People hear USA and Iran and they think nuclear weapons and governmental tension. Forget about that for tonight. Here are five cooler storylines:
1. Will Kevin Love’s shaved beard make him more aerodynamic?
2. Will Stephen Curry follow up his DNP with at least 16 points?
3. Will Rudy Gay dunk on Grizzlies teammate Hamed Haddadi? Will Haddadi swat it?
4. Have Andre Iguodala’s ankles recovered from Barbosa’s crossover the other night?
5. Are Kevin Durant’s socks actually taller than Iran’s Aren Davoudi?
-Well lookie here. Iran’s got a 5-3 lead. How about that?
-Well there it goes. Kevin Durant crosses hard then nails the step back three ball. He has all six points. It’s as if nobody else remembers how to do it.
-The Iranian fans have made the critical error of occupying both sides of the arena as opposed to saturating a single section. They can’t seem to synchronize their “I-RAN” cheers (more like “EEE-RON” but…you understand).
-Eric Gordon getting things going toward the rim. Only 1-4 so far, but he’s getting the looks he wants. Plus, showcasing the drive can do wonders for his chances outside. We know this. He knows this.
-Steph Curry holds the ball for about 23 seconds and then can’t even get his layup off in time. The shot clock hath been violated.
-The spread on this was USA +40, so if you took Iran with the points then life is good right about now. 19-13 at the end of the first quarter.
-Curry’s fightin’ it. Turnover on the break on account of getting too fancy.
-For the first time in the tournament, Haddadi acknowledges that he’s made a mistake. Doesn’t finish the cut, pass into the stands. Here’s to humility.
-Billups, Rose, Durant, Granger and Love on the floor for Team USA. I can see this as a possible starting line-up.
-Kevin Love scores 9 points in 95. seconds. Two, two, two, three. And he played 5 minutes against Brazil.
-Iran cuts it to 24-35 and KD comes back down and banks one home. USA is not playing well, but the scary thing is that Iran isn’t either.
-There’s no reason Arsalan Kazemi can’t be in the NBA if he wants to be. He just needs to play a little slower at times. He makes it 26-39 as I type, confirming that he’s capable of running with the big dogs. He’s a guy I’m watching closely this season at Rice University.
-Another one for Kazemi. Our energy level is the lowest it’s been all tournament. Nobody even bothering with the whole bending your knees thing on defense.
-USA’s up 42-28 at the half.
-I’m rooting for Iran to make all of their outside shots until the deficit hits single digits. The harder they play us the more we’ll improve. Call it reverse patriotism.
-Lead’s back up to 20 for the states. Play the starters four minutes together and then bring in a new five. Mass substitution: Curry, Westbrook, Granger, Love, Chandler.
-When I heard Iguodala was going to be one of the key guys, I wondered why exactly. Defense is the answer. But if nobody else is scoring for the States then you have to wonder whether he’s the right guy to pencil in every night. We won’t have our answers until we face a team with a legitimate SG/SF. If he can’t shut them down then we’ve wasted some time not letting others develop chemistry with our starters.
-For the record, I’d rather have Rudy Gay in there as a starter. With Love at center.
-I’ve gotten slightly off topic, but it’s only because there’s not much to say about the game at this point. Nobody’s playing very well individually. Kazemi past the first few minutes, maybe. Durant during the first few minutes, maybe. Player(s) of the game are still these Iranian fans. When a free throw goes in you’d think they’ve all simultaneously won the lottery.
-64-39 at the half.
-What the hell is Russell Westbrook doing? Good question. Turnover on the alley-oop to nobody.
-Haddadi gets a Gay bearhug from behind.
-Kazemi gets skrawng on the jam, flexes his muscles. Might need to some curls before their next game.
-If Haddadi could jump just the slightest bit then he’d have snagged that alley that Chandler ooped over him. But his basketball life has never demanded such feats of athleticism before now. Just reaching into the air has pretty much gotten him through.
-Kevin Love lays it in on the break. White people…
-Kevin Love is the only American hustling on the boards, and the only guy going after it with two hands. Chandler just standing and jumping, aka Being Tyson Chandler.
-Well this one has broken open. 88-51 with under a minute to go now. Westbrook slam, Granger three. Ev-ery-body happy!
–And amazingly, the world does not go up in flames simply because two teams get together for a basketball game. They even shook hands afterward. Imagine that. 88-51 is your final.
USA: Love 13 pts, 7 rebounds, Durant 12 pts 5 rebounds, Rose 11 pts, 2 steals.
Iran: Haddadi 19 and 5 rebounds, Kazemi 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals
NEXT UP: Slovenia faces Brazil in what will likely decide Group B’s second place.