USA Too Much For Iran, Earns 88-51 Win In World Championship Play
Sept. 1, 2010 • Istanbul, Turkey
Powered by a balanced scoring attack that saw all 12 USA players register points, including a team best 13 points from Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), the Americans took control early and sailed on to post an 88-51 victory over Iran (1-3) Tuesday night at Abdi Ipekci Arena in Isanbul, Turkey. The win improved the U.S. record to 4-0 in preliminary play and guaranteed the squad Group B's number one seed for the eighth-finals.
"That's what we wanted to do," said Lamar Odom on the U.S. earning the number one seed for Group B. "We came out, focused on our goal, attained it and now it's time to move on."
The U.S. concludes preliminary
play Thursday versus Tunisia. The medal round eight-finals, which features the
top four teams from each of the four preliminary round groups advancing, will
be played Sept. 4-7. Quarterfinals action is slated for Sept. 8-9, with semifinals
scheduled for Sept. 11 and the gold and bronze medal games will be contested
"We were a little bit fresher today. In our last game, when we played Brazil, that was our sixth game in 10 days in three countries. I just thought we were tired, more mentally than physically. No U.S. team has ever played six games in 10 days in three countries," said USA mentor and Duke University's Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski. "I thought as the game moved along, we got better in the game and we're hoping we can do that again.
"It's just a long race and people want to judge you by every game instead of looking at your body of work. Our kids have done a good job, and they did a good job again in a hard-fought game today."
U.S. forward Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) opened the scoring with a traditional three-point play, but Iran connected on a jumper and a 3-pointer to grab a 5-2 lead. The lead was short lived as Durant and Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers) hit threes on consecutive possessions and the USA had the lead for good, 9-5.
With the USA holding a 12-10 advantage with 3:27 left in the first quarter, the Americans expanded their lead to 19-10 after scoring seven consecutive points as Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies) and Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks) all put points up on the scoreboard in the run.
Leading 19-13 after one quarter, and 24-16 with 6:53 remaining before halftime, Love reeled off nine straight points for the USA and with 5:01 left in the second stanza the U.S. lead was up to 33-19.
At the end of the opening half, the U.S. advantage stood at 42-28, as Iran had managed to hit just 7-of-23 shots from the floor and was only 3-of-11 from 3-point, while the U.S. was hitting 53.1 percent from the field.
Stepping up its energy and defensive pressure to open the third quarter, Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets) opened the quarter's scoring with a steal and layup, which was followed by a Rose drive for two; a Durant slam off a Rose steal and assist, and another Rose drive that left the score 50-28.
From that point to the final horn the USA was in control and its lead never fell below 19 points.
For the game, the U.S. shot 57.8 percent from the floor, 41.2 percent from 3-point. Iran was limited to 28.8 percent shooting overall, 14.3 percent from 3-point. The Americans won the battle of the boards 39-31, and were led by Love's seven and Chandler's six rebounds. The U.S. defense forced Iran into 25 turnovers.
"I just try to come in and have energy," remarked Love, who after four games is averaging 8.3 ppg. and a team high 7.0 rpg. "I think everybody has kind of bought into their role. For me, it's to come in and be an energy guy. Guy that rebounds and gets easy baskets, shoot high percentage and plays good defense. A couple of things I can always do is play defense and rebound. That's the kind of mindset I have coming into the game and it's worked for me this far in my career and this far in this tournament."
Memphis Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi led Iran with 19 points and Rice University sophomore Arsalan Kazemi added 14 points.
"I think you always have to be ready to play. We have a deep team so any guy can come off the bench and give us a spark or a starter can play big minutes for us. On our team, we just always have to be ready and whenever our number is called, we have to get out there and do what is expected of us," said Chandler.
In Group B's other prelim games Wednesday, Croatia (2-2) owned Tunisia (0-4) 84-64, while Slovenia (3-1) handed Brazil (2-2) its second consecutive loss 80-77. In Group A action, Argentina (4-0) remained perfect with an 88-79 decision over Jordan (0-4), Serbia (3-1) beat Australia (2-2) 94-79, and Angola (2-2) defeated Germany (1-3) 92-88 in overtime. In Group C, Russia (3-1) fended off China (1-3) 89-80, Greece (3-1) upended Ivory Coast (0-4) 97-60, while host Turkey (4-0) kept its record clean with a narrow 79-77 victory over Puerto Rico (1-3). Group D play saw New Zealand (2-2) knock off Canada (0-4) 71-61, Spain (2-2) won over Lebanon (1-3), and Lithuania (4-0) earned a 69-55 win over France (3-1).
The 2010 USA World Championship Team assistant coaches are Syracuse University's Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan and Toronto Raptors head mentor Jay Triano.
The 2010 FIBA (International
Basketball Federation) World Championship for Men is being held Aug. 28-Sept.
12 in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Kayseri, Turkey. Twenty-four teams are competing
in the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Men.