Skip to content

USA sails past New Zealand for easy 98-71 win behind Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried

Sep 2, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT

Anthony Davis Anthony Davis

Since a lot of big men stayed away from Team USA this summer — Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge among them — the American squad on paper looked perimeter oriented. It was going to be about the guards in transition and raining threes on opponents.

Through three games at the World Cup, it has been the USA bigs that have stole the show.

Tuesday it was Anthony Davis — 21 points on 13 shots, plus 9 rebounds — and the energy of Kenneth Faried with 15 points and 11 rebounds that anchored an easy Team USA win over New Zealand, 98-71. Team USA shot 51.5 percent for the game to New Zealand’s 40.3 percent in a game that was never in doubt once All Blacks finished their Haka pre-game dance.

The USA is now 3-0 in pool play with a game Wednesday against the Dominican Republic and Thursday against the Ukraine. Both of those also should be comfortable wins for Team USA, which will win the group handily. After that comes the single-elimination knockout stage next week.

On Sunday a veteran Turkey squad laid out a blueprint for how to slow the game down and beat the Americans, but New Zealand just doesn’t have the players to execute that plan. They are without Steven Adams of the Thunder, the one big man who might have been able to match some of the energy and athleticism of Team USA up front. The talent gap was stark in this one and New Zealand could not control the pace (and if you’re going to beat the USA you have to slow the game down).

Faried helps spark that pace for the Americans. Back during training camp Mike Krzyzewski described Faried as an “energy specialist” but one he got thrown into the starting lineup when Durant bolted. Faried has been exactly what the team needed — there are guys on that roster who can coast for stretches (I’m looking at you, James Harden). Faried is the antidote for that — his hustle and effort infects the starting lineup. He brings defense and energy.

That energy had Team USA up early (and by 22 by the half) as they were getting points inside and Stephen Curry was hitting some shots from the outside (he had 12 points on the game, as did fellow “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson). Harden chipped in 13. As teams have to start packing it in on the USA bigs the guards should start to get better looks — if Team USA starts to move the ball better.

Of interest was that Coach K started Derrick Rose over Kyrie Irving for the second half, letting him get some run with the main guys to see how that went. Rose wasn’t terribly impressive, going 1-of-6 shooting for just two points. After the game Krzyzewski said the plan is for Rose to play in both of the next two games.

If you want to pick apart the USA their half court offense is a bit stagnant. They run some high pick-and-roll but basically they have a lot of one-on-one play, something they can get away with against New Zealand but could be an issue if they see Lithuania in the knockout round, and certainly vs. Spain in the gold medal game. On the defensive end of the court the USA tends to look for the aggressive play and lose their guys on back-cuts in system offenses, leading to some easy buckets allowed. Better teams will exploit that.

It’s the kind of thing Krzyzewski needs to show them on film and start to get fixed. It just didn’t matter against New Zealand Tuesday (and will not the next two days of group play, either).

Latest Posts
  1. Chris Paul posts self-mocking meme after getting crossed over by Stephen Curry

    Apr 1, 2015, 9:50 AM EDT

    chrispaultwistermeme

    The Internet went nuts with memes of Paul falling down, and he got in on the fun himself.

  2. Old school Nets’ coach Lionel Hollins doesn’t believe in resting players

    Apr 1, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Hollins believes what he believes, evidence to the contrary be damned.

  3. Blake Griffin dropped 40 on Golden State in loss (VIDEO)

    Apr 1, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Blake Griffin, James Michael McAdoo, Marreese Speights AP

    He was the reason the Clippers were close to the Warriors.

  4. Five Things We Learned in NBA Tuesday: Golden State exposed Clippers’ defense

    Apr 1, 2015, 1:34 AM EDT

    Matt Barnes, Stephen Curry AP

    We may have to watch the Nets in the playoffs. Lord help us all.

  5. Stephen Curry drops Chris Paul with behind-the-back move (VIDEO)

    Apr 1, 2015, 12:50 AM EDT

    Stephen Curry, Chris Paul Stephen Curry, Chris Paul

    Curry just dropped the best defensive point guard in the NBA.

  6. Anthony Davis says James Harden should be MVP

    Mar 31, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    Curry and Harden seem to be the frontrunners.

  7. Kevin Durant posts picture from hospital bed, thanks fans, “NBA brothers”

    Mar 31, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    2015 NBA All-Star Game Getty Images

    “Not what I envisioned coming into this season. But I’m here and ready to conquer this journey.” —Kevin Durant

  8. Shaq takes shots at Lakers, Clippers during Justin Bieber roast

    Mar 31, 2015, 7:59 PM EDT

    Shaquille O'Neal AP

    Which is easier to insult, the Lakers or Justin Bieber?

  9. Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell, Terry Rozier declare for NBA draft

    Mar 31, 2015, 7:20 PM EDT

    Northern Iowa v Louisville AP

    Harrell a potential lottery pick, Rozier a potential first rounder

  10. Celebrating the bond between Spurs, San Antonio

    Mar 31, 2015, 6:29 PM EDT

    Lupe Lemos Lupe Lemos

    It’s impossible to ever really define and entire large city in one bit of writing. But this story comes as close to defining the intricate relationship of San Antonio with the Spurs as you are going to see.

  11. Stop judging J.J. Redick by his Duke days if you haven’t already

    Mar 31, 2015, 5:38 PM EDT

    J.J. Redick, Avery Bradley AP

    Redick, who once looked like a bust given oversized expectations, playing big role for surging Clippers

  12. Phil Jackson asks Knicks fans to “remain optimistic”

    Mar 31, 2015, 3:44 PM EDT

    New York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Knicks fans should be patient with this season. Optimistic… that’s a tough sell.

  13. LeBron says he’s ‘got three very good friends in this league,’ none play for the Cavaliers

    Mar 31, 2015, 2:59 PM EDT

    Lebrion James, Dwyane Wade AP

    LeBron names his three, and says after that he has ‘a bunch of teammates.’

  14. Report: Rockets’ Patrick Beverley to need four months of recovery following season-ending surgery

    Mar 31, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Patrick Beverley AP

    It had been hoped that Beverley might be available to return later in the postseason.

  15. Thunder say Kevin Durant underwent successful bone graft surgery, will return in 4-6 months

    Mar 31, 2015, 12:40 PM EDT

    Kevin Durant AP

    We already knew Durant was done for the season, but the Thunder have updated his status.

Featured video

Clippers playoffs? MCW shooting? Your twitter questions answered.
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. H. Whiteside (6247)
  2. K. Durant (5578)
  3. D. Wade (5408)
  4. K. Martin (5296)
  5. K. Lowry (5229)
  1. G. Monroe (5193)
  2. D. Rose (5071)
  3. P. George (4908)
  4. B. Knight (4843)
  5. R. Rubio (4782)