USA Readies For Semifinal Clash
Sept. 10, 2010 • Istanbul, Turkey
With a berth in the 2010 FIBA World Championship final four secured with its 89-79 win over Russia Thursday night, and the medal round semifinals game versus undefeated Lithuania looming on Saturday at 7 p.m. (local time), the USA had no time to reflect on its successful 7-0 start.
The coaching staff and team knows if you lose, your gold medal dreams end.
So the Americans continued to work, continued to focus on only their next opponent...there's no looking down the road here.
The USA-Lithuania game will be a rematch of sorts. The two teams met in an exhibition game in Madrid, Spain on Aug. 21. Surviving a horendous start to the game, the U.S. made just 3-of-21 shot attempts to start the game and scored just seven points in the first quarter, the Americans battled back and captured a 77-61 victory. Kevin Durant led all scorers on the night with 15 points, while Rudy Gay and Russell Westbrook checked in for 14 and 12 points, respectively.
But just as the U.S. has progressed and improved with each day, the same can be said for Lithuania. <"We’re just more of a team than we were that first time and so are they. They were still making their roster cuts. We were both making our roster selections when we played that game," said USA coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Friday was a last opportunity to get on the court and practice, and the U.S. did so. It also was an opportunity to speak to the coaches and the players and get their thoughts on a variety of things.
USABasketball.com spoke to some key USA folks and got their thoughts on a variety of subjects....everything from USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo speaking about co-captain Chauncey Billups fit with this team; Coach K discussing the team's evolution or Kevin Durant's play in the first seven games; Kevin Durant speaking about the USA's need for him to lead the team's scoring; to Billups speaking to what he has learned about the World Championship.