Kevin Durant had 3 of his 4 game total assists during one stretch of the quarter. The starter's defense continues to be a weak point as three of the five US starters finished with negative plus/minus numbers.
Klay Thompson scores a team-high 30 points to lead U.S. past France, 100-97. Maybe this is what happens when you send your not-quite-A-team, don't given them much practice time, and ask them to compete against teams that have been playing together for years.
This is no aberration, folks. Then came the 94-91 nail-biter against Serbia, which dazzled from inside and out.
Other standouts included USA's Kyrie Irving, whose 12 assists tied a team record in a game, and France's Nando de Colo and Thomas Heurtel, who scored 18 points apiece. The U.S. has had a tough time containing the opposition's best playmakers for three consecutive games now, and letting them feast on the halfhearted defense of Melo, Irving, and Boogie Cousins is playing with fire. Carmelo Anthony is Team USA's all-time leading scorer.
Talk about a bad twofer: they don't know this league and they don't know each other.
While the performance has been uneven, Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski remained unconcerned, insisting there is only one statistic that matters and that is the win column, where his team is flawless.
With the win, Team USA is the No. 1 seed after going undefeated in pool play. As it comes to an end, the outcome remains very much in doubt. "I will say that he had a great career regardless of what other people say".
"They're a lot like Serbia in that they can really make you look silly on defense".
While the USA dominated for three-quarters, it struggled to close in the final period.
"You have to play a near-perfect game to beat them".
By comparison to the sometimes slower and more structured National Basketball Association style, top worldwide play is marked by constant passing and player movement as teams work deep into their possessions for better shots. Every team can win on any night and any team can lose any time it steps on the floor.
Team USA's offense has been stagnant over the past few games.
Tom Thibodeau can't be sleeping too well on that cruise ship they call home.
Thompson's "confidence is sky-high, always", said teammate Kevin Durant.
This team does but has gotten him only 10 shots over the last two games.
George was wrong. And now things get serious.
If not for Klay Thompson's breakout game, the Americans may have lost.
The blowouts aren't coming.
"Personally, I felt we were going to dominate these games that they were going to come easy", American guard Paul George told reporters.
There was, after the close call against Australia, a temptation to chalk up that game as one that would jolt the US into regrouping and playing with a sharper focus, that they would morph into the dominant group they were expected to be.