As expected, the United States began the FIBA World Cup with an absolute dismantling of Finlad by a final score of 114-55. The 59-point deficit was the largest of any FIBA game since NBA players began participating in the games.
Finland scored the first basket of the game, but never came close to tying the Americans for the balance of the game. The obvious strength and athleticism advantage that the United States held was clear while guarding the Finland’s offensive attack (they scored just 55 points, after all), but the Finnish simply could not keep the U.S. out of the paint on the other end of the floor.
Finland’s starting center, Gerald Lee, accrued three fouls just two minutes and two seconds into the game, which only hurt Finland more in trying to resist the consistently potent American offensive assault.
The U.S.A. started Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kenneth Faried, and Anthony Davis, and led by a 12-8 score before Derrick Rose replaced Irving. It seems as though Mike Krzyzewski’s goal is to ease Rose into action in the early round games that the United States shouldn’t have any problem with, and by the time the squad reaches the final rounds of competition, it would not be a surprise to see Rose in the starting lineup.
After one-quarter, the U.S. held a 31-16 lead, but didn’t extend their lead to double-digits until the quarter was more than half of the way gone. The second quarter, however, was when the United States finally flexed it’s muscles and put the game away before halftime.
Indeed, Finland scored a grand total of two points in the second frame. The U.S. tallied 29 points of their own, and the halftime score was 60-18.
Ultimately, nobody on the U.S. roster needed to play heavy minutes, and Krzyzewski was afforded the luxury of spreading around the minutes. Klay Thompson actually ended up leading the team in scoring with 18 points off the bench on 4 of 7 shooting from long-range and 7 of 10 shooting overall from the floor.
Davis scored 17 points on 6 of 8 from the field, and DeMarcus Cousins added 9 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Everyone on the roster scored at least 4 points.
The only real surprise in this contest was the fact that the United States put up 114 points in a 40-minute game (four 10-minute quarters). This game was never going to be close, but 114 points is still crazy.
Next up for the United States is a Sunday night match-up with Turkey, who overcame a late 11-point deficit to New Zealand. Omer Asik is the only current NBA player that will suit up for Turkey, and they shouldn’t offer all that much more resistance than Finland did on Saturday.