Posts Tagged ‘Russell Westbrook’

Fadi EL KHATIB(LABANON).JPGThe FIBA World Championships in Turkey began  with all 24 teams playing their first game, some were very close games, other were blowouts, and some even included impressive comebacks.

At 6:30 PM, Lebanon played its first game against Canada, with the Lebanese jumping to an early lead and finishing the first quarter strong, yet the middle was dominated by Canada, which led to a 20-20 tie at the end of the 1st. Canada managed to dominate the second quarter with Lebanon trying to come back numerous times, yet unlike the first quarter, the first half ended with Canada leading 37-34. The Canadians managed to increase their lead throughout the 3rd quarter to as much as 9 points, yet Lebanon’s “Tiger” Fadi El Khatib had other plans in mind, erupting for 16 points in the third quarter on perfect 5 for 5 shooting from the field to bring the lead down to 1 point. The 4th quarter was played out like the end of the third, Lebanese dominance from all sides and El Khatib and Rony Fahed taking over to win the 4th quarter 24-13, eventually winning the game 81-71, giving Lebanon its first World Cup win since the upset of France in ’06. El Khatib had a marvelous game with a game-high 31 points and 8 rebounds, helped by Rony Fahed’s 17 points and Matt Freije’s 12 points, all three pointers while Canda was led by Joel Anthony’s 17 points, Denham Brown’s 13 points and Andy Rautins 10 points, mostly in the first quarter.

The major upset of the night however also came in Group D, with defending champs Spain and France clashing off after Lebanon’s game. Spain started the game strong, limiting the French only to 9 points in the first quarter and it seemed that the Spainards had the game in hand, only for French Mickael Gelabale to spark a 14-5 run assisted by Andrew Albicy and Nicolas Batum, who took on the second half scoring 12 of his 14 points to give France a lead it would never relinquish, shocking the champs with a 72-66 win. Gelabale had 16 points and 6 rebounds for France, helped by Albicy’s 13 points. Spain was led by Juan Carlos Navarro’s 17 points and Rudy Fernandez’s 13 points, whose technical foul and defensive errors were major in costing Spain the game.

Unlike the two previously mentioned games, USA had it easy going, defeating the young Croatians 106-78 behind a strong second quarter that held Croatia to only 6 points and outscored them by 20 points. Eric Gordon, one of the players who weren’t expected to make the final roster, led the Americans off the bench with 16 points, and had Kevin Durant help him with 14 points, as well as Chauncey Billups’ 13 points and having Russell Westbrook and Rudy Gay contribute with 10 apiece. Croatia’s good first quarter was not enough to keep it hanging in there with Team USA, as Bojan Bogdanovich’s 17 points were not enough to pose a challenge for the Americans.

Other results include:

Australia 76 – 75 Jordan

Angola 44 – 94 Serbia

Germany 74 – 78 Argentina

Tunisia 56 – 80 Slovenia

Iran 65 – 81 Brazil

Greece 89 – 81 China

Russia 75 – 66 Puerto Rico

Ivory Coast 47 – 86 Turkey

New Zealand 79 – 92 Lithuania

After USA’s second exhibition game in Spain vs. the hosts on Sunday, where the Americans hung on for an 86-85 win, things started to look clearer – well at least for point guard Rajon Rondo. After having a miserable game the day before against Lithuania ( 2 points, 1 assist and 4 turnovers), Rondo was DNP – CD (did not play – coach’s decision) against the Spaniards,  leading him to feel that he was not going to make the final cut and was on the “bubble”. Eventually, that led to Rondo withdrawing from the team, and according to USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, due to “some family matters to attend to”.

This leaves Team USA with a complete roster of 12 players, mostly inexperienced players with only 2 NBA champions (Lamar Odom and Chauncey Billups) and one with major international competition experience (Odom in the ’04 Olympics) and 5 players who are of 21 years old (Kevin Durant, Eric Gordon, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook). Despite the lack of experience on this team, Team USA has shown that it can take down any team in its friendlies by blowing teams away (Lithuania)  and win games in the closing seconds (Spain).

As seen in the latest exhibitions, the Americans are able to play an uptempo style of game and have legitimate threats offensively in almost every way possible, with their go-to guy being reigning NBA scoring champion Durant. Kevin Durant knocked down 27 points in the latest game vs Spain, driving to the hoop numerously and scoring 3s. Also, Rudy Gay and Danny Granger proved to be offensive weapons off the bench that can break a game wide open when necessary in addition to Stephen Curry, the only pure shooter on this team. Derrick Rose and Chauncey Billups will be expecting to start in the backcourt, and showed great play as they put their team up early by double digits against Spain. They are expected to be backed by Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry, with Eric Gordon also snatching some minutes as well. Lamar Odom, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Love, and Andre Igoudala will be playing in the frontcourt, with Odom expecting to start as center along Igoudala as power forward.

There are high expectations for Team USA. Can they win it all for the first time since 1994?


Chauncey Billups*

Tyson Chandler

Stephen Curry

Kevin Durant*

Rudy Gay

Eric Gordon

Danny Granger

Andre Igoudala*

Kevin Love

Lamar Odom*

Derrick Rose*

Russell Westbrook

* =  Expected Starting Lineup

Tala: 3am 2ellak i cant see it
jrsaba89: i told u
its living on a prayer
so, do you think her review is harsh?
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living on a prayer
jrsaba89: so, do you think her review is harsh?
Tala: joseph?

Despite a horrible 7 point first quarter, team USA rebounded its way back into the game and delivered an excellent second half, including a 17-0 run, to serve Lithuania a 77-61 loss as a warmup for the FIBA World Cup that will begin on the 28th of this month.

Kevin Durant led the way with 15 points for Team USA, who shot 27 for 58, while Lithuania’s 25-for-62 shooting was led by Linas Kleiza’s 12 points.

Team USA trailed the first quarter 15-7 behind a woeful 3 for 21 shooting that included them missing all their three pointers and a missed dunk by Rudy Gay. Slowly, they started to get back into the game, including tying the game at 25 before finishing the first half trailing 29-28.

The “B team” USA only managed to improve its play in the second half behind its bench players, mainly Rudy Gay (14 points), Russell Westbrook (12 points on 4 for 5 shooting) and Eric Gordon (9 points), who had 48 of Team USA’s 77 points.

As expected, Kevin Durant (0 for 4 on threes), Chauncey Billups (7 points, 4 TOs, zero assists), Andre Igoudala (5 points), Tyson Chandler (0 points, 5 rebounds), and Rajon Rondo (4 TOs, 2 points, 1 assist) started the game for the Americans, whose horrible first quarter display clearly showed how nervous the inexperienced team was. Team USA has 13 players that include 5 21-year olds and only 2 vets that age 30+. The team is expected to be trimmed to 12 players by August 26th. It is also to note that none of the  Redeem Team players that played in the 2008 Olympics are playing  for this team.

Team USA will play Spain tomorrow at 7 PM GMT and will begin their quest for the World Championship on Day 1 vs. Croatia.