Team USA routs Puerto Rico, final FIBA World Cup roster becomes clear
After a 112-86 win, it looks fairly obvious who will be cut from Team USA.
Team USA’s 12-man roster appears to be set after they beat Puerto Rico 112-86 on Friday at Madison Square Garden. Andre Drummond, Gordon Hayward, Damian Lillard and DeMar DeRozan didn’t play -- while nothing is official, it would be a surprise if any of them made the trip to Spain for the FIBA World Cup.
Stephen Curry led the way with 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, and he also had the play of the night with this pass:
Puerto Rico didn’t just roll over, despite the lopsided final score. It was tied at the end of the first quarter, with J.J. Barea creating most of the offense for their squad. If not for a Klay Thompson buzzer beater, it would've been a two-point game at halftime.
They generally caused trouble in the first half because they spread the floor and did their best Spurs impression. Unfortunately, the best example ended with a miss:
Also, Knicks fans, there was this bit of fun:
Renaldo Balkman is playing for Puerto Rico and dapped up JR and Chris Smith, who are sitting courtside, mid-possession. This game is great.— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) August 23, 2014
Team USA again started Kyrie Irving, Curry, James Harden, Faried and Davis. Irving had 11 points and six assists, but struggled mightily on defense. Given how well Derrick Rose distributed the ball, Irving might find himself back to the bench.
If the four players who received DNP-CDs are indeed going home, the decision to keep Mason Plumlee will be talked about quite a bit. The big man with one year of experience with the Brooklyn Nets was originally on the Select Team, but got called up in order to balance the scrimmages in practice. He has impressed USA Basketball since then.
After watching Plumlee make defensive mistakes against Puerto Rico, though, it’s fair to wonder if Drummond might be the better choice as an active, athletic center. It's also fair to wonder if DeRozan could have been given more of a look after scoring so well when he got on the floor in prior games.
Team USA's last exhibition contest before the FIBA World Cup will be against Slovenia on Aug. 26 in Gran Canaria, Spain.
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