Quantcast
Monday, August 23rd, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  61 responses

Kevin Durant’s Defense Saves Team USA

The NBA’s leading scorer got it done on the defensive end in Spain yesterday, securing victory for Team USA. This bodes well for the Thunder, writes the Oklahoman: “The final eight seconds of Team USA’s 86-85 exhibition win over Spain on Sunday night in Madrid belonged to Kevin Durant. The Thunder forward secured the victory not with a game-winning shot but with two game-saving blocks. His swats — which prevented corner 3-pointers by Ricky Rubio and Rudy Fernandez — preserved an unblemished record for the United States heading into its fourth and final exhibition game Wednesday against Greece. More importantly, Durant’s timely defense punctuated his month-long development with Team USA and perhaps foreshadowed not only what’s to come during the FIBA World Championship, which begin Saturday in Turkey, but also the 2010-11 NBA season.”

  • Add a Comment
  • Share
  • RSS

Tags: , , , ,

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    If we can get the silver in the FIBA Championship,I’ll be surprised.

  • Ali

    Over the past 5-10 years we have seen the world catch up with the US in basketball! No mystery there…

  • Overtime

    USA got bailed out by the refs in that game. That Fernandez foul was absolutely a charge.
    Durant did play good d in final secs tho

  • ConeyIslander

    America seems to not care about FIBA. That’s the only reason I can think of for us sending over our JV team.

  • Young C

    @Overtime, The refs bailed us out? How about all of those bad calls throughout the game?

  • James

    D-rose and KD saved the day.

  • larrylegend

    maybe 4 exhibition games are a bit less, regarding 90% of the players have zero FIBA expirience. on the other side, what u expect, if u send ur B-C team..oh i forgot, no gold medals, no interest of the big stars…

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Props to Kevin Durant for his double double last night. Great all around game. I LOVED Durant’s blocks in the corner at the end of the game, it reminded me of Hakim Warrick’s block at the end of the Cuse vs Jayhawks 2003 championship game. Go USA!

  • larrylegend

    and, the upcoming tournament is the world championships, the world champion will be crowned. the lakers are NOT the world champs of bball! that is so annoying and disrespectful

  • dimo

    it’s very ignorant of the nba to call their champs world champions

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Since I am an American and I know our foreign commenters get a bit annoyed by the NBA World Champion thing….I’d bet my life that 9 out of every 10 NBA Champions would beat the FIBA World Champs in a 7 game series 90% of the time. Just saying.

  • Balltillfall

    Gotta agree with Eboy on that one, besides why is everyone saying these guys are going to get silver? What I saw yesterday was a highly talented team who had a lot of calls, and i mean alot, go against them. Regardless they were still able to play through and still beat Spain without having to utilize any of their pick and roll offense. I wouldn’t be suprised if USA got gold, we certainly have more talent than all the other teams.

  • Ali

    FIBA didn’t start getting shine until around 1989-90 when professional NBA ballers started participating. So all these (ignorant/dispectful) comments about the association saying their champion is the world champion really have no merit. The association has called their champion the world champion since the 50′s, CALM DOWN fellaz!

  • george w. buckets

    The refs were definitely in Spain’s corner last night, and I think people forget to realize that the game was actually in Madrid. Also, besides Pau, Spain brought their top squad in against an American team that lacked a majority of their big time players.

  • http://Www.lkz.gf Darksaber

    Take that, Rudy! Hehe. On a more serious note, there’s a truly disturbing trend growing in US Basketball. I call it Dream Teamitis. Case in point, the Youth Olympics 3-on-3 Bball tournament that finished today in S’pore. The US boys got outplayed, outhustled, pure outworked in the semis yesterday against the new Gold medalists from Serbia. I could not believe the level of entitlement, overconfidence and to some point arrogance displayed by these 16 year olds. They showed up, chucked up a few nonchalant shots as a warmup (in comparison, Serbs were shooting freethrows, layups, the works before EVERY) game) and imo had no game plan for this contest. Basically they expected the opponents in a YOUTH OLYMPICS to see 4 tall athletes from America and surrender. When Greece completed the embarassment by easily beating the US and winning bronze today, i sat in that Arena and was aghast. They didn’t even try! Like it’s a guarantee that these boys would ever have a chance to participate in an Olympic Game ever again! (ok, breathe… Ooooh saaahh!). I guess what i mean to say is, this is 2010, other countries have excellent b-ball academies, churning out talent, US ballers should no longer walk around like their ish don’t stink… (Especially when they can’t execute a low post move if their life depended on it… yeah, looking at you, Angelo Chol). The senior team better be ready to get waxed by a few opponents in Tukey, Greece, Serbia, Spain are no joke!

  • Overtime

    I’ll admit I only caught the 4th quarter, so perhaps the refs were in Spains favour throughout most of the game, but that def was a charge.
    Think USA’s weaknesses were on show a bit last night. You could see how if Pau was playing, he would just carve them up.
    PS, someone tell me, is Scola playing in these championships?

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    I still feel Team USA will miss OJ Mayo in the future. BOOK IT!!

  • Ali

    Word Up Darksaber! Alot, not all, but alot of our US kids just think their talent alone will get them by on the court and that will equal wins, but it takes a little more than that; heart, drive, determination, practice, fundementals, studying
    (not just watching the current MVPs; Lebron and Kobe) but really studying the game. Just my two cents.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Dark….the majority of the young kids on the come up here are lousy players. This is not a surprise. They all think they’ll be the next Brandon Jennings, Lebron, John Wall, etc. who have no interest in getting an education in life, ball and teamwork by attending college and playing there…it’s like the prospect of playing a year in college is akin to a year in the Sarlac pit. I’ve been coaching 10-12 year olds for 10 years now…most of these kids wouldn’t know a pick and how to use one/set one if their adult lives relied on it. Never mind a box out or an accurate bounce pass. It’s sickening.

  • El Chinas.

    @Eboy, in case you forgot, the 2008 US-team, filled with future HOFers, barely beat the 2006 World Champion Spain in Beijing 2008. NBA champs = automatic world champs? Not. the USA still has the best players but winning not a given buddy. Open your eyes.

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/features/overdribbling chiqo

    usa needs some rebounding and some better defense. they can win it, but there will be a team that will take advantage of their weaknesses. bet on it. also keep in mind that rondo didn’t play yesterday, so it’s not like this is exactly what we’ll get from usa.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Ali’s right too….too many kids think watching Lebron or Kobe’s highlight reels on Youtube equal knowledge of HOW to play the game. I’ve had about 8 kids in the last 10 years come to me with actual knowledge of the game…..I’m pretty rough on the ones that don’t get it to try and improve their games for the next step in their basketball lives. Drills, suicides, non-shooting practices, no threes allowed, charges have to be taken by EVERY kid, 50 free throws each practice to start and finish , I’m not playing with this kids, I want them to learn. I do it for free cause I love the result. There’s alot of good guys here trying to do similar things to get these kids together…but as it has been seen for the last few years, Euro players are way more solid at the fundamentals and *sarcasm here* some of these guys are actually world class athletically too. Not every kid is going to be gifted like Lebron physically. There’s always a place for a fundamental shooter/role-playing type guy on a professional roster. Not enough kids know this.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    El Chinas…..that’s all well and good for ONE GAME. If you think the best foreign team can beat the best NBA team 4 of 7 times your crack pipe must still be lit.

  • Ali

    Good look Eboy! Yeah as a teen my summer traveling team coach wouldn’t allow us to dunk during practice or at shoot around before games. Straight fundimentals baby! Hahah…The highlight reels will come if your overall game is tight.

  • Candice

    I would like to sat D.Rose and KD both are the reason why the won in the final mins. Rose scored the last 4 points of the game and of course KD two blocks saved the day.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    If the “Dream Team” had more practice time, and the games were played by NBA rules, they would smash every international team. That’s the current Dream Team and all past Dream Teams.
    International players haven’t “caught up” with Americans. Sure, there is some talent on some of these teams, but they also benefit from rules that play to their strenghs, and refs who seem completely inept at handling contact in the post.
    People are complaining about Derrick Rose’s charge, but they aren’t saying anything about all the phatom calls against Tyson Chandler, which kept him out of the game and really weakened the team’s rebounding and interior defense. The refs were just blowing their whistles despite the fact that Chandler was locking Gasol up, and forcing him into tough shots.
    Let’s not even discuss the amazing moving screens allowed, and the ridiculous traveling rule that is completely different when compared to NBA basketball.
    The international teams have the deck stacked, and many of them still can’t compete with the US and y’all think that a Dream Team with practice time, or even an NBA champion team with a season’s worth of experience wouldn’t still beat them? Y’all are crazy.

  • The Philosopher

    Co-sign Eboy about teaching the kids the game.
    I try to do the same thing.

  • El Chinas.

    @allenp. We talking about international ball here, so NBA rules don’t apply. Ridiculous rules? Wow – like how the NBA allows people to travel? Keep perspective here brother, and remember only the NBA uses NBA rules. No doubt the dream teams and the US still carry the best talent, but it is no cake walk. The ‘redeem team’ did play as a team and spent some time together (Bron, Melo, Wade and a couple played in consecutive tournaments), but they weren’t exactly blowing oppositions like it was back in ’92. And the 06 team with lost in the World Championships. Again, keep some perspective.

  • Overtime

    I would just like to say I fully support Eboy’s coaching methods.
    An unjustified sense of entitlement and a desire to only do ‘cool stuff’ is a dam shame to watch, and annoys me everytime.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    El Chinas
    The traveling rule in the NBA does not mandate that the ball hit the floor before you make your move. If you watched the game, you several times where players would pump fake and then go, but were called for travel because while the ball was out of their hands and headed to the ground, it hadn’t hit the floor before their pivot foot left the ground. That’s not a travel in the NBA but it is internationally. Just like if you catch the ball on a fast break, and throw it out in front of you, you can take several steps while the ball is still traveling to the floor in the NBA, but not in international play. This rule negates some of the athletic benefits the NBA players have.
    There is also the zone rule, which allows teams to simply pack the lane and slow the game down, compared to the NBa rule which mandates that you be attached to a player, or out of the lane every three seconds, and does not allow you to pack the lane as much and forces more attention to help defense, and allows you to exploit individual defenders better.
    When USA lost in 2006, they had barely spent any time together. That was their first major tournament and they’d only played together in the FIBA Americas tournament. They destroyed everybody in that tournament, and only had the one bad game against Greece in the World Championships, while destroying everybody else. They also destroyed everybody by Spain in the Olympics.
    I have more than enough perspective. Every team not from the U.S. plays by international rules far more often than do the U.S. players. All of the international rules are designed to favor a particular brand of basketball and negate or lessen the impact of athleticism.
    Yet, the US has consistently dominated most competition in these tournaments, with only a few blips. I stand by what I wrote earlier.

  • cool j

    Darksaber-I cosign that!
    people have to wake up and start teaching these kids the foundamental of bball.The NBA is filled with big who have no games with their backs to the basket.
    Too many players produced in this country rely almost solely on their athletic gifts.
    The truth is the world has caught up to US basketball, true that the best players from the NBA can beat any team in the the world now,but for how long?
    Let’s call it what it is …a lot of cuddled , lazy players who do not work on their game and rely on their physical gift.
    Jordan didn’t become the GOAT just by relying on his athletic ability, he wanted to be the best and he worked on his game(mid range shot,passing).Kobe did the same to reach this level..

  • http://theurbangriot.com The Nupe

    I think it’s clear that international ball is catching up to the USA but, it hasn’t caught up yet. In the past the US could send our best college players to play the ‘worlds best’ and easily win. Then we started to send a mix of college/pros and now we need a ‘true’ dream team of our superstars to feel confident about winning. Our current team has a good shot to win, but yesterdays game (regardless of how you want to debate calls) showed that the gap between the USA and the rest of the world talent is getting smaller. Imagine if we still had college kids competing right now. IF we sent our very best team it wouldn’t even be close, so there is still a gap, but not as wide as it once was.

  • Ali

    @ Allenp true dat! These international teams start playing together at 15, 16, 17 yrs old and stay playing together for 10-15 years! Any team that has that kind of team cohesiveness is a serious threat to beat anyone in the world in any given tournament FIBA or the Olympic mind you. It’s just the truth!

  • http://google c_cantrell

    lovin kds defense.. once he becomes a defensive force (might be awhile) he is going to rack up several mvps.. well he might even do that without the d lol

  • http://Www.lkz.gf Darksaber

    I’m still shocked big meany Eboy referenced the Sarlaac pit, not the readily known, Rancor pit, the goshdarned Sarlaac. Excuse me while i relish this with a smile of glee.
    @AllenP: yeah, the Nba ignoring that ‘ridiculous traveling rule’ sure helps on 3 step highlight dunks, hmm?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Cool J
    The lack of a back to the basket post game is a direct result of the European influence on the game. We got that from them, and from Kevin Garnett.
    I think the biggest problem in the U.S. is the dependce on isolations, and the lack of understanding about off ball movement. That’s the biggest area international players seem to have an advantage. They understand where to cut based on where the ball is on the floor, and many US players don’t have that knowledge. They also understand more about using the mid range pull up.
    But, we play better defense overall. We still have better post scorers, by and large. Our wings are more creative with their dribble, and we excel at being able to attack one-on-one.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Nobody’s a bigger Star Wars fan from back in the day, Dark. I’ve got Iron Man covered too.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Allen’s right.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    And while I still think Ricky Rubio will be a mid-level NBA point guard, I was very impressed by his ability to hit cutters in perfect position for layups time after time yesterday. The rest of his game is still shaky, but his ability to break up passes and make nice passes are not overlooked.

  • http://Www.lkz.gf Darksaber

    E: niiice, you never cease to amaze. But with regards to both those subjects, i’d give you a mean run for your money.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Darksaber
    I don’t think it’s ridiculous, it makes sense.
    I mean, if you’ve thrown the ball down, but you’re moving so fast that you can take several steps before it even hits the grown, why is that traveling?
    YOu’re not holding the ball anymore, it’s going to hit the ground. The other way slows the game down, and makes it way easier to defend and for players with inferior athleticism to compete.
    And I think that’s the point of the interpetation. The Euro game is designed to minimize to a certain degree the impact of athleticism on games. It places a premium on outside shooting and passing. The US game places more of a premium on being able to win individual matchups by dominating the player in front of you. That’s why the rules make such a big difference.

  • cool j

    AllenP -I agree with everything you said , but what happened to Dwight Howard? if he had half of Pat Ewing the skillz …it would be crazy!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Dark, email me so we can compare knowledge. cct231070@gmail

  • http://Www.lkz.gf Darksaber

    @cool j: indeed. A bit more time working on footwork and a reliable short jumper/jumphook and Dwight Howard would kill every opponent on offense too.
    @Eboy: gladly, but it’s nearly 1am here now, i’ll hit you up asap, deal?
    @all: sorry for sidetracking the (good) discussion. Please proceed.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    @Dark….whenever you are able.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Eboy
    Nah, I expect Rubio to be good. Dude is 6’5″, he has decent athleticism, he understands angles on defense, and he’s really, really good at passing.
    If his jumper gets wet, dude could be an All-Star. If it doesn’t, he’ll still be good, but not great. He’ll look, WAY better running with NBA cats who can finish all those nice looks he serves up.
    Because once NBA players realize they are going to get the ball, they do start cutting more. It’s just not a normal part of their games like it is for all these Euro dudes, but coaches will take advantage of what Rubio can do, for sure. He would be great in the Princeton offense, or, even better, the flex offense Jerry Sloan runs. That would be perfect for him. He’ll be wasted in the triangle.

  • larrylegend

    i think Allenp is 90% right…good points!
    hi dark, u saw the dirku-less germans come back vs. puerto rico!?
    hi coach E, can i send you some of mine, maybe they will listen to you…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I don’t know Allen, dude is not quick off the dribble like people have claimed….he get’s into the lane but he’s not just going to break NBA defenders down one on one like a DRose. Everything is pick and roll oriented. Maybe he can be a lesser version of Steve Nash with more d and less shooting. You might be right about the flex offense potential, though.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Larry, send ‘em. Tell them they can have a week vacation in Florida.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Eboy
    I agree. Dude is not going to break his man down off the bounce by himself.
    But, neither did John Stockton and he was a beast by any measure. He needs to use pics, needs to use off ball motion and he needs to get a jumper. That was what Stockton had. You had to crowd him off those screens, you couldn’t go under the pick and roll, and he made you pay.

  • http://Www.lkz.gf Darksaber

    Yeah, E. Please take some of my U14 boys and drill some sense into ‘em. (not that i don’t do enough punishing)
    Kinda cool to see how many Slammers are BBall coaches.

  • http://Www.lkz.gf Darksaber

    @larrylegend: the young Germans finally got a victory in a friendly? Niiice. Missed that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Comparisons to Stockton now? Whoa.

  • Overtime

    I’d agree with the comments on euros/internationals having a bigger understanding of moving off the ball, off the ball screens, etc etc.
    You could see in the game last night they can just do some of these little things better, getting the ball in the right spot etc, great timing.
    Again though, this is also kinda due to them playing as a unit for so many years, which I think is great

  • T-Money

    Aleen: I don’t know how Rubio scores enough to keep the defense honest. He’s not a shooter, he won’t score in the lane. How is he going to get buckets. And he can’t stay in front of NBA point guards over here where we don’t allow handchecking. I thought he was waaaaay quicker than he really is. He can definitely pass the ball, though. / BTW, what the hell was that overhead pass to Rudy in the final seconds? That was freaking reckless.

  • total scrotal implosion

    Allenp is right on all accounts. Because of diff rules, and balls(damn u larry brown in 04!), it appears international teams have caught up with us. Thats just not true. Us will win gold in turkey, no doubt. Manu is my dude, and there are a few int powerhouse teams, but they cant see a us team thats practicd for a time and has cohesiveness. I think granger can be melo like in world play, 4 size with great talent in scoring in all ways………….. Darksaber and eboy are star wars geeks lol

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I didn’t see a huge speed problem for Rubio. And dude is aggressive and smart on defense. I mean, he’s not super quick, but lots of guards have that problem. He understands where to go on the court, so he won’t suck on defense even if he isn’t a superstar.
    He hit several pull up jumpers, and he got to rim pretty well. I compared him to Stockton to say that you don’t have to have a crossover or all the individual breakdown moves off the bounce to be effective. Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, Stockton, Mark Jackson and several others didn’t have that ability. But, they still managed to score by doing other things.
    I think, like I said, that it all depends on how much improvement dude shows with his jumper. If he gets to the point where he’s a threat, then his passing and court sense become way more valuable, and disguise some of his athletic weaknesses.
    He needs to work on his handle, and he needs to cut down on the cuteness with his passes, but other than that, dude seems like a legit talent.

  • JTaylor21

    Allen P you must have forgot that Stockon had one of the best first step in the league. I just finished watching the 96 WCF Gm 7 vs GP and dude was constantly getting in the lane against a TOP-5 perimeter defender of all time. I 100% agree with EBoy on Ricky Fabio. Dude just struggles to get by his man consistently, for all the hype about his D, he was regularly beat off the dribble by DRose and he doesn’t posses any of the passing skills any of the guards you mentioned had. Dude will be an average point at best.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Jukai, wherever you may be at (carried on from some other thread I don’t remember):
    Okay holmes, so I saw a replay of the game today because I hadn’t finished it the day before, and I STILL don’t get the hype surrounding Rubio. He had 7 points and 3 assists. That’s supposed to show me and the rest of the basketball world that he’s ready to be a starter, with potential to be better than Chauncey Billups? I’ll admit he did make some great plays, but come on dude. It’s going to take more than 7 points to convince me.

  • al

    ignorance has never been so brave

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    JtTaylor
    Everybody in the world gets beat off the dribble by Derrick Rose. There is not a human being in the world who is stopping DRose from getting in the lane, particularly when his jumper is falling and his teammates are balling. Remember what he did to Rondo in his first playoff game?
    Rubio played smart defense, he played angles. He anticipated passes.
    And, on offense, his court vision was good. Dude sees the floor. His only weakness is being too flashy and cute, not always being fundamentally sound. But, he sees the floor better than every player on Team USA.
    I don’t have a crystal ball, so I don’t know what dude is going to do in the league. But, I see why cats around here have been hyping him now. I think he definitely can play, and be impressive with a little more growth in his game.

Advertisement