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Team USA trails at the half, then pulls away for 98-77 win over Turkey at FIBA World Cup

Aug 31, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT

Team USA Showcase Getty Images

Team USA has by far the most individual talent in FIBA World Cup play, but a collection of All-Stars can struggle at times against teams that have had the luxury of playing together for years.

That’s what we saw for much of the first half of USA’s 98-77 win over Turkey on the second day of World Cup action.

The team from Turkey imposed its will over the game’s first 20 minutes, and took a five-point lead into the half by using zone defenses and hitting three-pointers at a high percentage, while USA struggled with turnovers and couldn’t seem to knock down open shots.

Both Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving struggled in a playmaking capacity in the first half, and neither seemed to be able to consistently beat the zone by making the right choices. On the other end of the floor, Turkey slowed the pace to a crawl, and often made USA defend for all 24 seconds of the shot clock, while scoring on enough of those possessions to prevent USA from doing what it does best, which is pushing the tempo and getting out to easy scores in transition.

Eventually, USA matched the effort of the Turkish squad, and led by Kenneth Faried, managed to blow the game open with some active defensive pressure. Faried finished with 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting, to go along with eight rebounds and a few steals. Anthony Davis also got loose on the offensive end, and finished with 19 points of his own.

Derrick Rose wasn’t great in his second straight day of on-court action, and whether due to conditioning or still shaking the rust off, he simply was below average. Rose finished 0-of-4 from the field with two fouls and two turnovers, and was noticeably frustrated with his first half performance.

USA had too much talent, and it all came together for them eventually. But Turkey may have given other teams in this tournament a blueprint of how to take down the heavy favorites: slow the tempo to prevent easy points in transition, play some junk defenses which force playmaking and decision-making in unfamiliar situations, and hope that the shots from beyond the arc fall at a low percentage.

But even if all that happens, if it only continues for half of the game, you’ll still end up losing by 21 points.

  1. jimeejohnson - Aug 31, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Turkey made the USA look like turkeys until the second half, and then it was just a matter of time before Turkey was beaten, but only by 21. Faried played his @ss off and showed a ton of talent, energy, and fortitude. Michael Jordan would have been proud of him. This is a young and very talented Team USA: Davis is a beat and Cousins is pretty damn good, too. Give the Turks credit for making it a game at first, but they were no match for the Americans.

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 31, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      beat = beast

    • Kurt Helin - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      “only by 21?”

  2. campcouch - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    Better team huh.

  3. jvw1982 - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    I liked the pressure that Curry and Klay put on the ball in the second half, impressive…..if team USA gets in real trouble I can see both playing at the same time….I don’t think we have seen the best 5 on the court yet….Davis is scary good, hope they got some help for him in NO this year he going to be a super star that is unstoppable real soon…..Look out Lebron and Durant, he’s my early favorite for MVP next yr….

  4. rrhoe - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    It’s going to be real interesting in CLE with Kyrie Irving that’s for sure,saw too much one-on-one and no passing,at times didn’t even look to pass at that. And while I give James Harden an “A” for effort on defense he leaves alot to be desired. I am truly impressed with Kenneth Faried and Anthony Davis tho’…….

  5. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    Don’t forget that James Harden played some lock down defense.

    • jvw1982 - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:19 PM

      Actually he did, those bail out around the back moves worked against international players not so much in the NBA

  6. innovativethinking87 - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    Rose another quiet night

  7. bhunter1995 - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Translation – The USA team didn’t try for the first half of the game, and then they tried in the second half.

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:03 AM

      Yup. Pretty much. That’s what I got from it.

    • iagofalque - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:20 AM

      Actually first half turkey controlled pace, second half usa. Team qualities made the differance

  8. lazegowizfan95 - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    Kenneth Faried needs to come play with the Wizards somehow he deserves to be on a contending team. Imagine John Wall Kenneth Faried and Bradley Beal on those fast breaks damn they would be highlight machines. Teams won’t even attempt to get back on the break it’s either a Wall or Faried dunk/alleyoop or a Beal trey Wizards would be A1

    • aldavisfortytime - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:50 PM

      The Wizards are a contending team?

      Last year was Faried’s first year NOT in the playoffs. Hell, last year was Denver’s first year not in the playoffs in 10 years—in the West.

      Last year was the Wizard’s first year in the playoffs in almost 10 years—in the East.

      • lazegowizfan95 - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:04 AM

        Denver Nuggets aren’t a bad team by any means the fact is that they aren’t Contenders in the Eastern conference not by a long shot maybe they’ll get the 7th or 8th seed. Wizards however are definitely contenders in the East most people have them as the 3rd or 4th seed but with a guy like Faried added to our team we would have a shot to beat the alpha dog Cavs for sure. Nuggets don’t even give Faried 30 minutes a game they don’t let him show out like I know the Wizards would he only had 27 minutes a game and he had 13 and 8 say Wizards give the guy the minutes he deserves like 30-36 minutes a game he’ll easily have 18 and 10

      • lazegowizfan95 - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:05 AM

        I mean Western conference they need a edit button lol

  9. iagofalque - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Oguz Savas is a below-average defender and not a rim protector in Euroleague level but usa couldnt use the paint when he was on court in first half. Asik was also very solid. When Turkey managed to defend first 6-7 seconds of shot clock and keep the pace slow USA really struggled. This USA have NO CHANCE against Spain.

  10. mungman69 - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:39 AM

    If, when, the Wizards stay healthy they could sneak into the East Finals. Which them.

  11. ausernamethatisavailable - Sep 1, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Gotta love Faried. Undersized but relentless and explosive. I cannot believe he did not get picked in the first round out of college. Sometimes you just have to watch the games.

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