Pesky Russians Await USA in Quarterfinals

September 6, 2010 – 3:12 pm by admin

Well, it’s good to see the latest version of USA basketball has enjoyed the rite of passage that is trouncing the Angolans during an international tournament Monday afternoon.

Team USA looked brutally efficient in a 121-66 win that set up a FIBA World Championship quarterfinal matchup against the pesky Russia, which beat New Zealand later in the day.

Usually it’s pretty easy to pick apart some of the deficiencies in a Team USA win, and often we will pontificate on how those will come back to bit them against the world’s elite teams, but truth be told, other than a few defensive lapses when the game was out of hand, there wasn’t much not to like about the game against Angola.

Defensive pressure allowed the Americans to play at their pace and a soft “summer league” zone, as analyst Fran Fraschilla called it, set up a shooting exhibition.

Chauncey Billups led Team USA with 19 points on 5 of 7 from behind the 3-point line. Our favorite former Hoosier (I kid, I kid) Eric Gordon had 17 on 5 of 6 from down town. Kevin Durant and Rudy Gay had 17 a piece, respectively.

All in all the Americans shot 47 percent from distance and 53 percent overall.

But now that we’re into the late stages of the tournament that offensive efficiency will be tested. Angola plays a NBA-style game with basically no NBA players. Thursday’s game against Russia will prove a test in patience and knocking down jump shots against a matchup zone.

Then again, there’s no reason not to be in the semifinals come Saturday.

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