Team USA finishes group play with 5-0 record after beating Ukraine

Cleveland Cavaliers' guard Kyrie Irving at Team USA practice in Las Vegas. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)
Team USA continued their dominance over their competition in the 2014 FIBA World Cup.  They dismantled the Ukraine in their final game of group play in Spain, coming away with a 95-71 victory.

Having already clinched Group C before today’s contest, Team USA finished pool play with a 5-0 record.  They will face the fourth place team from Group D in the World Cup’s round of 16 on Saturday.

Former Sacramento Kings guard Pooh Jeter led the way for Ukraine, scoring 13 points and handing out two assists, but it wasn’t enough to slow down a talented, American team.

Notes and Analysis

  • Coming off his best performance of the tournament last time out, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins had a solid 11-point, three-rebound performance.  Cousins has garnered high praise throughout training camp and the group round.  Team USA’s guards have been hit and miss, but the frontline rotation of Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried and Cousins have anchored the squad so far.
  • Rudy Gay struggled badly, scoring two points on 1-of-7 shooting in his 12 minutes of action.  Gay grabbed three rebounds and picked up two steals in the win, but this was a forgettable game for the Sacramento Kings small forward.
  • James Harden had another stand-out game, finishing with 17 points and five assists.  While he has been a consistent scorer for the team, Harden is one of the few players on the squad that has slowed down the offense by over-dribbling throughout group play.
  • Kyrie Irving scored 11 points, handed out six assists and grabbed four steals in 21 minutes, but the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard went down hard with a little over a minute left in the game and needed assistance leaving the court.  There is no official word on his injury, but it appeared that he fell on his left hip and lower back.
  • Stephen Curry caught fire from long range, scoring 14 points on 3-for-4 shooting from 3-point land.  The Golden State Warriors star is averaging just 9.4 points on 37.8 percent shooting through Team USA’s first five games.
  • Mike Krzyzewski tightened the rotation today, using all 12 players in the win.  However, Andre Drummond and Mason Plumlee played just four minutes each in the victory.
  • Ukraine held a 27-25 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the first half, but Team USA finished with a fury.  The Americans went on a 19-5 run to take a 44-32 lead into intermission.
  • Pooh Jeter played 62 games for the Sacramento Kings during the 2010-11 season.  He is a naturalized citizen of the Ukraine and even has the naturalized name of Yudzhin Dzheter (Ukraine: Юджін Джетер).  Jeter will play next season in China where he has his own shoe.

 

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About: James Ham

James Ham is the senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news since 2010. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also contributes to ESPN.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".