The USA Basketball mini-camp concluded last night with an exhibition match between USA White and USA Blue. DeMarcus Cousins led USA White with 24 points and 11 rebounds, which was enough to claim the 134-128 win despite Andre Drummond’s 27 and 16 for USA Blue. Read more in the game recap from USA Basketball:
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Aug. 13, 2015) – Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic) shut down the opening day of the USA Men’s National Team minicamp this week with a dunk off the wall, so it felt appropriate that it was another one of his highlights that brought the crowd to its feet for the biggest cheer of the night at Thursday night’s USA Basketball Showcase.
Lined up one-on-one at the top of the key against Michael Carter-Williams (Milwaukee Bucks) in a close game, Oladipo crossed over and drove hard into a powerful right-handed slam that wasn’t really finished until Oladipo’s post-slam shimmy under the basket. Oladipo and the Blue squad got the highlight but Carter-Williams’ White squad got the 134-128 win in a game that lived to its billing as an NBA All-Star game type of performance at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“We had a great crowd, which is very appreciated, and I think the guys put on a nice show,” said USA Basketball chairman and National Team managing director Jerry Colangelo.
The roster of 34 that started this week’s lighter camp thinned a bit by the Showcase, but four players were added to the rosters for some extra depth. One of those was Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton, who was working out when he learned there was a chance he could be added and then was on a 6 a.m. flight Thursday to get to Vegas.
“It means a lot that they thought about me,” Payton said. “It’s always an honor to play for your country, whether it be overseas or at home. I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”
LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul were among the players who attended camp but weren’t in the game. Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), who won a gold medal at last year’s FIBA World Cup, acknowledged that meant less star power at the end of minicamp but he knew that plenty was accomplished this week.
“We didn’t have everybody for the game, but guys were at the camp,” Faried said. “We were going hard, we were competing, not against each other, but we were competing, period. And, we were having fun.”
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons) led everyone with 27 points and 16 rebounds for the Blue squad, while Oladipo poured in 25 and Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors) finished the night with 21 points and 10 rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings) led the White squad with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Mason Plumlee (Portland Trail Blazers) tossed in 20 and grabbed 11 boards. Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors) was credited with a game-high 10 assists.
With a little more than three minutes left, Carter-Williams soared in for the type of dunk that hadn’t been contested all night. This time, Faried was up there to meet him for a powerful swat that was either a great block or correctly called a foul depending on which bench you asked.
DeMar DeRozan’s (Toronto Raptors) 360 dunk in the final seconds served as a final exclamation point and several fans left with mini autographed basketballs that the players tossed into the crowd while leaving the court.