Team USA put forth a solid effort on Sunday to defeat rival contender Spain, 86-85 in a "friendly" exhibition game in Madrid.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski played his starters the bulk of the minutes and didn't play Danny Granger, Rajon Rondo or Kevin Love at all. Chris Sheridan felt Coach K wanted this win to give his team confidence thus his reliance on the starters.
As for Granger's DNP-CD, Pete Thamel reports that Coach K wanted to give the limited bench minutes to some younger players vying for the final roster spot.
Krzyzewski said that Rondo and Danny Granger did not play because they were veterans and the coaches knew what they were getting out of them. Rose said that Rondo was sick with a sinus problem, although that notion was later dismissed.
I expect Granger to get plenty of playing time before the World Championships are over albeit in a role off the bench. Those minutes will vary depending on matchups and how the games play out. No complaints here about Granger gathering some low-mileage experience with Team USA. Next up, the team goes to Athens for one more tune up against Greece on Wednesday.
After the jump, more links with stories about Team USA as well as a couple of thoughts on the Pacers remaining a work in progress. Mike Wells points out the remaining uncertainty at power forward and our own Ian Levy takes a look at how the Pacers currently project from a Wins Produced standpoint. Both make the case that the Pacers still have work to do to improve enough to make the playoffs.
There's a hole at the 4 spot
Mike Wells delves into the unknown with the Pacers. After shoring up the point guard spot, power forward remains a big question in need of an answer for the Pacers if they have any hopes of making the playoffs.
Once Again the Pacers are Hoping Players Get Better
Ian Levy has a nice WP preview of the Pacers at Wages of Wins.
- AP: Kevin Durant leads USA to 86-85 win over Spain
United States 86, Spain 85 - Players Shift, Spain Freezes, and Americans Celebrate
Pete Thamel reports on the U.S. holding on to beat Spain thanks to a late adjustment to a zone defense.
Sheridan: Learning experience for Team USA - ESPN
Chris Sheridan reports that as bad as Team USA started, it was a needed learning experience to struggle before putting away Lithuania.
Ricky Rubio impresses in Spain loss to U.S.
Ricky Rubio certainly has some flash in his game which is exciting, especially considering he's still so young. That said, he would drive me nuts righ now on a regular basis until both he and his game mature a little more. His behind the ear pass in the waning seconds wasn't a turnover but was ridiculous regardless of the result.
Notes From USA 86, ESP 85
John Schuhmann shares his thoughts on Team USA's win yesterday.
Former Alabama guard Torrance collapses, hospitalized
In the damn shame category, thoughts are with Mikhail Torrance, the former Alabama guard who I was hoping the Pacers could snag in the second round. Turns out his NBA-caliber talent wasn't touched in the draft because of health concerns. Sounds like those concerns were accurate. Hope he returns to the court soon. The latest reports have him in stable condition.