Team USA finished their FIBA World Championship run in strong fashion with an 81-64 win over Turkey to earn the gold medal for the first time in 16 years.
More talented rosters have let gold slip away in that time, but this U.S. team relied on its strengths -- defense and, well, Kevin Durant -- and found a way to control games throughout the tournament. That isn't to say this team was void of talent, in fact time may reveal that this team was fully loaded and thus the gold medal a mere by product. But for now that talent is quite young and inexperienced save for Chauncey Billups and Lamar Odom. The players and coach Mike Krzyzewski deserve a lot of credit along with that gold medal for staying on point and executing their winning game plan.
Durant again paced the way with 28 points including 20 in the first half which helped the U.S. team seize the game after a tight start. Whenever, and from wherever, Durant rose to launch his silky stroke the ball seemed destined for the bottom of the net. Lamar Odom also held down the middle with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Hedo Turkoglu was dinged up in the first half but finished with 16 points for Turkey, a surprise silver medalist in this tournament.
Danny Granger was among the players out of the playing rotation for the championship game although he did finish the game on the court in the final minute and looked absolutely psyched to take home a gold medal with his teammates. Eric Gordon played 13 minutes but missed all five of his shot attempts. His international experience was fabulous and should raise his profile in the NBA heading into the upcoming season.
After the jump, a few links of interest with stories wrapping up the WCs and a look at unresolved issues still facing the Pacers.
A checklist of things to handle before talking about the "P" word
Mike Wells runs through some key issues the Pacers' still need to resolve in a positive manner before considering talk of the playoffs.
- AP: United States vs. Turkey - Recap
Behind Durant, motivated U.S. proves doubters wrong
John Schuhmann reports from Istanbul on the U.S. continuing to win throughout their two months together while others focused on why they might not win. Nice photo of Granger donning the gold medal.
- USA Basketball: Tournament MVP Durant Scores 28, Leads USA Over Turkey For World Championship Gold
Durant Leads Team USA to First Worlds Gold Since 1994
Chris Tomasson breaks down the U.S. win.
2010 World Championship: USA rolls
Chris Sheridan breaks down all of the the Team USA gold-winning performance in Turkey and all of the good that comes along with it.
Breaking down USA win over Turkey in FIBA World Championship game
Even Charley Rosen is impressed with Team USA and not just for the way they won on the court.
Odom, Billups deserve to be rewarded
Kevin Berger makes a valid point that Lamar Odom and Chauncey Billups should get strong consideration for the 2012 Olympic team ahead of any other veteran NBA players.
Kevin Durant Named Worlds MVP, but Just Happy to Get the Gold
Chris Tomasson reports on Durant's MVP impact for Team USA.
FIBA World Championship roundup: Lithuania wins bronze at worlds
Linas Kleiza scored 33 points to help Lithuania win its first world basketball championship medal with a 99-88 victory over Serbia on Sunday in the third-place game.
Toine shimmying to Charlotte, but for how long?
Marc Stein hears that Antoine Walker might go camping with Charlotte.