After slowly but surely defeating Brazil in their 2nd exhibition game back home in the the United States before the 2012 London Olympics, Team USA is now taking their talents to Europe and took on the British National Team at Manchester, England. Instead of starting slow, like their previous game, Team USA went out and quickly dispatched the British.
Despite a new look starting lineup with Kevin Durant starting for Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams starting for Chris Paul, Team USA still played as if it was an NBA All-Star team taking on an average college team.
Given the opportunity to start, Williams blasted out of the gates and ended up shooting 5 for 6 beyond the three point line and finished with 19 points and dished out 5 assists as well. Unlike new starter Deron Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant had a difficult time finding his rhythm outside of the United States as he finished with 13 points but took 12 attempts to reach that mark. Durant’s somewhat “off-night” included a missed three pointer, a missed dunk, and a missed lay-up. Yikes.
Coming off the bench for the first time, Carmelo Anthony poured in 19 points and only attempted 10 shots.
However, Durant’s NBA side-kick, Russell Westbrook, for me personally was the star of the night. Westbrook finished with 15 points and had 9 assists as well. Just one assist shy of a double-double. Westbrook was able to spread the floor evenly and was capable of hitting the open man for a jump shot or a classic alley-oop from the Americans.
Matt Moore of CBS Sports stated that the way Team USA played today was quite similar to that of the Miami Heat. “Create turnovers with pressure defense using athleticism, get out in transition, finish with dunks. That was the model and it helped USA cruise.”
Defensively, Team USA was on point as they had 16 steals which included 11 from Great Britain’s best players in Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng and former Toronto Raptors starter, Pops Mensah-Bonsu. Deng led the way for the British with 25 points.
In the first quarter, Great Britain kept the game as close as they could by attacking the rim at will and making plays in the paint. Unfortunately, big man Tyson Chandler and the rest of Team USA adjusted and played more half court defense which prevented Great Britain from doing the same things they did that kept them in the game. After Team USA adjusted to Great Britain’s playing style and the new environment they’re playing at, it became a classic Team USA domination.
Team USA’s next game will take them to Barcelona, Spain where they will take on Argentina on July 22. The game will tip-off at 9:30 PM.
For more NBA analysis and opinions, check out Theon’s general NBA blog, THEONBA!