USA Basketball throttles past Slovenia to advance to World Cup semis

Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins at Team USA training camp in Las Vegas. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

The third quarter has typically been the time of game when Team USA has pulled away from their opposition.  With a roster rich in talent, USA Basketball has been able to outlast opponents on sheer depth alone.  That was again the case in Tuesday’s quarterfinals match-up against Slovenia.

The Americans turned up their intensity in the period after halftime, outscoring the Slovenians 37-22 en route to a 119-76 victory in the FIBA World Cup.  The win advances them into the semifinal round of the tournament with a date against Lithuania scheduled for Thursday.

Notes and Analysis

  • Scoring efficiently has been an issue for the Americans throughout this tournament, particularly coming out of the gates.  They’ve struggled to connect consistently from long-range and have had problems executing in the half court.  They shot poorly in the first half against Slovenia, going just 3-of-10 from distance before halftime and posting a field-goal percentage below 40 percent.
  • Team USA has been able to cover up its shooting woes thanks in large part to the rebounding of their bigs.  As they’ve done all tournament long, Kenneth Faried and Anthony Davis once again cleaned up the glass for the Americans.  USA’s starting frontline combined to grab 21 of Team USA’s 54 rebounds in victory.
  • In addition to their efforts on the boards, it’s also worth noting that Faried and Davis both chipped in double-figure scoring nights as well.  Faried totaled 14 points while Davis finished with 13.
  • DeMarcus Cousins stuffed the stat sheet for Team USA in the win.  The Sacramento Kings starting center scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds, but also picked up three steals, blocked one shot and tallied an assist in the win.
  • For someone that’s shot below 50 percent throughout his NBA career, Cousins deserves praise for his efficiency in this tournament.  Coming into Tuesday’s game, the Sacramento Kings big man was shooting 70.6 percent from the field, ranking him second behind Faried in field-goal percentage for Team USA.  Against Slovenia, he shot an efficient 4-of-5 from the field in victory.
  • One area of criticism for Cousins today came in the fouls department.  The Sacramento Kings star fouled out of the game by committing five personals.  There was a brief stretch in the first half where he picked up two quick fouls that were both easily avoidable.
  • Rudy Gay wasn’t bad in this one, but he wasn’t great either.  The Sacramento Kings starting small forward scored seven points on 2-of-3 shooting while also grabbing four rebounds and dishing out two assists.
  • Derrick Rose came off the bench running on all cylinders for Team USA.  The former MVP received the greenlight from Mike Krzyzewski to look for his shot early and often off the Americans’ bench.  His aggressive play paid off in Tuesday’s win.  Rose finished with 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting and five assists.
  • Klay Thompson hasn’t been shy about bombing away for the Americans in this tournament.  He had his best game of the World Cup, leading Team USA in scoring against Slovenia with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting off the bench.

 

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.