2010 FIBA Worlds: USA-Slovenia Live Blog
FINAL -- U.S. 99, Slovenia 77
Another game, another convicing double-digit blowout for Team USA. After coming out slow against Croatia on Saturday, the U.S. (2-0) made sure history didn't repeat itself on Sunday, outscoring Slovenia 23-11 in the first quarter and cruising to a 22-point victory.
Kevin Durant picked up where he left off and picked apart Slovenia (1-1) with an array of jumpers, dunks and leaners, finishing with a game-high 22 points along with four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Rudy Gay chipped in 16 points off the bench and Russell Westbrook and Andre Igoudala each added 11.
The U.S. shot 57.1 percent from the floor while holding Slovenia to just 37.5 percent shooting. The biggest contrast of all came on the boards. Despite Slovenia trotting out a bigger starting line-up on Sunday, the U.S. out rebounded their European foes, 51-24. Kevin Love, in another brilliant performance off the bench, snagged a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with 10 points in limited action.
The U.S. will play its third pool play game in as many days when they face Brazil (1-0) on Monday (2:30 p.m. EST), a team led by Leandro Barbosa and Tiago Splitter. Before that Group B showdown, Brazil takes on Tunisia later this afternoon.
Fourth quarter, 1:09: The game is winding down, but Westbrook isn't letting up. Another highlight lay-up, drawing the foul and connecting on the enusing free throw. Game balls go to Westbrook, Love and Durant. U.S. 96, Slovenia 71
Fourth quarter, 1:38: Westbrook with another spectacular play -- a running lay-up to the right side. His acceleration is what separates him from Team USA's other guards. Gordon finally connects on a 3, his first points of the game after scoring 16 against Croatia. U.S. 91, Slovenia 69
Fourth quarter, 2:42: Stephen Curry knocks down the triple from the corner to no one's surprise. Okay, maybe Slovenia's. He was pretty open. Samo Udrih - Beno's brother knocks down a FT to give him a team-high 11 points. Nachbar with a pretty reverse on the next play. U.S. 86, Slovenia 64
Fourth quarter, 4:24: Gay hits another 3 to give him 16 points on the day. He's another U.S. player who is just so hard to guard. One second he's hitting a 25-foot jumper, the next he's doing work on the offensive glass scoring on put-backs. Westbrook just blocked a Slovenian player twice his size. Gordon's shooting struggles continue. U.S. 81, Slovenia 61
Fourth quarter, 6:15: Igoudala with another big dunk on a 3-on-1 breakaway. A.I. has 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Looks like his day is done as he sits down on the bench. U.S. 78, Slovenia 56
Fourth quarter, 7:12: Gay knocks down another triple, stretching the U.S.'s lead. All game Slovenia has been too slow to close out on Team USA's array of shooters. Lamar Odom picks up his fifth foul and will have to sit the rest of the game. That means more PT for blog-favorite Kevin Love. U.S. 76, Slovenia 53
Fourth quarter, 7:38: Derrick Rose getting involved early in the fourth quarter. Follows up a nice assist with a bucket of his own. U.S. 73, Slovenia 53
Third quarter -- U.S. 67, Slovenia 46 Slovenia picking it up on defense, led by two consecutive blocks by Gasper Vidmar on Granger and Love. The U.S. played eight solid minutes in the third quarter -- pressing on defense, pushing the ball on offense -- but visibly let up in the final two minutes. Coach K isn't going to try and run up the score, but you can bet he has the U.S. back on the offensive in the fourth.
With one second left in the quarter, Rudy Gay pulls down a huge offensive rebound in traffic and uses his strength to finish at the rim and draw the foul.He makes the FT to push the U.S.'s lead back to 21.
Third quarter, 2:09: Danny Granger checks into the game to give Kevin Durant a rest. Team USA has Granger-Love-Gordon-Westbrook-Gay on the court right now. Love snags another offensive rebound and gets to the line. Telecast tells us Love has 10 points and eight rebounds in eight minutes today. How's that for stuffing the stat sheet? U.S. 63, Slovenia 38
Third quarter, 2:24: Durant with the dish to Love for the two-handed slam. Gordon rims out a 3 then commits a foul on the other end. He's struggled today after being lights out against Croatia. Slovenian Jackie Moon knocks down two free throws to make it a 23-point game. U.S. 61, Slovenia 38
Third quarter, 4:03: Team USA's defense continues to stifle Slovenia and lead to countless easy baskets. Slovenia really getting frustrated -- Dragic, in particular -- and lofting up one bad shot after another. Durant with another 3. If Coach K keeps him in, he might outscore Slovenia single-handedly. U.S. 59, Slovenia 34
Third quarter, 6:17: Rose with a 3 of his own. How unguardable is this guy if he's knocking down treys? Team USA extends its lead to 22 points with a windmill dunk by Andre Igoudala that words can't do justice. Slovenia's coach can't handle his team's breakdown and gets T'd up for his anticts on the sidelines. U.S. 54, Slovenia 32
Third quarter, 7:11: The U.S. just knows exactly what the Slovenians want to do on offense. As I mentioned earlier, they've routinely picked off passes they saw coming a mile away (think: Jay Cutler interception). Billups takes advantage this time with the breakaway lay-up. Durant gets in on the action with a freebie of his own and Lamar Odom follows up with a 3, his first basket of the day. Fast and furious to open the second half. U.S. 49, Slovenia 32
Third quarter, 10:00: Second half about to get under way. With 10-minute quarters and minimal TV timeouts these games really fly by. One note of interest: the U.S. shot 50 percent in the first half, while Slovenia managed just 25 percent from the floor. U.S. 42, Slovenia 28
HALFTIME -- U.S. 42, Slovenia 28 At the break, the U.S. has a 15-point lead despite playing some fairly sloppy basketball in the second quarter. After Eric Gordon provided a huge boost off the bench yesterday, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love are providing the spark today. Durant leads the way with 15 points at the half, four more points than the Slovenian team scored in the first quarter.
The U.S. out rebounded Slovenia 24-9 in the first half, but failed to capitalize on the extra possessions due to turnovers. An unofficial box score says the U.S. turned the ball over 12 times in the first quarter, almost twice as many turnovers as they had all game against Croatia on Saturday.
Slovenia, meanwhile, has to be disappointed with the output they're getting from their NBA trio. Dragic (0 points, 3 fouls), Nachbar (four points on 2-of-6 shooting) and Brezec (seven points) have been lackluster at best.
Second quarter, 1:34: Kevin Love with the play of the day. Zupan was completely locking down his left arm when Love snagged a rebound with only his right (think Chad Ochocinco one-handed catch), and scored on the putback while being fouled and without the ball ever touching his left arm. U.S. 40, Slovenia 27
Second quarter, 1:40: Gordon throws a long pass ahead for another breakaway dunk by Durant (13 points). Slovenia looking a bit discouraged on the offensive end, forcing long jumpers rather than testing Team USA's suspect defense. U.S. 36, Slovenia 25
Second quarter, 2:27: Dragic picks up his third foul. Disappointing showing so far for Steve Nash's understudy. Dragic was sensational in the NBA playoffs this past spring but has been trying to do too much against the U.S. today. Team USA faces Dragic's NBA teammate, Leandro Barbosa, and Brazil tomorrow. U.S. 34, Slovenia 23
Second quarter, 2:38: Looks like the young U.S. players are letting the officiating get under their skin. I'd expect Coach K to point it out at halftime and make sure it comes to an end. Westbrook gets on the scoreboard with a pull-up jumper, then feeds Kevin Love off the pick-and-roll on the next possession for the beautiful and-1 (only to miss the FT). Westbrook really providing a spark off the bench. U.S. 32, Slovenia 23
Second quarter, 3:49: Brezec's NBA experience is apparent -- he's called for an unsuspecting travel like several of the U.S.'s NBA players so far. The 7-foot-2 big man takes out some frustration on the next play with a two-handed dunk, cutting the lead to six points. U.S. 27, Slovenia 21
Second quarter, 4:59: Durant knocks down two free throws to give him 11 points early on. Samo Udrih with a 3 on the other end to respond quickly. Looks like the U.S.'s sloppy quarter is coming in the second period today. U.S. 27, Slovenia 19
Second quarter, 6:21: Whistle, whistle, whistle. The referees are making more noise than the vuvuzelas. Dragic cuts the U.S.'s lead to nine with a free throw. Another travel called on the U.S. Looks like Team USA isn't familiar with what is considered "steps" in international basketball. By the way, my boy Zupan just airballed a 3 then picked up his third foul on the other end. U.S. 25, Slovenia 16
Second quarter, 7:52: Slovenia on a little bit of a run, finding some holes in the U.S.'s swarming press. Nine turnovers early on for Coach K's team, including a few questionable travels and charges. U.S. 25, Slovenia 15
Second quarter, 9:29: Starters back in for Team USA. The U.S. shot 64 percent in the first quarter, with Durant leading the way with seven points and A.I. adding six on 3-of-3 shooting. U.S. 23, Slovenia 11
First quarter - U.S. 23, Slovenia 11 Much better first quarter for the U.S. this time around. After trailing Croatia late in the first period on Saturday, the U.S. made sure not to repeat the same mistake against Slovenia today. They ran their starters hard in the opening minutes and brought on their supersubs off the bench to keep up the pace. Most impressive of all, they held a strong offensive team to just 11 points in the first quarter.
First quarter, 1:25: Slovenia's Miha Zupan has a fan in me. With a headband holding back a culy afro, he kind of looks like the Slovenian Brian Scalabrine. That or Jackie Moon. U.S. 20, Slovenia 9
First quarter, 2:23: Slovenia is playing in the 2010 FIBA Worlds without three of its best players -- Sasha Vujacic, Rasho Nesterovic and Beno Udrih. Then again, Team USA doesn't have LeBron, D-Wade, Carmelo or Dwight Howard, so let's call it even. U.S. 18, Slovenia 9
First quarter, 3:48: I know I'm talking up the offense, but the U.S.'s defense has been just as impressive. Several times Slovenia has telegraphed its passes and the U.S. players have clogged the lanes, leading to steals and breakaway dunks on the other end. Some subs check into the game: Tyson Chandler, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon and Steph Curry. U.S. 84, Slovenia 6
First quarter, 4:50: Kevin Durant is shredding Slovenia early on -- a violent two-handed dunk out of a dead ball. Primoz Brezec on the other end with a nice jumper, but Goran Dragic is already on the bench with two fouls, meaning trouble. Also: Bostjan Nachbar throwing one down himself. U.S. 14, Slovenia 6
First quarter, 7:07: A Durant 3 from the top of the key makes it a 10-2 game. Looks like the U.S. is trying to redeem itself for a sloppy first quarter against Croatia. This Coach K guy really knows what he's doing. U.S. 10, Slovenia 2
First quarter, 7:21: Slovenia with some nice ball movement on offense. With Dragic running the point, things really move quickly. On the other end, Andre Igoudala with a beautiful put-back dunk on a Kevin Durant miss. Showing off some serious ups. U.S. 7, Slovenia 2
First quarter 9:30: Telecast tells us Slovenia has a bit of a home-court advantage today with the fans. But Kevin Durant starting the game with a steal and a breakaway dunk silences them ... for now. U.S. 2, Slovenia 0
First quarter, 10:00: Game just about to get under way. Starting for Slovenia: Jaka Lakovic, Goran Dragic, Uros Slokar, Bostjan Nachbar and Primoz Brezec. A very tall line-up. Also, filled with 50-point words in Scrabble. For the U.S.: the usual starters, Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose, Andre Igoudala, Kevin Durant and Lamar Odom.
Welcome back to SI.com's live blog as we watch Team USA take on Slovenia this morning in the second game of pool play at the FIBA Worlds.
Both the U.S. and Slovenia notched victories in their first games of the tournament Saturday, with the U.S. registering a 106-78 win over Croatia and Slovenia coasting to an 80-56 victory over Tunisia.
Although both teams weren't tested much yesterday, Game 2 should provide more of a competitive balance. Slovenia has three players with significant NBA experience in Goran Dragic, Primoz Brezec and Bostjan Nachbar. The trio combined for 39 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in its 24-point victory against Tunisia.
Meanwhile, the U.S. had five players finish in double-digits against Croatia, with supersub Eric Gordon leading the way with 16 points off the bench and Kevin Durant adding 14 points and eight rebounds. One of the U.S.'s most impressive, yet unheralded, performances came from Kevin Love, who finished with seven points and 10 rebounds in only 13 minutes of play, showing just how deep Mike Krzyzewski's bench really is.
Look for the U.S. to start a line-up of Lamar Odom, Kevin Durant, Andre Igoudala, Derrick Rose and Chauncey Billups once again. Like they did against Croatia, the U.S. will try to utilize its swarming defense and superior athleticism early and often against Slovenia.
For Chris Mannix's analysis of Saturday's U.S.-Croatia game, click here.