U.S.'s offensive coordinator) had to pull what little hair he has remaining out. Team USA turned the ball over 21 times, with Durant giving it away eight times. I'd call it sloppy, but really it was just bad offense with no fast break opportunities. Brazil only had seven offensive rebounds and tried to limit U.S. run-outs by not crashing the offensive glass and instead getting back. And it clearly worked.

Brazil started out red hot, hitting 12 of its first 16 shots, including five 3s in the first quarter and 7-11 at the half. But the green and gold cooled, finishing around 42 percent and 10-27 from deep. Barbosa , who hit his first three 3-pointers, finished with 14 points on 5-18 shooting, including 3-13 from 3. Marcus Vinicius who spent a little time with the Hornets, had 14 points hitting on 4-5 3s, and Spurs signee Tiago Splitter showcased some of his ability, scoring 13 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Splitter used both hands extremely well and ran the pick-and-roll beautifully. Save for some foul trouble, Splitter had a very nice game.

If anyone is stunned by the close score or how Team USA looked very beatable, you shouldn't be. This U.S. squad isn't invincible. It's very good and in the right kind of game, darn near unbeatable. But against a smart, tactical unit like Brazil with players like Vinicius who can shoot, Splitter who can post and a coach like Ruben Magnano (who was the architect of the 2004 Argentina team that took gold) who is one of the best at game-planning for one specific team, Brazil posed a tough test.

But in the end, the U.S. won the game and moved to 3-0. Don't disrespect Brazil by thinking the Team USA nearly choked one away. It was a good game because Brazil has a very good team. There's not a ton of excuse for the lapse in offensive execution, but still, the U.S. improved to 3-0 taking control of Group B and also care of its three toughest group games in three days. Now it should be able to cakewalk to a 5-0 finish by dispatching Tunisia and Iran in the last two.

Team USA has the day off Tuesday and faces Iran Wednesday at 12 ET.
Posted on: August 29, 2010 12:56 pm
 

Durant leads the U.S. past Slovenia 99-77

"" Posted by Royce Young

Team USA used pressure defense, a massive edge on the glass and some hot shooting to roll past a quality Slovenia squad 99-77 Sunday. Kevin Durant keyed things offensively for the U.S. with 22 on 8-13 shooting while Kevin Love anchored the interior with 10 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

What worked for the U.S. today against Slovenia was again the formula the Americans have used in previous international games - defense that turns to offense. The U.S. forced turnovers and immediately went into the transition game, but the other thing they did was force almost all long jump shots which led to long rebounds and run-outs. Slovenia had NBA player Primoz Brezec on the inside, but a combination of Love and Lamar Odom did a solid job limited low post touches for the big Slovenian.

And while the U.S. is famously undersized with only one true center on the squad, they outrebounded a much bigger Slovenian team 51-24. Besides Love, Odom added nine boards, Derrick Rose six, Russell Westbrook five and Durant four. It was a lesson in team rebounding and Team USA had everyone hitting the glass, grabbing rebounds and then immediately breaking out into the open court.

Durant showcased how electric and unguardable he can be, scoring 22 points in only about two and half quarters of play. But again, his passing continues to be impressive. He finished with four assists, but as Slovenia focused more on Durant, he dumped off to teammates cutting to the basket. Everyone understands how ridiculous Durant can be as a scorer, but I think the NBA is about to be introduced to a much more well-rounded KD this October.

And while Durant was absolutely stellar, Kevin Love probably gets the game ball. He provided instant energy off the bench, fought on the glass and was able to give some semblance of a post game for the U.S. Tyson Chandler was brought on to play the big man for Team USA, but Love not only played his way into the regular rotation, but might be pushing for a starting spot.

Slovenia planned to rely on Goran Dragic to get his offensive game going, but never did get on track. The Phoenix Suns point guard only had seven points on only 2-8 shooting. Team USA focused on him, hounding him with a combination of Rose and Westbrook, a duo that never let Dragic breathe enough to get his offense going.

Things could have gotten a little tight for the States early as Slovenia cut an early 14-point U.S. lead to five early in the second quarter. The U.S. was in foul trouble almost across the board but weathered a quick Slovenian spurt and busted out of the halftime break with a quick 13-0 run which put Slovenia away.

Team USA will face its toughest test tomorrow against Brazil at 2:30 ET on ESPN.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com